photo credit Camp Weequahik
If you think recruiting for your summer camp staff team is time consuming and sometimes frustrating, how would you like to have spent time and effort recruiting someone from 8th grade through 12th grade only to have them take a “better” offer at the last minute?
College coaches are facing a lot of the same challenges we see in summer camp. How can we cut through the noise and be seen by recruits? How can we retain our veteran staff? How can we insure that our new staff actually follow through and show up to camp?
We took a good look at the processes college use to recruit and picked our 3 Best for summer camp staff recruiting.
Assign a designated recruiter
Good recruiting requires a major time commitment. Most of us spend a few months each spring in full pursuit of top staff recruits. Top college sports recruits are often pursued for years. The way colleges handle this daunting task, if to divide and conquer… literally. College sports head coaches assign their assistant coaches and coordinators to run point on individual recruits, giving each recruit a one-on-one connection with a knowledgeable, passionate member of the program. 247 sports even tracks the ranking of the top recruiters.
Ok, so camps aren’t working with multi-million dollar recruiting budgets (if you are, give CampStaff consulting a call, we might have an idea or two on how to spend it – lol) or identifying prospects in the 8th grade for jobs 4 years away, but you do have passionate, knowledgeable returning staff that can be involved in recruiting. Read how to turn your returning staff into your top recruiters.
Celebrate your returning staff with a press release
College coaches never forget that their veteran players have other options. Gone are the days of a recruit committing to a program for 4 full years. Particularly top rated players have the option to transfer to another program at anytime or for the very best, leave early for the pros. When a top rated player opts to stay another year, the press most often sees this a positive reflection on the quality of the program. Schools promote this heavily to future recruits by issuing press releases that basically say “this such a great place to be, that Player X decided to choose us over simple $”. Your staff may not be leaving you for a multimillion dollar contract but they do have the option for a pay raise at another camp or even just a better fit for their own goals.
So when staff do opt to return to camp over the (really) countless other opportunities they have, make a BIG DEAL out it. It’s really easier than you may think.
One of the best we’ve seen is Camp Weequahic’s Staff Instagram feed. We’ve blogged about starting a staff specific instagram feed, and this is the perfect place to post a staff press release. A couple of things we really like about Weequahic’s format are:
- Hometown – We think they get 2 powerful boosts.
- 1. Camp is about making personal connections, potential staff from in this case, NE Texas have a pre-camp connection.
- 2. Here’s a Texan returning all the way to Pennsylvania for a job – pretty solid endorsement for camp!
- Why Weequahic – “I spoke with a returning counselor.” Says Weequahic is a welcoming place, concerned about the individual. Very powerful stuff, in a subtle delivery.
Another format we really liked is Camp North Star Maine’s (@cnsmaine) “Welcome Back Wednesday”.
- One, we like the regularity of a weekly announcement. It keeps the camps returning staff in front of their Instagram followers and gives all staff something to look forward to.
- Two, we like the graphic with the ability to simply plug in pics of the week’s returning staff. It’s clear and easy to spot when we scroll through our daily feed and when we go to Camp North Star’s page. A simple write up on the 2 staff members in the post caption is all that’s needed, along with tagging the pic.
Hold a press conference for new staff hires
You’ve seen it on TV and online, a new signee wearing the logo’d gear of their new school answering a few questions from local media. Colleges make a big, public deal out of new commitments. One reason is to showcase who they’ve signed to other potential signees. Another reason is that its a little harder to back out once the whole extended school community starts embracing a recruit. We think camps should definitely use this concept. Do a little bragging PR about how great your new staff is and get your camp community onboard welcomes the new staff. It may be a lot easier than you think. Here’s how we’d do it…
- Mail your new hires a hat, t-shirt or sweatshirt song with their new hire packet.
- Include an interview script. Include name, hometown, university. Have them answer your best icebreaker question. We LOVE asking, “What’s your super power?” (ie, I can identify a car model by its headlights at night or I can name every Super Bowl champion.)
- Ask your new staff member to video themselves wearing your camp gear, answering the questions and send you the file. Better yet, have them post on their own social and tag you.
- Post on your social media feed and ask all your staff to like and share.
Not only do you have a chance to really welcome new staff into your camp community, your camp community has a chance to get to know each other before camp even opens.