It was a Saturday morning and I was coming back from a YMCA training and I was starving! I decided to go to a local Burger King because it was close and I like their breakfast food. I pulled up to the drive through and they took my order and were quick and pleasant. I pulled around to pick up my food and they were very nice at the window, but while I was waiting for my food I happened to notice the trash can that was near the drive-thru exit. It was full, in fact, it was more than full. The trash was coming out of the opening and falling onto the ground.
A few things went through my mind as I was waiting for my food:
If I can see the full trash can from where I am, so can their staff.
They were either extremely busy with trash this morning, or they didn’t empty last night.
If they don’t care about taking out the trash, what else do they not care about, like my food?
I understand that trash cans get full throughout the day, but I was at the Burger King before 10:00 a.m. My assumption is that no one took the trash out the night before they closed the store down. I’m sure there is an expectation for the trash to be taken out at least once a day and especially if it is overflowing into the parking lot. There is someone on their staff who knows the trash should be taken out and will make sure it happens. It might be the owner, a manager, a shift leader or a regular employee who knows that this is not acceptable.
As I left the Burger King I began to think about camp. What are those things that we let slip or get overlooked by our staff? I remember at the last camp I directed the staff and kids were complaining about our hornet problem around the trash cans. Staff and kids were getting stung when they tried to throw their trash away. I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I know that hornets like sugar and food just like people. As long as there was food sitting in those trash cans, the hornets were going to be around. We made it a priority for our facility staff to take the trash out throughout the day. Amazingly, the hornet problem went away along with the full trash cans.
What is being overlooked at your camp? A broken fence? A bent sign? An overfilled trash can? Also, who is making sure the details don’t get overlooked? At what level are our staff noticing when something isn’t right and taking the initiative to fix it? Set your expectations high, model the behavior you want to see, and hold staff accountable to your expectations.
There are hundreds of choices parents can make for summer camp. If you don’t take the trash out, a pretty simple task, they might go somewhere else.