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  • Hiring camp director

    As the Council VP for Program, it's my responsibility to recruit and hire a camp director for our Boy Scout summer camp. We have trended towards volunteers lately due to professionals running the budget into the red. I have interviewed some of our volunteers, but find them lacking in organizational and managerial skills. I attempted to post an advertisement in the local Teacher's Union newsletter but was rejected due to the BSA's membership policies.

    So, where do you look to find that next camp director?

  • #2
    Our council has a Web site, and it was posted on that. One of our camp directors this summer camp from another Council in fact.


    • #3
      Council website.

      Word of mouth.

      Ad in Scouting Magazine.

      Ad in the local paper, even.

      Private website. Google will find it...

      Ask the Council Commissioner for his list of good people.


      • #4
        Is the job full-time year-round or just a summer job?

        In my council, the CD is a full-time council employee with other duties year-round - program duties or working with Exploring.

        But generally, the future CDs and PDs have already identified themselves through years of work on the camp staff. If you don't have a farm team of ambitious area directors waiting in the wings to vie for the job, you've got a bigger problem than not having a person at the top.

        If you're looking for someone to just do that job during the summer, you'll need a teacher, grad student or someone who has summers off from their regular job. That narrows your pool considerably. Spread the word through your districts to find those great local teachers. Ask your camp staff alumni who may be in the area.


        • #5
          Some history, after our 2008 season and a professional as camp director who ran the program deep into the red, the Council was considering shutting down our summer camp operations. A group of volunteers took on the responsibility for recruiting units and helping identify staff. We hired a young man who had served on staff for many years. He has run camp the last 4 seasons. He tended to hire younger folks as the area directors in camp even with encouragement from me that he needed older people that had experience managing/supervising. For 2013 we will have a new camp director. My hope is to find someone that will use the time in the fall and spring to hire their directors and develop their program so that they can promote the camp. Then in the spring they train and develop the rest of the staff.

          I have talked with our Scout Executive about advertising on the Council website and newsletter. I can only access teachers through word of mouth. I wrote a personal check to purchase an advertisement in the teacher's union newsletter last year and they refused and returned my check. The union is in lockstep with the school board when it comes to the BSA....they won't have anything to do with us.


          • #6
            Based on my experience, your expectations may be a little high. Your camp staff is for the most part drawn from three sources - students (HS and college), teachers and retirees. That limits your pool substantially for all positions, especially CD.

            For area directors, odds are most of them *are* going to be younger, 18-22-year-olds in or just out of college. Most will not have management experience outside of Scouting. Even older teachers may not have staff management experience. So you're left with retirees. But you also have to consider that few people with families and mortgages or rents are going to be able to leave home for 2-3 months and live in tents or tiny cabins.

            If you can find someone with staff management experience AND a Scouting background AND who is able to leave his or her permanent home for several months AND can recruit and hire an older, experienced cadre of area directors AND spend time during the year promoting the camp AND do this for a fraction of the salary he or she could've making elsewhere (and no benefits, I'm guessing) - well, you've got a magician on your hands.

            Who was your recent CD's assistant CD, business manager, program director or commissioner? Are none of them interested?


            • #7
              Tokala, try contacting local colleges that have an outdoor recreation degree/program, and ask them if they have listserves, job postings, newsletters, bulletin boards, placement office/services, etc. Even if they don't - make a contact with some of the profs in that program (who tend to be pretty outdoorsy and outgoing people) and ask them if they could recommend local community forums in which to spread the word.

              Do the same at outdoor gear stores (REI, Dicks, Gander Mountain, etc.)


              • #8
                Another thing to consider is WHY your previous Camp Directors overspent their budgets.

                Are the budgets unrealistic or weak? If so, volunteers will merely replicate the experience, or provide a weak program.

                Did camp directors lack sufficient experience to manage the financial side properly? If so, perhaps your new Camp Director needs an advisor or additional training in how to do the job --- and perhaps additional supervision.(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)


                • #9
                  Probably THE most important position at a camp. Next is the Program Director. I saw an excellent camp with great facilities and a once great staff turn to poodoo because the CD and PD were horrible. Staff moral suffered so bad, someone was sent in to make sure "the staff don't kill (the CD)." And when staff morale suffers, everything suffers.

                  You need someone not only with management, but people and outdoor skills. And to be honest you should have started looking during staff week this summer.

                  As others mentioned, look at college students, teachers, and retirees. Advertise at colleges, heck if a local college has and Outdoor Recreation program, see if you can set it up as an internship, that way they can get paid, time off for "internship related training" i.e. NCS, AND get a grade for working. Saw somwthing like that once, but it was an area director and no the CD.


                  • #10
                    This is not a recently launched search. It has been a continuous process. We thought that the Program Director would be a solid choice for next summer, but after evaluating their performance this summer, they need more experience/training. Once I can get the Council to agree on the verbage in an advertisement, I'll get it posted in logical places (we have 2-3 2yr and 4yr universities in the area).

                    I'm not sure why camp director's prior to 2009 had issues with the finances. Those years we had District Executives running the business and we didn't have access to their records and I wasn't VP of Program then. My suspicion is that they spent more freely reimbusing themselves for "additional" costs of being at camp for 4-6 weeks. Since volunteers took responsibility we have been in the black every year.


                    • #11
                      Also try the American Camping Association. They blast jobs out to subscribers every two weeks.

                      It sounds as though you REALLY want managers with management skills. Keep in mind that what you're more likely to get for the area director jobs are program nuts, people who care far more about knots and rowing and shooting and edible plants than being in charge.

                      One possibility would be to run a weekend staff supervision workshop for your directors, going over topics like feedback, coaching, training, scheduling, assessing skills, discipline, documenting, etc. Think about what we teach in Scouting - it's peer leadership. In this job, they're both peers and real bosses, a role they may never have filled before. If you want experienced managers, you may have to grow them yourself.