New Camp Director Pro Tip

New Director Pro Tip # 1 – The Wishlist

Always have a wish list ready.

At some point someone is going to ask you “what would you like to do/ change/ buy at camp?”
Have some ideas ready to tell them, ideally in various price ranges so that if they decide to donate to your program they have some flexibility in how much they spend in order to get you something you want or need.

When I first started in my current position the Director of Development met with me to talk about my vision for the camp. During the meeting she asked me to come up with a wish list for the camp, I immediately handed her a 6 page list and told her that I started small because I didn’t want to overwhelm her. It is still a running joke in the office (full disclosure, I was able to get away with it because of our personalities and the great relationship we had quickly developed – I wouldn’t be that cheeky with just anyone… ok maybe I would… but still, I don’t recommend that approach for everyone).

Even though my colleagues tease me about my never ending wish list, they know that there’s a good reason for each of the items, and they know that I’ll always have information for them when we’re working with donors or applying for grants.

Bonus – I’ve gotten about 80% of the things off of my list so far… that’s about 4.8 pages worth 😉 It’s important to let people know what you want folks.


OK, the recap:

Be prepared – always have a wish list ready and be able to back up everything on the list, why you need it and how it will benefit the campers (directly or indirectly)
Be organized – you can break it into categories like the one in the photo above (program, office, kitchen, health lodge, etc.) AND you can break it into price ranges too
Choose a few favourites: choose a few things from your list that you can talk about with potential donors or curious people if it comes up in conversation, rather than whipping out your notebook – that will freak people out in regular social situations.

Alright it’s your turn, make yourself a list of things you’d like to have/do/build for your camp. Even if it’s not “your” camp do it anyway… trust me when I say that camp directors love getting awesome feedback and suggestions from their staff. This is an important first step because a wish becomes a goal when you start making plans.


What’s at the top of your wish list for your camp? Tell me about it in the comment section below.


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