Staff Training

Training Staff to be effective caregivers, teachers, and leaders is an important part of the work we do each summer.

Staff arrive at Camp with great potential. We do all that we can to tap into those gifts and teach them what it means to be youth development professionals.

Most staff development is achieved in on-the-job training as counselors deal with children and fellow staff members day in and day out. Some training, though, takes place before campers arrive in order to give staff members specific tools for nurturing girls and providing leadership in the Camp community.

Pre-Camp Training

All Program, SERVE, and first-time Specialty Staff are required to attend Pre-Camp Training before the summer begins. Staff spend a week together getting to know one another and developing specific skills to help them care for, teach, and lead children. We discuss (and practice) things like

  • how to create and implement fun and effective lesson plans in activities,
  • how to work together with other staff members
  • how to help girls manage their own behavior and emotions
  • how to develop and give a cabin devotion or Morning Watch
  • how to anticipate what needs to be done and step into leadership
  • how to listen to and communicate with kids at specific developmental stages

We also live the rhythms of Camp for the week, sing Camp songs and learn some Camp traditions. This week is packed with opportunities for staff to learn about their responsibilities, build camaraderie as a group, and begin to settle into and embrace the culture of Camp DeSoto.

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Activity Training

A first-time staff applicant may love Archery, but they’ve probably never been trained to teach it! We are happy to provide staff with opportunities to become certified instructors so they can safely and effectively teach skilled activities at Camp DeSoto and beyond. Specialized activity trainings take place prior to Pre-Camp Training, and specific dates will be communicated to our staff as they are scheduled.

The following activities require specialized training for instructors:

  • Swimming and Canoeing
  • Archery
  • Ropes & Climbing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Mountain Biking
  • Farming & Cooking
  • Fabric Arts
  • Photography

These certifications contribute to each staff member’s overall growth as a leader and teacher, and they can even come in handy beyond a summer at Camp!

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First-Aid and CPR Training

All Camp DeSoto Program and SERVE staff are certified in First-Aid, CPR, and AED. This course is offered as part of Pre-camp Training, and all staff members are required to attend, unless they are already trained and can produce documentation of their current certification.

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