Camp staff (especially counselors) can burnout mid-season or later due to a never-changing program. Things get stagnant and staff become tired of just going through the motions. One way to handle that is to run some staff only programs. Here are five that were submitted by camp pros who do them at their camps.
A couple of these competitions are for campers but involve the counselors in one way or another.
CABIN COUNSELOR MEALTIME COMPETITIONS
Submitted by Seth Houser.
Camp Songs are awesome! I love camp songs. If your camp is like ours, you line up before every meal, sing some camp songs, say grace and then take turns going to eat as cabins. However, sometimes I like to mix things up, give the kids voices a break and have some fun, so we’ll have competitions to see who gets to eat next. Every cabin will choose one or two counselors and we’ll run a quick contest.
Contests may include:
- Free Throw Contest
- Gaga Ball
- Sometimes it can be a really simple challenge like, who can get their shoe to land on a picnic table.
- Bocce – They all throw a beanbag and try to get closest to an object.
Submitted by Peanut Henderson
- Items to act as bowling pins
Campers are the bowlers and the counselors are the ball.
- Counselors sit on the scooter. They cannot touch the ground to help steer.
- Campers push their counselor down the lane at the bowling pins.
- Points are given based on the number of pins knocked down.
Remember top be safe.
SHOOT FOR THE STARS
Submitted by Lisa Hoffman
- One basketball per participant
- Around 25 polyspots – This number can vary depending on the number of participants.
This competition is done on the basketball court.
- The polyspots are spread out on the floor/ground ranging from 3-pointer distance into lay-up distance.
- Each participating counselor is given a basketball.
- On the “go” signal, all the counselors quickly choose a polyspot to shoot from.
- If the shot is made then the counselor that made the shot takes the polyspot that he/she just “won” and starts a pile.
- The challenge is over when all of the polyspots have been “won”.
- Each counselor then counts how many he/she won, and the counselor with the most polyspots wins for his/her group.
STAFF BABY PHOTO CONTEST
Submitted by Sophie Samuels
- Have staff bring in a photo of themselves as a baby.
- Blow the pictures up.
- Hang them all on the wall and number each one.
- Create a sheet for campers to guess which counselor is which baby photo.
- Once everyone has submitted their guesses, have a big reveal of who is who!
100 STAFF CHALLENGES
Submitted by Kimberly Mallory
For the last few years we have done something called ‘100 Staff Challenges’. This is a list of challenges for staff to try to accomplish throughout the summer. It is optional. The list is given out at the beginning of the summer and is self-regulated by staff. Many of the challenges are specific to our camp facilities and program.
Here are some general examples that you can use for your own list:
- Hit the target at archery
- Win a game of gaga ball
- Ride the tractor
- Catch a tadpole
- Locate the Big Dipper
- Go in the dunk tank
- Make a craft
- Be the first one to staff meeting
- Encourage 5 different people in one day
- Plant a seed
- Skip a rock 5 times in one throw
- Get up before 6:00 for an early AM workout
- Talk in questions for an entire meal
- Speak with an accent (EXCEPT Russian) for an entire day
- Learn all the names of the campers in a cabin other than your own
- Bring food for staff meeting
- Unclog a toilet
Once they have gotten 25 completed, they get a button (we have button collecting and trading at Camp Gilead). At 50, 77 and 100 they also get a button. So far nobody has been able to complete all 100 challenges. Some have gotten to 99 … but so far, no one has obtained the bragging rights of completing 100. It’s been a GREAT way to get staff to do some things that they wouldn’t otherwise do … and has kept up momentum during the mid-summer weeks when they might tend to drag on a bit.