Raise your hands if you are fully hired. Seeing none, I humbly offer a few untested ideas.
No silver bullets here but two things to think about. One is to understand why things have changed. There are a lot of correct answers (increased parent involvement, diluted institutional trust, competing opportunities), but I heard a new one the other day that resonated. FOBO – Fear Of Better Offer. This has caused us to circle back to some people who said no early on, and we’ve found a little success, mostly with returners.
The second is brute effort. We’ve been on more campuses this year than any two combined, and it’s helped; not enough, but noticeably.
I simply refer you to Annie’s EOM from April 11. Pre-camp communication is the best way we’ve found to keep them on board, or at least convince them to bail now rather than the day before they’re scheduled to arrive.
Last summer our mantra was “we’re going to fail often, forgive frequently and grow together.” College students are terrified of failure (camp directors too). Fear kills confidence, and insecurity leads to terrible decisions (Matt. 25:14-30). Mark Twain said “I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which have never happened.” It’s a good year to take the drama out of honest mistakes.
This summer we’re also chewing on Adam Grant’s idea of being a scientist rather than a prosecutor. Everyone has some internal logic for the choices they make. I am hoping that approaching bad decisions with curiosity before judgment will allow me to pull a couple out of the ditch rather than bury them where they stand. Ann’s favorite phrase is “people are funny.” I’m hoping to start there rather than “why the ________ did they do that?”
We should all be proud of North Carolina’s brand of camping. We’re individually different, but as a group we have a secret sauce, and each of us hiring and retaining a great staff is an essential ingredient.
Camps Timberlake and Merri-Mac