Practice Camp

Practice Camp

Season 1, Episode 8

This episode brings together Jack, Scott Arizala, Nelson Strickland & Paige Moffett to take a deeper dive into staff training. They discuss different ways to artificially create the “second session feeling”, strength based approaches to training sessions and more.

The ideas start to form and are dissected to cover all different types of camps and training set ups. How do you create training opportunities that don’t add to the “staff crunch”? If you’re looking for close to a million ways to think through staff training, this is the pod for you.

Producer EmJ’s takeaways:

  1. If your campers learn differently, why wouldn’t your staff? Consider a Personal Learning Plan for staff members!

  2. The concept of “needing 80% of you” seems much more realistic and digestible as an expectation as opposed to 100% all the time.

  3. Asking returning staff to role play as “campers” that have complexity to them throughout the week is a great way for staff to learn different personalities and isn’t just a one-off scenario. (I will play a camper for your staff training, just let me know.)


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Our Guests

Scott ArizalaScott Arizala

Scott Arizala is a leading expert and premier trainer on kids, staff and the experience of summer camp. He has been involved with camps and youth development for over thirty years as a camper, counselor, administrator, teacher and consultant.Scott grew up at Camp Al-Gon-Quian in Northern Michigan where he spent 18 summers going from the youngest camper to the director.

He went on to direct traditional resident camps, day camps, single gender camps, and camps for kids with special needs. Currently, he is the Founder & Chairman of Chasing Summer (an organization dedicated to creating access for people with autism in summer camp), founder of Camp Stomping Ground (a camp focusing on radical empathy and child freedom), CEO of The Camp Counselor, and an award-winning author.



Nelson Strickland is a camp director, consultant, envelope pusher, and song singer from Camden, New Jersey.  Nelson started going to camp at DragonFly Forest at the age of 11 and hasn't missed a summer of camp since. Aiding in the advancement of over 40+ camps, he now uses his diverse background to encourage others to ask themselves “How can we make this more awesome?”.  Nelson never aims to give folks “the right answer” and is consistently attempting to engineer innovative ideas from other industries to work in the camp space. He is currently the Director of Operations for TIC Summer Camps in the DC area and Lead Content Creator for an amateur esports organization.


Prior to joining The Summer Camp Society Team as the Director of Continuous Improvement, I helped open a Spanish immersion camp in Tennessee. That experience felt like I was in a cocoon of growth, and allowed me to begin to form my identity as a camp leader.

Jack said it well in an email to me once: “I am seeing more and more how writing this stuff down is not only an act of organizational efficiency, but also illuminating the hidden curriculum and inclusion.”

I see so much space for this in the industry, and I’d like to be a part of making it happen. The question on my mind is: How can we use clear, collaborative processes to make it easier for camp teams to focus their time on creating life changing moments for campers at our camps? And that is the question I’ll be answering in my work moving forward with the various organizations I work with: TSCS, Change Summer, S’more Melanin, OAAARS, and counting! 


Episode Info

This episode is hosted by Jack Schott.

The Summer Camp Society Podcast is edited and produced by EmJ Juszczyk.

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