Our staff orientation is a week-long, five day, forty-hour intensive for ALL staff, new and returning, that takes place during the week in June right before campers arrive. Orientation Week is more than just staff training, it is where The Nature Place philosophy is lived and where staff learn the high expectations we have of them.
We make this week fun, informative, serious, hands-on and active. We swim, garden, hike, play games, ask questions and get to know each other. By modeling our expectations, we show our staff, through action, the kind of experience they will provide to campers. Staff need to experience for themselves what it means to feel accepted within a group of peers, what it actually feels like to participate in a non-competitive game, and what we mean when we say ‘nature-oriented’.
During Orientation Week we hold workshops and discussions on conflict resolution, bullying (and how to prevent it), safety (physical and emotional), setting and maintaining the proper verbal environment, expectations, and what to do in a variety of ‘What if…?’ situations. Orientation Week is also the time when staff get to know our Staff Manual inside and out. We hand out this in-depth guide to working for The Nature Place at the beginning of the week, and reading it cover to cover allows us to literally be on the same page.