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Prevent staff burnout at camp

Working at a camp is incredibly rewarding—but it’s also really hard. By the middle of the summer, some of your staff members (and maybe even your leadership team) may be starting to show signs of burnout. Never fear—Church Mutual is here with six ideas for revitalizing your staff members before exhaustion creeps into their daily work. 

  1. Schedule regular check-ins. Don’t assume everybody is OK because they haven’t specifically told you something is wrong. These check-ins can be formal or informal—add them as a regular part of staff meetings, or ask supervisors to complete short, individual check-ins with their staff members each week. 

  2. Encourage counselors to create a morning ritual. A camp day can get very hectic, very quickly. Your staff members will feel much more ready to start the day when they carve out a few minutes for themselves. You may even consider leading a class for staff members on mindfulness and meditation. This gives your employees the tools they need to manage whatever confronts them during the day. 

  3. Require water breaks. We all know we need water to function well—especially when we’re outdoors and in the heat. Still, moments like this are part of a culture of wellness that can make a huge impact on the health and well-being of staff and campers alike. Encourage regular hydration on a large scale by setting timers for yourself, and then making public announcements that it’s time for a water break.  

  4. Make sure all your staff members have appropriate time off. Burnout and even injuries are much more likely when your staff members don’t have any time to themselves. Time off should be a regular, expected part of their work schedule. Ensure they have a quiet space to disconnect and recharge. This is a perfect time to create something unexpected and rewarding in their daily routine – e.g., a scavenger hunt, something new to eat, a luxury coffee bar, a glow-in-the-dark dance party, etc. 

  5. Share your personal experiences. If your staff members are experiencing burnout, it might help them to know they are not alone. During meetings or in one-on-one conversations, be honest about your experiences with managing the exhaustion that camp creates. This may encourage them to open up and ask for help before issues escalate.   

  6. Don’t be afraid to offer continuous positive feedback. Consider keeping a whiteboard in your office where you can write positive notes about individual staff members. A kind word goes a long way, and when you acknowledge your staff members, they are more likely to enjoy their job. Are you receiving moving testimonials from campers and families? Share them with your team so they know the impact they are making.  


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