I think every year about this time I post something about our seemingly endless process of hiring a staff. It truly is "endless" in a manner as things change year to year, quarter to quarter, month to month. We walk into a season already with our eye on the next two seasons and begin the work of the year. Situations come up, staff have to leave and new staff have to be brought on to replace that deficit. The replacement may be a former staff who has time for the remainder of the season, a CIT who did a great job, or some scout that stood out during his week at camp. For the most part, we have been very lucky with these stop-gap measures and vow that in the future we will be better prepared for the potential shortage but are fooled once again when next season comes around. As we make our way through our current seasonal hiring process we find similar challenges. There are many of our veteran staff that want to return but then find themselves at a crossroads with school, career, finances or a combination of those. Some of our staff members graduate from college and plan to start a new job at the end of the summer only to find that their employer wants them sooner, or an individual has an opportunity "pop" up which is too hard to pass on. Although understandable, it does throw the proverbial monkey wrench into the hiring process and our vision.
Over the years I have been doing this you would be surprised (or maybe not) of the amount of "advice" or opinions I receive from current or former staff members about who should go where when it comes to job selection. Every one has their particular insight; every one knows something I or Ken do not know that should influence a selection; every one has a good bead on anothers particular talents. As I have told older staff in the past, I understand that there are a lot of things that go on in which I am oblivious. There may be certain characteristic traits that are not evident to the general public and only seen at certain times "off stage." However I think what my staff seem to forget is that I view things from a distance. I am in the back of the staff line watching what goes on; when I pass a program area seemingly disengaged I am listening to every word that is being said (scout and staff); I am always backstage during campfires and although I may be twirling my key, I am also aware of what is around me. There is truly a lot I don't know, but I do know what the bigger picture is and I know what the end result is and I know how to achieve that in an expedient and efficient manner which may not make sense to others. Sometimes it doesn't even seem fair to others. However, there are core elements that we adhere to when we undertake team building with the focus on completing a goal or a mission.
When we go about building a team, or in this particular case, the staff at Camp Parsons we enter in to this process by understanding that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. We understand that not everyone can be the best at everything. What my weakness is may be someone else's strength and our plan is that we have such a wide variety of strengths that they should cancel out the individual weaknesses. So by combining these strengths and combining the individual talents, the staff as whole is "great" at everything. To achieve this though, one has to give up individual pettiness. We are not hiring a group of "best friends" we are hiring a group of talented young men and women that at the least will have respect for their colleagues. Much like a symphony is made up of many different instruments, they all follow the rule of the one holding the baton.....the baton here is the scouting program and the CP ethos and the one holding it could be myself, Ken or one of our designees. You can be an talented individual, but you are only one part of a great thing.......so we expect each staff member to be a good "part." I think all the coaches out there who read this blog would agree that a talented individual can win a game, but only a team can win a championship.......and that is how we look upon our staff, one team one goal. So sure, we all have our drawbacks, but I am looking at the strengths and how they add to our whole talent. It may not seem fair at times but again, my purpose here is for the scouts and their experience at camp.
So I ask my senior staff to keep in mind, it is not their job to guide us on our journey although it is their job to provide us with insight when asked.....and when asked, we don't want advice, we want collaboration. Everyone has some talent and it is up to all of us to make the most of it for camp and for the scouts.