The Winter Blues

As camp staff, we are constantly on the go.  There are always people around, staff needing our help, and campers clamoring for our attention.  We become accustomed to a high energy environment with a lot of bustle and noise.  But then the months of January and February come along, and everything changes.  Though some camps are lucky enough to remain consistently filled throughout the entire year, for many of us the months immediately after Christmas slow down.

Not that we have less work.

We aren’t that lucky.

But we have fewer groups around.  Fewer interruptions in the office.  Fewer chances to escape the necessary and mundane.  Fewer people to talk with and laugh with.  Fewer opportunities to jump on stage and be wacky and crazy.  And the monotony gets to us.  We are people who thrive on noise and chaos, and we suddenly find neither.

How do we cope?

Here are just a few ideas to help you get through those dull months and still be highly productive.

  1. Go on recruiting trips.  Most camps utilize college students as their primary summer staff, and so necessarily visit a number of college campuses looking for students who would be a good fit.  As much as possible, plan recruiting trips during these months.  Yes, some college students will not be ready to commit  to a summer in January, but many will.  You could even plan recruiting trips to those colleges where previous summer staff attend.  Plan a time to meet with them just for fun to catch up.  Maybe even include a time on campus where both you and previous summer staff are together to recruit.  Work and fun together.
  2. Save a creative task for now.  Every camp staff member is required to tap into their creative skills on a fairly regular basis.  Do you need a new promo video?  What about a scrapbook of memories from the past few years?  Is your camp hoping to put together a completely new summer program?  Need to put together new brochures?  Any number of options will work, just look for something that will require creativity and you would almost consider “fun”.  Save it for January and February.  It will be a nice change of pace from your regular office work.
  3. Evaluate with others.  We all know how important constant evaluation is, but it can be a real challenge to fit it into our over-booked schedules.  Use these months as a time to do some more relaxed evaluation of your past season, your current environment, and your future hopes.  Sit down with different, smart people who can help with honestly analyzing your campsite.  Give yourself permission to set other work aside and really be intentional.  Consider taking a few full days to evaluate different aspects of camp and do nothing else.  The change of pace will really help to refresh your spirit.


Related Articles:

Enjoying the Time Winter Provides

Promoting Employee Morale

Tips for Greater Productivity

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