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  1. 1. Mission: Camp Starfish fosters the success and growth of children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning problems by providing individualized attention as part of structured, nurturing and fun group programs. • 1:1 Staff –to-Camper Ratio or better, at all times • Children have typically been unsuccessful in school/camp/extracurricular environs • Strength-based, therapeutic environment, without therapy • 48 residential & 12 day campers per session • 90+ staff on camp for full season • Located in Rindge, NH. Permanent home – purchased 2008 • Founded in 1998 by Deb Berman as part of an MBA project • One of only two camps in the country doing what we do, the way we do it!
  2. 2. • Started attending camp at age 4 • Became a day camp counselor at 16 • First year-round job in 2001 • Responsible at Starfish for overall organization management, board development, marketing, financials, fundraising, program oversight, and other fun stuff. • Favorite camp song: It’s not fair to play favorites. (OK…it’s “Linger”)
  3. 3. Photo: Beth and Vietta
  4. 4. • Incoming staff are students • Textbook learning vs. “the real thing” • “Session 1 is really Staff Training Part 2” • Pre-arrival expectations? • More staff than kids; their success is key! • Success – reliant on individual factors, or training/support experienced?
  5. 5. • Determine staff members’ perceived level of confidence prior to arrival at camp, and evaluate how this changes throughout the course of the summer as staff are exposed to intensive training and challenging interactions with campers. • Use data to develop hiring methodology, pre-camp training and in-service opportunities addressing areas critical to actual success as a Starfish counselor
  6. 6. Objective 1 100% of employed staff will complete a self evaluation rating their confidence levels upon arrival at camp, at the completion of staff training, after one session of work with campers, and at the completion of the summer. Objective 2 At each of the four evaluation points, staff will be able to articulate their current personal definition of “confidence” in the camp setting. Objective 3 Starfish will be able to determine what percentage of staff who, upon arrival, considered themselves [confident, somewhat confident, not confident] ultimately follow a trajectory of increasing confidence throughout the summer.
  7. 7. Survey Completed 3 times Survey Rated 5 Skills Resulted in 3 Entry Groups 4 Levels per Skill Rating
  8. 8. Initial plan: evaluate each of the 20 items (4 items across 5 rankings)
  9. 9. Reason for change: staff did not see the level of questions (from basic to expert) in each category to be discrete, although they did differentiate between the five large categories.
  10. 10. • Evaluating multiple areas of potential impact was not realistic • Discrete skill separation was not possible • Goal moved from idea of whether it is theoretical/ classroom knowledge or hands on experience which creates confidence for camp staff, and towards tracking the trajectory of confidence regardless of on what it is potentially based.
  11. 11. Objective 1 Complete a confidence evaluation. Results • Many, but not all staff completed the evaluations • Evaluation conducted at 3 points Unanticipated Results • Staff perception of confidence and ability to handle the job are not closely correlated. Challenges • Timing of survey distribution • Collection of data for absent staff
  12. 12. Objective 2 Define confidence at camp. Results • Staff were able to use their own words to clarify the meaning of confidence in the camp setting • Definition evolved over time Challenges • Evaluation of individual anecdotal data to offer meaningful insight about a group • Non-quantifiable
  13. 13. Staff Definitions of Confidence
  14. 14. Objective 3 Determine trajectory of confidence. Results • Average 1st year staff member increased confidence level from “moderate” 6.1 to “high” 8.3 after training • Returning staff also benefit from increased confidence • New staff have a small dip in confidence after first session of work with kids Unanticipated Results • Global confidence correlation: “if you’re confident you’re good with kids, you’re confident you’re good with kids, regardless of task.” • Hands-on confidence with kids is not correlated to academic learning of a topic such as “child development.” • Confidence alone doesn’t predict which staff are likely to stick it out or quit Challenges • Lack of final evaluation point data (post-summer) • Many things factor into self-reported perception of confidence; cannot isolate the data
  15. 15. Objective 3 Results Initial projections that staff would follow pre-determined trajectories based on their incoming confidence were incorrect.
  16. 16. Objective 3 For example, predictions were that all highly confident staff would face a “reality check” of some kind; this was not the case. Results Actual Trajectory of Staff who rate "Highly Confident" on Entry 10 9 Level of Confidence 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Entry End of Training Evaluation Points End of Session 1
  17. 17. Objective 3 Results The majority of staff reported entering with moderate confidence. PathofModeratelyConfidentStaff 5% PathofModeratelyConfidentStaff 98 % of this group increased in confidence over time. 5% 20% 34% 20% Overall Change in Moderately Confident Staff Stayed the Same 2% 41% 41% ConfidConfidenceionlyincreasedovme(Ex.:4.5,8.9,9.4) enceonly ncreasedov tiertime(Ex.:4.5,8.9,9.4) er ConfidConfidencepeakedthenlowered(Ex.:6.4,9.9,9.7) encepeakedthenlowered(Ex.:6.4,9.9,9.7) Increased 98% Confdencepeakedthenremainedev (Ex.:7.8,8.3,8.4) i en Confidencepeakedthenremainedev (Ex.:7.8,8.3,8.4) en Other(Doesnotftintoanyoftheabov categories) i e Other(Doesnotfitintoanyoftheabov categories) e 34%
  18. 18. Objective 3 Results Staff who entered with low confidence made their biggest jump in confidence after staff training.
