Staff Training Tips & Best Practices Workshop

This free kids activity provider workshop discussed different ways to conduct group training and self-paced training.

Why is Staff Training Important?

Staff are the front line in advancing the mission of the camp, protecting the camp, and, most importantly, protecting the campers from harm.
…If staff fail, the camp fails.

-American Camp Association


Training for Different Staff Positions

Age, experience, position, and familiarity with your camp programs make a big difference in the type and length of training a position may require. For example, a young leader-in-training (LIT) may have limited responsibilities at the camp and not require anything beyond basic expectations and safety protocols. However, a camp counselor who has never attended your camp previously may require lengthy training and on-the-job instruction.

Title Age/Experience Payment
Counselor / Instructor 18 or older
Some experience in teaching or being a counselor
Paid position
Counselor In Training (CIT) or Leader In Training (LIT) 13-17 years old
No experience
Unpaid position (some may pay small registration fee)

How long is your training?

After collecting feedback and data from businesses on ActivityHero, responses varied greatly by types of camp and programs offered. Sample responses included 4 hours for a Counselor-in-Training and 28 hours for a Counselor at a STEM Camp. During the live workshop and networking event, businesses shared additional feedback:


  • Our training includes shadowing the director or an experienced counselor
  • Counselors train for a full week
  • The first week of summer camp has lower attendance and is a good time to train new staff
  • We have ongoing training for staff – learning never stops.

Orientation training topics

Orientation and History – Mission, program objectives, history of program

Working with Campers – Group management, behavior management, child abuse prevention

Communicating with Parents and Caregivers – Phone calls, dealing with complaints and concerns, informing parents and caregivers of injury/illness and behavior issues

Administrative Issues – Absence, being late, signing in and out, appropriate dress, use of smartphones for personal needs, payroll procedures, performance expectations

From YMCA Day Camp Fundamentals

Online Training

Self-paced, online videos can be good ways to cover the orientation topics

  • Avoids scheduling conflicts
  • Reduce training instructor’s time

Live online training on Zoom

  • Eliminates commute time
  • Able to meet each other

Online Training Platforms

Over 140 videos with quizzes and reports on each staff member

Online courses for 5 different levels, from entry-level to camp director

Online courses about school-age childcare

Curriculum Training

Daily Schedule – Walk-through of typical schedule

Activities – Specific projects and activities

Using a Variety of Training Methods

  • Fun videos (8 recommended videos)
  • Role play or skits
  • Mock day – Assign people to be counselors, campers and parents. Go through key parts of the first day. 
  • Shadow experienced staff

Join us LIVE at our next Workshop!

Free Workshops

Monthly Power Hour

Join us for an upcoming workshop and networking event for kids activity providers. Topics change monthly and have included discussions on small business marketing tips, seasonal registrations trends, and more. You do not have to be a provider on ActivityHero to attend our free workshops. RSVP to receive event reminders and a Zoom link for our next free, monthly workshop.

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Time is money

Save time using ActivityHero’s all-in-one registration software