My work with CentriKid Camps is a true joy. My role involves a bunch of behind-the-scenes details with preparing the CentriKid Camp program ... but I also get the opportunity to guide the work of college students and young men & women who serve on staff. An important part of the CentriKid culture is professionalism ... which sometimes seems like it doesn't really fit into a discussion about summer camp. Camp is supposed to be fun times, shaving cream fights, and rec games ... professionalism is supposed to be business suits, powerpoint slides, and firm handshakes.
Here are some of my thoughts on bringing professionalism to camp:
- First Impressions are Important. We put our camp directors and assistant directors in a polo shirt instead of a camp t-shirt on the first day of camp. When group leaders and adult sponsors arrive at camp, we want the camp director to be identifiable... and we all know that human nature is to take the initial appearance into consideration when determining credibility.
- Professionalism and Fun can go Hand-in-Hand. Camp is fun, and if we ever lose that aspect of it then we are missing the mark. But a "fun" leader can still be organized, detailed, and prepared. It is an ideal quality in a summer camp setting to take detailed meetings and make them fun!
- Smiling is Always an Asset. A leader who is "strictly business" can suck the joy and energy out of everyone they lead. Smiling is a form of encouragement and affirmation. It makes you more accessible to those you lead. It also makes you feel better on the inside ... despite the million things on your to-do list.
- Christian Camp is no Excuse for Sloppiness. Sometimes I hear about folks cutting corners or excusing a lack of organization because they work in a "christian setting." I guess the thought process for them is that since sharing the Gospel is the most important thing, they don't have to pay much attention to preparation, details, etc...because God will work it all out. I completely disagree with that approach. CentriKid exists to make the message of Christ clear to kids ... but we can do ministry much more effectively if we are prepared and organized. If kids are distracted by our sloppy programming or adult sponsors are frustrated with our inattention to detail, then we are less effective at communicating to them the power of Christ's love.
I take professionalism very seriously and have confidence that our camp staff will lead with professionalism in any setting. What principles of professionalism can you share with me from your work?