  19. 19. Path of Non-Confident Staff Objective 3 All staff who entered with low confidence moved into an entirely new confidence category after training. 0% Results Path of Non-Confident Staff 0 % of this group remaining nonconfident 0% 40% Overall Change in Non-Confident Staff 40% 60% Stayed Sam e 0% 60% Confidence only increased over time (Ex.: 2.6, 8.0, 8.5) Confidence only increased over time (Ex.: 2.6, 8.0, 8.5) Confidence peaked then lowered (Ex.: 3.3, 9.4, 8.7) Confidence peaked then lowered (Ex.: 3.3, 9.4, 8.7) OtherOther (No data; all fit into oneof two above categories) (No data; all fit into one of two above categories) Increased 100% 60 % of this group moved up two categories into “highly confident.”
  20. 20. Objective 3 As anticipated, the average confidence level for staff who entered with low confidence never reached as high as other entry groups. Results Comparison of Ending Levels of Confidence 10 Average Group Rating After Working With Children 9.1 9 8.3 8 7.1 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Non-Confident Moderately Confident Confidence Group Upon Entry Highly Confident
  21. 21. Objective 3 However, this lowest entry group experienced the largest growth in their confidence level over time. Results Change in Confidence - Comparing Pre-Training to Post-Campers 10 9 0.4 Average Confidence Rating 8 2.1 7 6 5 4 8.7 4 6.2 3 2 3.1 1 0 Non-Confident Moderately Confident Highly Confident Confidence Group on Entry Additional Confidence Gained By Final Evaluation Point Average Group Rating at Pre-Training
  22. 22. Objective 3 Results Confidence with hands-on skills was more highly correlated than with any of those four skills in correlation to child development.
  23. 23. Objective 3 Results Of the staff in the study who left early, each had a unique trajectory; two were rating themselves “highly confident.” Staff Who Did Not Complete Camp 10.0 9.0 Average Self-Scores 8.0 7.0 #29 6.0 #34 5.0 #40 4.0 #41 3.0 #43 2.0 1.0 0.0 PreTrain Post-Train Evaluation Points Session 1
  24. 24. • Adding in end-of-summer performance review data in an attempt to determine if self-reported perceptions of confidence and objective measures of competence actually correlate • What factors contribute to early departures for staff? What role do trusted relationships, problem-solving skills, or how staff categorize success connect to confidence? • How do we best train discrete skills that need individual focus so they are not “global”? • Further evaluation of collected surveys to look at acquisition of knowledge question
  25. 25. • Pre-camp training serves as a confidence boost for all staff, regardless of arrival confidence • Returning staff increase their confidence by continued work • A ‘global confidence’ exists across many training topics which cause staff to believe that if they can do one well, they can do them all equally well. • Confidence is not a stand-alone predictor of summer success
  26. 26. Project 2: Increasing the Fun Quotient (At Therapeutic Camp)
  27. 27. Rationale • Fun is not the 1st priority at Starfish • Parents/Guardians/Therapists are the initial client, children often don’t have a say the first year of attendance • Even as a niche camp, we still need kids to want to return. Camp has to be enjoyable!
  28. 28. Project Goal To identify: a) The level at which Starfish is/is not succeeding in delivering the “fun” aspect of our mission; b) How campers identify “fun” in the context of a safe, structured, therapeutic environment; and c) Specific steps Starfish can take to be more fun for kids.
  29. 29. Methodology Rationale • Staff received training on “fun” – helping kids have safe fun and helping them recognize fun things • Activities and opportunities added to camp that were less routine, meant to be “cooler” • Campers completed “Fun Sheets” to bring share with family at home • Surveys, Interviews, informal check-ins with counselors
  30. 30. Objectives Prior to camp, a focus group will be conducted with teen campers and separately, with their parents, to identify 5 ways to increase the fun quotient at camp. At the end of their camp session, new campers will be able to name 3 fun/engaging things they experienced at camp this summer. At the end of their camp session, returning campers will be able to identify 3 new fun/engaging things they experienced at camp this summer. 3 out of 5 campers will be able to correctly identify from a list of the sessions’ activities for their age group at least three which had fun (rather than skill development, goal achievement, social pragmatics or coping techniques) as the underlying purpose. When asked by an adult at the end of camp, 4 out of 5 teen campers will be able to articulate what “safe fun” looks like at Camp Starfish. By the end of camp, campers will be able to share with a counselor two areas of future growth that they believe would further increase the fun quotient at camp. Using the information collected in this project, Starfish will develop a 60-second promotional video for the website focusing on kids having fun at camp.
