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Be An Administrative Whiz. Make it seem like magic . Amanda Zoellner This is not rocket science, but it does require some effort and organization. Review camper and staff lists regularly.

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Be An Administrative Whiz

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Be An Administrative Whiz

Make it seem like magic.

Amanda Zoellner

This is not rocket science, but it does require some effort and organization.

  • Review camper and staff lists regularly.

  • Talk about your program with your colleagues, and make sure you know about any program changes or highlights.

  • Challenge yourself to remember things. Get people to test you.

  • Organize your workspace and information.

Information is Everywhere!

  • What do you know already?

  • Database

  • Caller ID

  • Membership records

  • Mailing lists

  • Read everything at least once, and make note of details that could be important.

Memorize the Basics

There are a few kinds of information that should stick in your head easily with repetition.

  • Program dates and prices

  • General camp information and policies

  • Contact information that you need often

  • Telephone area codes and exchanges

  • Zip codes for common cities and towns

Use Reference Material

There’s plenty of information that it’s unnecessary to memorize, because you can find it so easily.

  • Camp brochures, registration forms, handbook, medical forms

  • Listing of available spaces (because it changes)

  • Phone numbers that you need regularly

  • A web browser window open to your camp’s homepage

  • Google, if all else fails

Memorizing – Advanced

  • Parents love it when you can say “Of course I remember you” and mean it.

  • Know the names of kids and their friends, if that’s important at your camp.

  • Pay particular attention to details about kids with special needs.

  • If your brain allows, know who’s going to which session.

The Reply

  • Be fast! Get back to people as soon as you can, and make sure people know when that will be.

  • Do some research before you return a call or e-mail.

  • If the answer you have to give is not the one a parent wants to hear, have some other options ready.

  • If you have to follow up, let people know when they can expect to hear from you again.

On the Phone

  • Let parents talk, and don’t interrupt…

  • But, make sure you tell them what they need to know.

  • Ask simple questions to make sure you understand what they want, if there’s any doubt.

  • Learn to talk and type (or write) at the same time. Get a headset if that will help you.

When You’re Away

  • Always leave an out-of-office message, and make sure it’s accurate

  • Anticipate questions

  • Leave clear instructions

  • Have a back-up person for urgent questions


  • My workflow is best described as “do it now”.

  • You have to find a workflow that works for you and for your camp.

  • When are you freshest?

  • When (and how) do people want to reach you?

  • What’s your camp culture?

  • How does your workflow mesh with others who work at your camp?

Organizing Your Stuff

  • Create a system that works for you

  • Learn to use your e-mail system and calendar

  • Keep the stuff you need near your desk

  • Think about what’s on/in your desk

  • Clean your office

The Fun Stuff

  • Adopt a “camp costume”

  • Use clues that will allow you to greet campers by name, if possible

  • Practice the hand-off. Help families get ready to stop relying on you, and start relying on the staff at camp.

Your To Do List

  • Figure out what information is most important at your camp, and learn it or make it easy to find.

  • Create an office environment that supports your job. Don’t be afraid to rearrange.

  • Extend your effort where it’s most needed. If you already have a process that works just fine, don’t break it.

  • Practice!

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