It's May. We have our first summer camps starting in Texas in a few weeks. All of our national camp locations roll out from there. We're ready! Training has been well underway for all of our summer camps across the country. My crew and I are posting live from Chicago, where we have a regional training presently underway. This particular training site has 20 trainers who are currently training 120 summer staff members.
We take our "road show" on tour for a month straight. Nobody does it better. I am so proud of my crew. One unique aspect of iD is our "support network." Our full-time, year-round regional managers each manage a small cluster of sites. They also train their staff, instilling expectations of excellence. And Techcellence.
I'm also proud that our crew is so involved from the top down. I personally train our staff. It means something when every level of the organization is present.
Here are a few fun factoids about our staff and staff trainings:
- We'll train over 500 staff this summer. Many of them are returning for their 2nd, 3rd, 4th...seasons. Instructors come from the best universities in the country. Directors are some of the finest teachers, tech coordinators and mentors in the business. Why do we attract the best? (Well, we have the best reputation in the business...and it doesn't hurt that we pay quite a bit more than your average computer or summer camp. We also have some of the smallest staff:camper ratios in the industry, if not THE lowest).
- Why do we hire so many staff? This is our greatest expense as a camp. We have VERY tight ratios, averaging just 6 students per instructor. This is incredibly costly--but also the greatest way to ensure 1-on-1 personalized instruction. The quality shows. Obviously, our methodology is working. We're the #1 technology camp in the country, and we do not plan on relinquishing our leadership position.
- Each of our 10 regional managers was also a former iD Camp Director. They know what it takes. They BREATHE camp.
- Our staff fly in from every corner of the U.S. and Canada to attend our in-person training sessions.
- We bring in experts to supplement our training sessions: Risk Management Experts & Camp Nurses.
- Our in-person trainings are just one step in the long journey toward actually manning a camp. The prelude to our in-person trainings is interviews, background checks, reference checks, CPR/First-Aid Certification, online trainings, online quizzes, creating lesson plans...our expectations are high. Our team of regional managers guides each staff member. Each staff must also receive high marks during training. It is not easy.
- After our training sessions, staff head to their respective summer camp, where on-site orientation begins.
- We don't just require our Camp Directors to attend our in-person trainings. Every position is required to attend...from Camp Directors, Assistant Camp Directors, Health and Safety Coordinators, Lead Instructors, Instructors...(but one group you won't find at our trainings, or our camps, are Counselors-in-Training. Why? We have respectfully created a policy of no-counselors-in-training at our computer camps--we hire adult staff only. Our campers deserve the best instruction. You deserve what you pay for. Period).
When all is said and done, we're instilling confidence and best practices in our staff. Our staff in turn deliver the best camp experience to our campers. Our campers become more confident, and go on to do great things both big and small. Camp should be a fun, learning experience--where memories are created that will last forever. We plan on being the incubator for those memories.
OK, now to the fun stuff. Let's see some pictures from the last few days. Check out these pictures of our trainers preparing:
That's me, above, getting coffee for the crew. "Coffee for 140 people, please."
Above: Boy Wonder with 130 Einstein Bagels. Yeah, they looked at him funny.
Best Dressed? Yes!
Some of our trainers, early in the AM.
A shoe. Two squash. What does it all mean?
Thanks for checking in on the blog. We'll get some more pictures posted tomorrow. I want to thank all 120 staff members and 20 trainers who flew in, took the train in and drove in to attend the multi-day training. There is no doubt you will run the best summer technology camps in the country. I am very proud of you all. Our camper families will appreciate all your efforts--the final results will speak for themselves once camps are in session.
Until next time!