  31. 31. Focus Group • Focus group held at a local library • Teens suggested many more than 5 ways to increase fun • Major focus of teens: “be treated like mature grown ups” • Major focus of parents: “more career/transitional-based programs” • Event lead to creation of Teen Programs – Guide for Entry “More responsibility and freedom!”
  32. 32. Focus Group • “Fun” equated with responsibility according to both teens and parents • Parents truly unconcerned about fun • Many teen suggestions not practical/possible • Clear disconnect between actual developmental level and the “typical teens” campers believe they are Teen l.e.a.d.e.r. Portia debating with Camp Director Adam at the Forum
  33. 33. Focus Group • Both teens and parents wanted a more structured, level-based program with clear guidelines • Not what we had expected teens would find fun! • Now progression is based on behavioral expectations and completion of program responsibilities, with concrete privileges for participation (rather than based on age)
  34. 34. Focus Group The l.e.a.d.e.r.s. teens earned the opportunity to do a community service project off site, visiting the local Goodwill distribution store and helping sort and shelve donations.
  35. 35. Identifying Fun – New Campers • ALL new campers were able to name 3 fun things • Fun for new campers centers around simply experiencing camp “GAGA!” Carnival!
  36. 36. Identifying Fun Fun Activities, As Described by New Campers – New Campers Garden/Xplore 6% Other 6% Sw im /Boating 23% Making Friends 6% Special Events 9% GaGa 15% Athletic Activities 9% Chauncey the Goat 13% Crafts/Hands On Activities 13% • Only 9% of new campers listed special events • Most listed typical, traditional, base schedule activities
  37. 37. Identifying Fun – Returning Campers • ALL returners were able to name 3 fun things. • However only 59% accurately named new fun things; 29% listed 2 of 3 correctly, and 12% listed 0 or 1. • The 88% of returners who named at least 2 new things were much more specific and descriptive than first time campers. “sock puppets” “Electives”
  38. 38. Identifying Fun – Returning Campers • Campers who told counselors how “boring” camp was and how “nothing changed” all listed 3 new fun things. • Data is qualitative, not quantitative • Judgment calls had to be made to categorize results – “hanging out with counselors”  not new fun – “getting to know new counselors”  new fun
  39. 39. Identify “Just For Fun” Activities Secret Purpose Dual Purpose seem woven into the fabric of camp, appear to be just fun, but have a specific purpose that staff know designed for fun, but most campers are aware that these they have a greater function Just Fun Skill Acquisition designed specifically for fun, no ulterior motive regularly scheduled activities which are part of the core curriculum and have an assigned program instructor Structure/Routine activities necessary for self-care or are part of the core structure that governs how camp operates
  40. 40. Identify “Just For Fun” Activities • 100% of campers identified at least 3 activities from the list that were fun. • But, it appears that campers answered based on what they thought was fun at camp, not based on instructions (“circle the activities we have here at camp that are just for fun”)
  41. 41. Identify “Just For Fun” Activities Just Fun designed specifically for fun, no ulterior motive
  42. 42. Identify “Just For Fun” Activities Structure/Routine activities necessary for selfcare or are part of the core structure which governs how camp operates
  43. 43. Identify “Just For Fun” Activities
  44. 44. Identify “Just For Fun” Activities • Although campers circled fun activities more often, they were not able to separate “pure fun” from “fun with a purpose.” Campers are likely to view everything as fun “even if” it has meaning behind it, because they see camp as a good experience Campers are determined to dislike “therapy camp” and therefore see everything as the meaning behind the fun
  45. 45. Define “Safe Fun” At Camp • Every teen was able to articulate a way to be safe at camp • Less frequently, campers were able to answer incorporating both safety and fun • Answers were mixed between physical & emotional safety
  46. 46. Suggest How Camp Can Improve Initial Question: “What are two ways camp could be more fun in the future?” “the biggest roller coaster on earth… times five!” “a dinosaur park!” Revised Question: “At camp next summer I want to…” “I just want to be back… the rest is a blank waiting to be written.” “SuperFreeSwim in the Deep End!”
  47. 47. Suggest How Camp Can Improve
  48. 48. Suggest How Camp Can Improve “spend an overnight in the woods!”
  49. 49. Suggest How Camp Can Improve Giant Checkers Banquet Mini Golf Electives (Yoga on the Beach) Responsibilities Tu-Tu Tuesday
  50. 50. Suggest How Camp Can Improve Chauncey Lego Tables Field Trip Challenge! Bandana Patches Initiatives Course Coin Counter
  51. 51. 60-Second Marketing Video