Campers — 2023 Summer Debrief Series

Campers — 2023 Summer Debrief Series

Y'all. We learned so much yesterday. I tried to keep the Mentimeter short which made for way better conversations but maybe not as much data to share. Regardless, there are definitely some trends to point out and think about.

Ps.... this is part of our Summer Debrief Series.

How It Went Overall

  1. Time with Campers: We saw our lowest scale numbers yet when we asked about how happy directors were with the amount of time they spent with campers. This is something to take a look at for 2024. What can you take off your plate? How can you rearrange your schedule?
  2. Higher Camper Needs & Mental Health Concerns: If you felt this, you definitely weren't alone.

  3. Staff Support: 33% of people said they have at least one staff member dedicated to camper support (like a community care person, behavior interventionist, inclusion specialist, etc.). Another 19% of people said they kinda do. That's more than 50% — AMAZING! (And an amazing stat to use to help you push for that at your camp)W

Common Threads in Wins:

While I love a good positive, I did put this category on the backburner to help cut down on the Mentimeter time. BUT there is one big theme. Despite the challenges, it looks like kids had a good time and felt safe—big wins there!

Common Threads in Challenges:

We asked people what behaviors, needs, and diagnoses they felt underprepared for. Some of the things we saw were:

  1. Mental Health Concerns: Eating disorders and suicidal ideations were repeatedly mentioned, highlighting a big need for mental health resources and training.

  2. Aggressive and Violent Behavior: Physical fighting, violence, aggressive behavior, and runners indicate a significant challenge in managing aggressive or high-risk behaviors at camp.

  3. Non-Disclosure: Multiple people cited caregivers not sharing vital information about their child's needs or behavior, making it difficult for staff to prepare adequately. How do we partner with families so they see sharing this information as a benefit rather than a potential risk?

  4. Disrespect for Rules: There was frequent mention of campers showing blatant disregard for rules or believing they could act without consequences. This includes not only rule-breaking but also disrespectful attitudes towards staff.


We asked what support would help people feel more prepared for next summer and we heard:

  1. Mental Health Support: This might include on-site psychologist, school counselor, or social worker; Mental Health First Aid classes geared toward younger campers; mental health action plan templates; and more.
  2. Family Communication: Camps are looking at designing better registration forms to collect relevant information, building strategies and relationships that support disclosing information around special needs or behavioral issues, and providing guides to help families understand homesickness, technology policies, and more.
  3. Staff Training and Support: Camp professionals want to find tactics that work better for today's campers (like restorative practices, better conflict resolution strategies, etc.) and learn to train staff better.
  4. Behavioral Guidelines and Tools: People mentioned wanting guides for when to send campers home, camper behavior agreements, uniform behavior systems, templates for written behavior policies, proactive tools for campers to self-soothe, techniques for managing behavior in ways that don't impact the entire group, and more.


Again, this was amazing. YOU are amazing. I learned so much and can't wait to keep debriefing with you!

Our debriefs are a lot like membership.

All of this info comes from people talking to people, which is what we do with members daily. We talk about everything from cell phones to schedules to raises and SO MUCH MORE. 

Allison KrabillAllison Krabill

Executive Director

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