About Dan

Dan Weir is the Director of Camping Services at Frost Valley YMCA, a host on the CampHacker Podcast, sports a beard, online way too much. He writes about summer camp and youth development.  He tweets (look below!) at @danlovescamp.

Dan Weir also writes at Unplug at Camp!

 

Dan Weir's Linkedin profile.

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Thursday
May062010

An elevator speech that works.

For years I've been hearing from industry leaders like Gary Forster that a summer camp director needs to have a great elevator speech. 

The term "elevator speech" or "elevator pitch" refers to a concise and compelling description of a product (in this case summer camp).  Roughly in a minute, a director wants to be able to convey to a stranger the magic, purpose, and need for a child to go to summer camp.  In a field that is based so heavily on having a positive relationship and trust with parents, it is key that your speech is dialed in to your audience.

BusinessWeek wrote a great article on "The Perfect (Elevator) Pitch" but it is missing something.  It is missing the important question "Why?".

This question is answered in the TED Talk by Simon Sinek. Simon's lecture featured below is is titled "How great leaders inspire action."  His examples of Apple, TiVo and other tech companies are great comparisons to the differences in a camp directors' elevator speeches. 

In a minute, summer camp professionals need to get past their bells and whistles (waterfront inflatibles, climbing towers) and answer the question "Why?".  Why should my child go to your camp? Why should I trust you with my child?  Why should I pay you $1500 to do what my town recreation program will do for a quarter of the price? 

If you can't answer any of these questions, it's time to re-think your speech.  Parents don't care how much you've spent on a water slide or an ATV.  They care about the impact your camp is going to have on their child's life.

Tuesday
Mar092010

Interview with Wheaton Griffin

At the Northeast YMCA Camp Conference, I had the chance to interview Wheaton Griffin.  Wheaton is the Executive Director of the New York YMCA Camp (Formerly Camp Talcott, McAlister, & Greenkill).  When he transitioned from Camp Cosby to New York YMCA Camp he found a strong culture of bullying.  With Joel Haber's help Wheaton was able to turn around the culture of the camp in one summer.  

Take a listen to his story below or right click and download the file here.  The interview was just over 11 minutes long.

Tuesday
Mar092010

Featured post "Recommended Book: 'Bullyproof your Child for Life'" on CampNation

I just wrote a post on the CampNation blog about why every camp director should read Joel Haber's "Bullyproof Your Child for Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting, and Bullying for Good."

It's a great read for all camp staff as well as parents.

Click here to check it out.  Click here to see the book on Amazon.

Friday
Feb262010

Featured on CampNation Podcast "Episode #4: Conferences"

As you probably noticed from my side bar, I am one of the hosts on a new podcast called CampNation.  It's geared towards summer camp directors and professionals. The format is 4 camp directors talking about the only thing they know how to discuss- camp.  Episodes are roughly 30-45 minutes long and should be coming out every two weeks.

Here is a link to the newest episode "#4: Conferences." 

We discuss conferences (are they worth while?), researching staff using the intertubes, and recommend a few worth while books and links. 

There is even a built in player on the page so you can hear the file before subscribing in iTunes!

Friday
Feb262010

Featured on "technology while at camp" on CampLeadership.org 

The brains behind CampLeadership.org, Dave Bell and Mike D’Avria recently had a conference call on about the lovely topic "technology at camp".  

What came from it was the podcast titled “Tethered: Disconnecting kids from technology while at camp.” Click here to take a listen.