General Thoughts, Wisdom, and Musings
The Dietler staff is an incredibly dedicated group of young men and women who deliver the greatest experience that Scouting has to offer. This is a camp staff like no other, and the things that we accomplish are unmatched by any other camp and by any other staff in the nation. The Camp Director’s leadership and direction is critical to guide the staff’s energy, enthusiasm, and dedication toward excellence. Dietler staff have the most difficult jobs at all of Peaceful Valley—we require so much of each individual, provide little downtime for rest, and have very high standards that we pride ourselves on living up to. It may seem like you’re pushing very hard on minor details, but those details truly do matter and are the reason that Dietler staff truly is the best. I’ve compiled this section of general thoughts—some my own, some from previous staff—as inspiration to future staff, and a reminder of the rich tradition from which we come.
Will you just “go through the motions” or dare greatly to be the master of the ultimate Scouting experience? The choice is yours and we need you to step up and make the difference.
Boon Eck, 2014
Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose, and Urgency – Ben Pettis, 2016
There are many ways to motivate a group of individuals to do a particular task, but not all are equally effective. The first, which is often used in many workplaces, is the “carrot and stick” technique. By either offering rewards, or threatening punishment, staff are directed to complete certain tasks. For instance, if you complete these tasks, you’ll receive your paycheck. Or if you don’t complete these tasks, or don’t meet our standards, you’ll receive disciplinary action. But under this model, even though tasks are completed, they are often done begrudgingly, and simply because they “have to” and not because they are important to the function of camp and delivering the Scouting program. A camp staff that is motivated only through “carrots and sticks” is not an effective one, and will struggle to run even a mediocre summer camp.
However, when the camp staff is empowered to act independently and take ownership of their positions, the quality of staff and of the camp as a whole flourishes. The staff completes their tasks not because they are required to, but because it’s necessary for the day to day function of camp. Instead of being motivated from external factors (the carrot and stick), the staff should be self-motivated through the qualities of Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.
Autonomy – the ability to work independently, without direction. Staff should understand what needs to be done, and make sure it gets done—even if not specifically told to do so.
Mastery – the staff are skilled and knowledgeable and strive for excellence in everything that they do. The staff prides itself in the quality of its work, and aims for excellence not because they will be rewarded for doing so, but because achieving a high standard of work is reward in and of itself.
Purpose – The staff is here at camp for the right reasons. We do things not for the recognition, or to be the person at the center of attention, receiving praise from others. Instead, the ultimate reason that we are here at camp, and strive for excellence, is to provide an incredible scouting experience to the campers who populate our camp. Everything we do ultimately is for them, and it is important to keep this goal in mind.
Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose comprise an important tool to motivate the staff and empower them to do their jobs with pride and excellence. However this is one additional trait that differentiate the work ethic and mentality of the Dietler staff, and underscores the unique manner in which we work. Urgency—everything we do, while motivated by Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose, is done with a sense of urgency. This does not mean that the staff should rush through their jobs and complete tasks in a substandard manner. However it does mean that if something needs to be done, the staff completes that task as soon as possible. It means not letting the little things pile up and become bigger issues. Solving a problem early on keeps camp running smoothly, and provides a great experience for our campers. Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose, and Urgency are traits that all great staff members should embody.
Thoughts about MDC/Camp/Life on Staff – Tim Cycyota, 2008
Initiative. I feel that if a word could replace “Hardcore” while still maintaining the integrity of what Hardcore means, it is initiative. Initiative is getting up and going hard and fast. Initiative is finding a hole and filling it, even if it is a simple as sweeping down the decks or talking to scouts. Initiative is only sitting down to catch your breath before getting back out into the fray. Initiative is understanding what this program, this camp, this ranch means to the staff that run it and the campers who populate it. Initiative is taking care of this camp and its campers, but also taking care of you. Initiative is working smarter, not harder, and initiative means no one burns out. As Dietler staff, we take great pride in the integrity of our work. I will debate any other staff that says they work harder than the staff at Dietler. We work this hard because of our possession of so much initiative. Hardcore in recent years has become inseperable from nostalgia, as in “Remember when we stayed up for an entire 24 hours cleaning the Commissary? That was Hardcore.” This nostalgia only serves to drive a wedge between older staff and younger staff, preventing true staff unity. If all of staff is on the same page, if all of staff understands the importance of showing initiative, then our staff will be in my opinion the best camp staff in the country. Maybe I’m a tad biased, but it’s entirely possible.
Camp Colorado Staff Guide – Boone Eck, 1988
Your job at Camp Colorado is to facilitate opportunities for activities as well as provide the necessary support to ensure a Scouting week full of enthusiaction (sic). You are a representative of the Denver Area Council, which has a strong heritage of quality camping experiences. Your role is to ensure good programming but in no way are you to become the leader of any unit. In a way you’ll act as an assistant Scoutmaster.
As a staff member, you need to be ready to work as a team to accomplish the many thigns that happen at camp. Enthusiasm is the key to our success this ummer. Your utmost example of the Scout Oath and Law will demonstrate a lasting impression of Scouting—good or bad. You are a role model and expected to be one at all times.
As a staff member, you must have the energy of an hunharnessed volcano, the drive of a rocket, the memory of an elephant, the understanding of a clergyman, the wisdom of a judge, the tenacity of a spider, the patience of a general, the diplomacy of an ambassador, and the common sence of the Supreme Court. As a staff member you must always remember that Scouts are trained by doing, by example, and by a sincere interest in the subject at hand.