I remember walking into the Muskoka Woods offices in Toronto the first time. I was the communications director for a Toronto-based nonprofit but I had heard of an opportunity to work with Muskoka Woods and I wanted to investigate if it was the right fit. I had been to Muskoka Woods as part of a group and later in life as a leader. It was clear from being a guest something was special about it.
“Who are all these people?” I asked the person who greeted me.
“They’re our summer camp directors,” she replied.
“Okay, but it’s the start of Spring, what are they doing here now?”
“They’re here to begin their training for summer camp,” she explained as if there couldn’t be any other reason for their presence.
As I sat in the meeting discussing messaging, content and Google Analytics I couldn’t shake the sight of this group of people – when leaves weren’t even on all the trees yet – getting ready for summer camp! It was my first introduction to the level of training Muskoka Woods invests in its summer camp staff.
They discussed programs, activities and schedules. They learned about best practices from Plan to Protect, and became experts in health and safety protocols. It was a level of investment in training I had not seen in my professional career.
So it is with no surprise that today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve witnessed the team responsible for training summer camp staff have been able to pivot so quickly and develop an online training program using virtual tools to ensure staff are equipped to deliver an amazing summer camp experience.
It was not yet Easter and the summer camp directors have already participated in online training. Their schedule ramps up in just a few weeks with extra attention being given to Muskoka Woods enhanced health and safety protocols. It’s like watching a MasterClass in Training and Preparedness.
It’s given me so much confidence heading into summer camp – as a parent. Our three sons attend Muskoka Woods and like a lot of parents in our social circles, we put a lot of planning into the summer months. Seeing Muskoka Woods is doing the same, I understand what felt so special about being there as a guest myself.
Mathieu Yuill is a communications and leadership professional based in Toronto, Canada. He’s passionate about developing people of all ages and has a vision that communities of people who have discovered their full potential and act on this knowledge to create value for themselves and others. He is married to Alison and together they have three boys.