Your Staff Manual

Every campsite has a summer staff manual.  And every camp uses theirs in different ways and with a different amount of consistency.  Understanding everything in the staff manual can be enough of a challenge for first year staff without the additional task of figuring out how the manual is actually used and whether everything in it is still relevant.  Here are just a few tips to make your staff manual do its job:

Keep your staff manual short.

Keeping your manual updated is vital to its authority.  But many campsites have manuals that are entire chapters, and contain so many details that it is a great challenge  to update.   Include only the most important information, and only those rules that you actually intend to use.  Also, be as concise as possible.

Update your staff manual regularly.

As mentioned earlier, your manual will have the most authority if your staff recognizes you put time into it.  And if everything is still relevant.  If you don’t intend to enforce a curfew, then rules regarding curfew should not be in your manual.  If you’ve changed your emergency procedures, the updated information should be easily accessible.  Most campsites are not in the practice of updating their manuals each year, even though the content becomes irrelevant quickly.  Make this a yearly practice and your manual be much more user-friendly and consistent.  Not sure whether all of your rules are still valid, this article will help you figure that out.

Take out the clutter.

This goes along with keeping it short, but specifically addresses the common practice of adding helpful suggestions, games, and icebreakers to the manual.  Avoid doing this.  Every additional piece of information takes away from the importance of the rest of the manual.  When your staff see behavioral expectations given the same priority as “I Have Never”, they will have more difficulty taking it seriously than if the expectations stand alone.  Don’t make your staff have to figure it out; clearly include only the most important rules and regulations in the manual. If you would like to include helpful suggestions, games, etc…do so at the end of the manual in a clearly separate section.

These articles may help:

10 Tips for Staff Training

2nd Year Staff Training

Training: Summer Staff

Should they Stay or Should the Go: Camp rules

Staff Woes: When to Let Go


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