Partner work can have a powerful affect on a staff development curriculum. This lesson plan focuses strongly on elements of staff accountability and communication. Our goal is to subtly guide cabin leaders to communicate the ideals of camp within the framework of their own experiences. This lesson is best presented mid-season.
Large slips of paper, pens, ziplock bags or small jars
1. Staff are instructed to sit with a partner. (Counselors will switch partners throughout this activity, ten partners total.)
2. On a slip of paper, staff then write a response to a prompt (see below) read by the group’s facilitator (one prompt response per slip of paper).
3. Upon completion, staff will fold their responses and present the folded slip of paper to their partner. (It is critical that each partner cannot see the other’s written response).
4. Partners then place the folded response, without looking at it, from their partner into their ziplock bag or mason jar.
5. This pattern continues for three prompts per partner set.
6. This entire activity will yield a total of thirty different responses for each staff member to store in their bag or jar. Staff can read each response from their partners in any way they desire- they can read the prompt responses all at once, one each day, one each time they need a piece of inspiration, etc…
Partner #1: Focus- Cabin Culture
1. Write a statement that makes your partner feel powerful and confident in her capabilities as a cabin leader. This can be advice, a compliment, a recount of a camper’s description of your partner- or anything else you can think of!
2. Suggest how your partner can pamper herself during challenging moments at camp. How do you suggest your partner step back and relax when she feels overwhelmed?
3. Write a “big picture” statement. Remind your partner of the dent that her work in her cabin is making in the universe.
Partner #2: Focus- Program Objectives
1. What can your partner do when she wants to add new excitement, zip, and illumination to her teaching style at camp? Give her ideas.
2. Remind your partner how the energy and effort she puts into teaching her activity is actually changing the world. How is her hard work making our corner of the world a better place? What is it doing for our campers?
3. Give your partner a unique and creative idea to add a little spunk and spark to her activity’s lesson plans. If you were a camper in your partner’s activity, what would you like to learn and do?
Partner #3: Focus- Navigating A Session Change
1. Tell your partner what you really admire about her. How she can keep this element of her character strong even in moments of fatigue?
2. Describe how you think the new session’s campers will remember your partner.
3. Share a quote or saying that you think will inspire your partner’s stamina and endurance.
Partner #4: Focus- Gratitude
1. List ten things that your partner can be thankful for here at camp.
2. Tell your partner why you’re thankful for her.
3. Tell your partner why she should always remain thankful to her campers.
Partner #5: Focus- Life Beyond Camp
1. Tell your partner how she can use her experience in this job to elevate her next academic year or her next year in her career.
2. Remind your partner of her potential and capacity to change the world for the better.
3. Suggest five skills and traits of your partner that she can use on a resumè or highlight in an interview.
Partner #6: Focus- Happiness and Laughter
1. Tell your partner three things that will make her happy.
2. Describe and thank your partner for a time when she made someone else happy.
3. Write a joke to make your partner laugh.
Partner #7: Focus- Negotiating Feelings of Fatigue in a Job that Requires Energy and Effort
1. Write something, anything, that will give your partner good, energetic vibes.
2. Share with your partner how you navigate your own feelings of fatigue- these tips and tricks may help her too!
3. Work often requires us to give of ourselves completely. Even in moments of fatigue, explain to your partner why this job is worth doing.
Partner #8: Focus- Morals and Ethics
1. How will your partner impact her campers as she makes morals and ethics the driving force behind all of her actions during the camp season?
2. Think of the little ways that we can “slip” in our job description at camp- staying up late, lingering a touch too long in the staff lounge, etc… Remind your partner of how her own experience will be enhanced if she stays strong and resists these little moments of temptation.
3. Your partner is a role model. Share with your partner how her high standards and morals inspires those she works with.
Partner #9: Focus- Challenges and Conflict
1. Name a time when you observed your partner artfully and effectively solve a problem.
2. What is it about your partner that makes her so well equipped to handle the world and whatever it throws her way?
3. Anticipate a challenge that your partner may encounter this week. Based on your knowledge of her capabilities and skills, how do you foresee her successfully solving the problem?
Partner #10: Focus- Our Imprint
1. Why should your partner dedicate her summer to giving her absolute all to this job, her campers, her peers, and herself?
2. How has your partner impacted the camp community thus far?
3. For the remainder of the summer, how can your partner work to make everybody feel like a somebody?