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Cultivating iD Tech's Culture: An Inside Look

cultivating culture, id tech camps, summer staff, regional staff training, rst

What makes iD Tech unlike any other summer camp available? You know our stats—a guaranteed 8:1 student to instructor ratio, the most prestigious universities to host our programs, 62 cutting edge STEM courses—but you may not know our two secret ingredients.

Brace yourselves, because I’m about to reveal something that will blow your mind. Are you ready? Our secret ingredients are…our instructors and our culture!

Okay, so maybe that’s not shocking. Maybe you’ve attended camp, and you know the exact brand of magic present there. But maybe you’re completely new, and you’re thinking, “How can their culture and their instructors be that different from other camps? Why can’t I find the same experience somewhere else?”

I’m so glad you asked.

How We Train Our Instructors

It’s not hard for smaller summer camps to boast that they train their summer staff in person. But when you’re looking at 1,500+ summer staff from all over the country and you’re still committed to training every single one of them live and in the flesh, that’s not just astounding—that’s our standard.

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Eager staff at the Loyola Marymount University RST

For five straight weekends at nine of the very universities that host our camps, we gather those 1,500 instructors for Regional Staff Trainings (RSTs), where we train them how to be the most stellar summer camp staff imaginable.

This is another place where you might already know our stats: We train them on blended learning techniques to account for different learning styles. We instruct them on how to handle all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. We teach them how to use iD Game Plan, our interactive learning engine, to enhance the tech skills they already bring to the table and ensure delivery of our carefully crafted curriculum.

But that’s just the beginning.

How We Cultivate iD Tech’s Culture With Our Staff

From the moment staff arrives, we—their trainers—are modeling camp. Our staff are immediately immersed in the iD Tech experience.

We greet them at the check-in table with giant smiles and high-fives, matching faces to names, squaring away paperwork, and making sure each staffer knows their next steps. The labs and auditoriums in which we host sessions are decorated with the bright colors and logos from each of our divisions.

Our welcome session consists of ready-to-rumble-style introductions of the trainers, lively camp videos, and boundless energy. We, the trainers, drink as much coffee as we need to—and it’s a lot of coffee—to stay on top of our game and maintain that energy all weekend long. (You’re welcome, Starbucks.)

Then we get down to teaching, demonstrating the very behaviors we want our staff to use at camp with your child. We vary our instruction, using presentations, activities, and even games to convey vital information. If staff looks tired, we stand them up and have them do a dance. We host Ask Me Anythings with our Education Department so the instructors can delve deep into their curriculum with direct access to the people who wrote it.

The video below shows the end result of an activity we use to vary instruction. Staff take turns teaching each other to make a paper airplane in different ways to practice handling students with various learning styles. They always love the ending the best, when they get to fly the planes at one of their trainers!

 

 

We also have them play the activities and games they’ll be playing with our campers throughout the summer, from traditional favorites like Capture to Flag to games of our own creation like Dragon’s Tail and Tic-Tac-Toe Relay. University lawns nationwide ring with the laughter of our summer staffers as they feel exactly what our campers will feel—youthful, carefree joy.

How Our Summer Staff Take it One Step Further

The most brilliant part is how quickly and readily our summer staff embrace our quirky and spontaneous culture.

The videos below are from our New York RST held at Adelphi University, where the summer staff we were training took it upon themselves to organize a Saturday night dance party. At least half a dozen staff knew various styles of dance, so they voluntarily and happily spent their evening teaching each other to break dance, swing, and ballroom tap. We ended the party with the Cupid Shuffle and much laughter. Check it out!

 

 

Another favorite part of our culture are Shout Outs. This simple recognition tool was developed at a single camp in 2003 and has since spread to every single location, including our Main Office.

Here’s how it works: one camper (or staffer, or main office employee) wants to recognize another for something positive or helpful they did. There are no rules—it can be anything from a camper helping test another’s project to a trainer driving for an hour to pick up a staffer who got lost on their way to training. The grateful party tells the camp the story, and below is one version of how they’re honored.

 

 

Shout Outs began with just one option for the “Yeah” finale and have since expanded to include variations like Race Car, Beethoven, Fireworks, Roller Coaster (shown above) and dozens more. Campers and staff alike adore this easy way to recognize those who help each other out.

How it Makes a Difference

At iD Tech, we practice what we preach. We want our staff to engage your child, to help them learn and have fun in the most interactive, animated, unforgettable environment they’ll ever experience.

We run our Regional Staff Trainings with that in mind every year, and every year our staff take the culture we’ve taught them and bring it to life for our campers, from paper airplanes to games to dance parties to Shout Outs to things that haven’t even been invented yet.

Be a part of creating the iD Tech culture—come to camp this summer and discover why we’re the #1 tech camp on the planet.