When ACA Illinois was challenged to rethink our professional development outside of an in person experience many ideas came to mind. We set our sights on providing great content to support camp pros as they navigate the COVID-19 crisis, but we also wanted to provide some professional development to help our community grow regardless of pandemic status.
We collaborated with Michael Brandwein this spring with 2 different skill building trainings. The first was The Brandwein Step-by-Step System for Planning & Presenting Your Best Staff Training Ever,. The second was Brandwein’s Super Staff SuperVision: The Top Techniques to Lead and Coach Camp Staff to Professional Performance. Michael’s Super Staff SuperVision has been a very popular part of the Mid States Camp Conference Skills Lab for several years, so when we took to the drawing board regarding professional development we knew that Super Staff SuperVision was a must.
Michael spent two action packed afternoons teaching management skills to 80+ new managers all from the safety of their homes. Michael shared with attendees his 6 Paths, which are the six essential things Leadership Team members must do every day when “walking around,” and how to get them done brilliantly. He helped attendees identify the exact behaviors the best staff use, and then talked through ways to motivate and coach staff to do them in a responsible and professional way. He shared techniques on handling tough staff behavior with calmness and confidence. We are excited to grow better managers so that camps can serve more campers, have better retention, and increase program creativity to stand out from the rest.
Here is some feedback from attendees:
“It was evident that I was not only learning from a fellow leader in the camp community, but an expert on working with a team, goal driven mentality.”
“This program made me think deeply about my interactions with campers, and how I can intentionally uplift their experience. It was super helpful and I learned a lot.”
“This event opened my eyes and made me think more deeply as to why I work where I work, and gave me more tools to continue to grow in position.”
We are always grateful for our partnership with Michael Brandwein and the terrific training he provides our membership and camp community. Continue to check our eblast, ACA IlliNOISE, and our website, acail.org/calendar, for more training and professional development.
We can't wait to have you #joinus next time!
Membership & Program Services Director
American Camp Association, Illinois
We have been energized by the engagement around our most active and important membership support program, our daily Drop-Ins. Each day for about an hour, we spend time with our membership unpacking all things surrounding the Coronavirus and its impact on our community. Recently, I asked Cheryle Yallen to Zoom with me and share a little about her experience with the Drop-Ins. Cheryle is the Executive Director of One in a Hundred and has been an ACA Illinois member since 2012.
Membership & Program Services Director
American Camp Association, Illinois
An Interview with Cheryle Yallen, ACA Illinois' Most Frequent Drop-In Participant!
Kim Steiner: What drew you to the drop-ins?
Cheryle Yallen: The nerves, stress, and desperate need for information and needed support.
Kim: Which drop-ins did you engage with?
Cheryle: I had four a week! I was very active from the very beginning in the executive director drop in and was really involved in another one on Thursday mornings as well. I started with those two and the moment you opened up the day camp and the special needs, I joined those. Then when we started to make the serious decision to go virtual, I joined that one as well. I basically was on 4 a week.
Kim: Were the drop-ins a beneficial resource for you? Why?
Cheryle: Absolutely, without question. Even though it was time consuming, it was what I needed. I had all the confidence in the world that you guys had the most up to date information, so it also saved me time googling and searching for information. It was also beneficial to connect with other camp people, and although other attendees were from overnight camps or park districts, which I can't necessarily relate to, it was still being with other camp people. I always walked away with something, it almost became my quiet contemplation time, where my only focus was camp. It was also beneficial because I had a support group. Friends and people close to me listened to what I am going through, but at the same time they don't understand the industry. So I had that comfort level in these Drop-Ins that people understood me. It was just a wonderful support system and exactly what I needed. I wanted to explore every option so I was making an informed decision about camp. It was out of those conversations that would trigger thoughts or ideas or considerations that had not even occurred to me.
There was one meeting where Colette was reminding everyone to make sure you have what we were talking about reviewed with the lawyer. I was all set, but it was those continuous reminders that we need to check with our internal resources throughout this crisis. I was delighted when you introduced this and enjoyed the face to face.
Kim: What would you say to camp professionals considering attending?
Cheryle: Absolutely do it. Because of 3 things. One, the information you are getting, and it’s good information that you can rely on, because you need to be able to rely on something. Two, the ideas. Even if your camp is totally unlike any other camp there you will always walk away with something you haven't thought of; not always earth shattering, but something you had not thought of. Three, the support, and being with like type people. It didn’t matter that they were all over the states - we all had the same issues. I would basically say go. For the most part attending these events worked out well and I would recommend attending more than once, because each time is different, and it's also just comfortable.
We continue to provide these Drop-In meetings as a resource for camp professionals, and we hope that you join us! We will continue to adjust our programming to accommodate the changing needs of our community, so keep an eye out for our emails and website updates.
You can learn more about our Drop-ins at acail.org/dropins
We interviewed Michael about the 2019 Brandwein Super Seminar
for dynamic camp leadership
What will participants learn at this Seminar?
People who have been in my sessions know that I am a “skills guy.” I don’t like sitting in things where people tell us what we should do but don’t explain HOW to do it. That drives me crazy. So this Seminar is a How to Do It experience. No theory. No collections of the “usual stuff” that people already know. Instead, we emphasize new and exciting techniques that participants won’t get anywhere else. This is all about learning, practicing, and taking home specific things we can use to do the following (and even more…):
How is this different than a session you present at a conference?
I enjoy speaking to large groups at Conferences, but I really love a small group Seminar experience because it has so many wonderful, extra benefits. When we have a small Seminar group of about 20 motivated learners:
What’s it like to be at the Seminar?
We have fun, we play, we learn by doing, we practice specific techniques and skills in supportive partner and group experiences, we get to ask any questions that will help us apply all of this to our own program, and get an instant group of camp professional friends and colleagues who we can continue to use as resources. I believe a camp Seminar experience should be a model of what we want to achieve when training staff. So these are my “rules” when designing a Seminar: