What Do We Do During the Offseason?

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Last week, members of the Manitou Leadership team attended the Tri-State Camp Conference in Atlantic City, NJ.  The annual conference brings together over 4,000 camp professionals who represent day, overnight, special needs, and other types of camps/programs.  Attendees participate in workshops on industry trends and issues, and it’s a terrific venue to share program ideas and engagement strategies.

Every year, our participation results in new staff training techniques or ways we engage the community.

Conference Take-Aways

  • Camps are struggling to manage the relationship campers, and staff members have with technology. Some camps have zero tolerance policies restricting the use of technology on their property – violators are dismissed from the community. Others collect technology at breakfast and return items at the end of the day. Some have a set of non-negotiables and specific places where staff members can use their devices. Of course, there are programs which focus on the use of technology — so they have no restrictions!  This conversation has a lot of stakeholders, with many points of view.  What is your perspective?
  • A presentation by Michael Brandwein focused on the legacy of Fred Rogers. “Young People Grow When We Show Them, ‘You Are Special,” was a memorable quote of Fred’s.  The Mr. Rogers legacy is returning to pop culture, an upcoming movie starring Tom Hanks follows the 2018 documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” Stay tuned, you might hear more on this topic during orientation.
  • Do you want to make “Camp” a career? Start by thinking beyond the summer and the job of counselor, unit leader, dean, or chef.  Camp begins to be a career when you work for one of the many camp partners who help us operate Manitou. In just the last two years, Taylor Zisholtz has gone from Unit Leader to Camp Spot Account Rep to Camp Leaders Relationship Manager.  If you want to join the camp industry, you can follow many paths.


  • Are you curious to learn about the experiences of those at other camps? This article highlights the positive and negative things discussed with a clinical social worker who visits many camps each summer.