Sitting in the leadership chair is one thing. Accepting the responsibility that goes with the chair is something else. 

It’s easy to think you’ve got all the answers when none of the ultimate responsibility lies with you. But sitting in this chair. Until you sit in this chair, you don’t know anything. You can’t know. Vice-president Daniels on 24

The first year of the transition from summer staff to leadership staff brings with it a lot of changes. Here are some of the things we talk about as they make that transition. 

  • You will be misunderstood this summer! People who were peers last year, you may have to lead this summer. Further, with your new responsibilities will come some new freedoms that others do not get. 
  • We name the names. If there is an issue with a staff member or camper, we will identify them so all leadership who need to know are in the know. 
  • See beyond the current situation. Try to see what the logical outcome or consequence of the action or idea will be. Use the risk management grid to help you. 
  • Risk management: safety is always first. This includes mental, physical, social and emotional safety. Decisions must be run through a grid to determine their safety. There is an interview question about this at every level of camp staff. Safety is always the most important responsibility. 
  • As leadership staff, we minister to & support the staff as they support and minister to the campers. This is a change in focus from being solely focused on the campers. As we serve our staff they will serve the campers, therefore we must serve our staff well. 
  • We set the example, the tone and demonstrate the culture of camp! As we go, so will the other staff go. That means we must be the first to obey the rules, wear our PPE, go to chapel, etc. 
  • Leaders eat last. This last long been my habit to make sure that campers and staff all get their firsts before I sit down to eat. On occasion, it means missing out on something. 
  • Problem solving – who’s got the monkey? I’m not always going to solve your problem for you. This sometimes comes as a surprise for staff who have always looked to others for the answers they seek. I want my summer leaders to learn to solve problems. 
  • When I teach our SALTers, I talk about trying new things and “failing with dignity“. I get to help young leaders to test our their leadership metal. The same goes with summer leadership staff. They don’t always get it right the first time. That’s okay. We all need to learn and 
  • Always ASK: adults are asked, children are told, and idiots are made. People will usually rise to the level of expectation you give them, so set high expectations and watch them excel. 
  • Spiritual development of staff isn’t just for the chiefs. We all bear a responsibility to lead and guide our staff to maturity in Jesus. 

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