When you think “Summer camp” you probably don’t think of words like “conference”, “professional development”, or “expert in their field”. That is probably because summer camp is fun and all those other words would sound super weird if you inserted them into a camp cheer. (“1, 2 Conference for you! 3,4 career growth some more!!”) The truth is, however, that although the reputation of camp is that it’s all about being silly, there is a ton of intentionality and learning behind our seemingly relaxed atmosphere.
TIC’s year-round team attends 3-5 conferences or professional development events during the off-season in order to keep up with the cutting edge research in the camp industry (yes, this is a thing- stay with me) and to continuously increase our knowledge in subjects that are important to us and our staff. This past week, Emily and our 3 Site Directors traveled to Orlando, Florida for the National Camp Conference run by the American Camp Association. We focused on new ideas for staff training, cultural competency, leadership training for campers, and understanding and working more effectively with campers with special needs. We also saw 3 keynote speakers, our favorite of which was Dan Heath who wrote “The Power of Moments” (he then proceeded to pull an Oprah and gave a free copy of his book to everyone at the conference!) (Thanks Dan!!) It was an amazing experience, but we are far from being done with our off-season education. In a few weeks we will attend the Tri-State Camp Conference in Atlantic City, then the Chesapeake Conference in Maryland (where we are also presenting!), and then Camp Con in early June in Northern Virginia (which all TIC staff are encouraged to attend!)
So why do we do all this? Because we apply the same values to ourselves as we do to our campers. You can always learn more, you can always improve, and you can always challenge yourself and your way of thinking. Kids are constantly changing, language is constantly evolving, and we are constantly understanding more and more about the best way to help others grow.
We can’t wait to apply everything we’ve learned so far to the 2018 camp season and make it our best summer yet!! Only 112 more days til camp!