How to evaluate summer camp staff performance

It’s important for every manager to regularly evaluate their staff. Performance evaluations help pinpoint areas where staff members have been effective and where they can improve. These evaluations let staff know where they stand and what steps they need to take to do their best — how they can change their behavior, try harder, and meet their own goals and yours.

Camp is not just a place for campers to have a great summer; it’s also a workplace where counselors can grow as employees and as people. Staff want to be where they feel they’re growing and evolving. Conducting a performance evaluation is a great way to make them want to come back next year.

Staff evaluations are an invaluable tool in deciding on rehires and promotions. They can also show you areas where you can improve the way you train your staff. And they remind counselors that although camp is a place for fun — and a place where they live, and maybe even where they’ve spent summers since they were young children — it’s also a professional environment where they have responsibilities they need to meet.

You may want to hold evaluations periodically during the season — every other week, for example. Or you may want to save your observations until the end of the session and do one evaluation at that point. Either way, a summer camp staff evaluation can be a great way to set up your camp for success.

But what about the evaluation form itself? You can easily build it with JotForm.

Below are some of the fields you should include. And don’t worry — there are templates you can use to guide you along the way.

Your evaluation form can include general metrics as well as metrics specific to camp staff. You might start with qualities and skills that managers in all kinds of organizations would want to evaluate, such as

  • Friendliness. Campers are away from home, some of them for the first time. A friendly, welcoming vibe sets the tone for a happy camp experience, and it starts with the counselors and staff members who campers interact with every day.
  • Professionalism. A good camp counselor strikes a balance of welcoming warmth and calm professionalism. Staffers who can competently manage the activities they lead and skillfully handle the variety of situations that are bound to come up are key to a smoothly running camp. They also provide campers with solid role models.
  • Punctuality. Being on time and sticking to a schedule are key qualities in any worker. They’re especially important when working with children.
  • Following direction. Staffers need to know, adhere to, and enforce directions and rules set by management.
  • Initiative. Has a staffer gone beyond the minimum requirements of the job? Come up with new ideas? Brought problems to your attention? Maybe even come to you with a proposal for adding to or improving an activity?
  • Leadership. As leaders, counselors must know when and how to take initiative. They should be developing the skills to guide campers toward achieving good things and acting responsibly. Good leadership skills keep things orderly and fun while setting a positive example for children.

Then there are skills that apply to camp counselors in particular. These might include

  • Cabin dynamics: how they manage their cabin responsibilities
  • Camper interaction: how well they communicate with individual campers
  • Cooperating with other cabins/counselors
  • Serving as a role model by demonstrating qualities like sportsmanship, enthusiasm, patience, and understanding
  • Ensuring safety and adhering to camp policies for athletics, water activities, interacting with animals and vegetation, etc.
  • Using good judgement in supervising activities
  • Attending staff development meetings or team-building sessions
  • Precamp participation: planning and preparation before the season
  • Anything else that’s important to your camp’s activities and priorities

Begin with our template, where you can grade staffers in each category with customizable ratings (e.g., excellent, good, fair, poor, very bad or a numerical system). You can then customize your evaluation form for your camp’s priorities. Change the layout, the questions, and the design using our intuitive form builder.

What if you want to provide counselors with copies of their evaluations? You can use JotForm’s PDF Editor to create a PDF with all the information from the evaluation.

If you’ve finished evaluations for a season and want to make changes or add questions, you can easily modify your form for the next season.

You’ll find staff evaluations a key element for creating and sustaining a happy camp experience for campers and staff alike.

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