Wrapping up the Summer Season

As summer ends, it is important to take certain steps to ensure you’ll have an easier start to camp next summer. While some of these may not apply to your camp, it is important to learn from each checklist the steps you need to take.

Human Resources  

This set of guidelines are targeted towards your HR operations. It is important to complete performance reviews for seasonal staff. Make sure you:

Performance Reviews and Exit/Stay Interviews* 

  • Record whether or not they should be rehired next year
  • Document and inform employees who are not going to be rehired
  • Inform new supervisors of previous staff performance whenever staff move to new departments
  • Collect all keys, cards and cell phones from departing and transitioning staff during the exit interview process
  • Provide letters of recommendation, highlighting 21st Century Skills gained at camp, as requested by staff

* Typically, an exit interview is focused on why the employee is leaving. With seasonal staff, you hope that they will come back next summer. That’s why we like to call it a stay interview. A stay interview is a good retention tool to focus on the staff member returning back—what they can work on during the off-season and what would make them come back again rather than look for other opportunities.


When walking through your facilities at the end of the season, be sure to account for the following:

Programs and Supplies 

  • Clean and inventory supplies from all program areas (including infirmary/health center and kitchen as applicable):
    • Note all end of season quantities
    • For supplies that will expire before the next season, consider donating to another program or recycle/discard as appropriate
    • Note recommended quantities to be purchased prior to the start of the next season
    • Properly clean and store all program area supplies in appropriate bins/storage containers/buildings
  • Donate unclaimed lost and found items to a local non-profit

Specifically for the Infirmary/Health Center:

  • Collect all camper, staff and volunteer health records and health logs and secure according to your documentation storage policies
  • Check AED pads expiration dates (if AED pads are expired, save them for in-service trainings)
  • Properly store all first aid supplies and medications
  • Properly dispose of any sharps or other medical waste

Specifically for the Kitchen:

  • Clean out dry storage- ensure that all food that will not expire prior to the next season is properly stored during the off-season
  • Clean out all fridges, freezers and walk-ins
    • All unopened perishable food can be donated to a local food bank or other local non-profit
    • Discard opened/perishable food that cannot be donated
  • Clean out all grease traps, hood vents, grills and ovens
  • Ensure all leftover paper products are securely stored for the off-season

Program Space and Property 

  • Ensure each department has properly closed their facilities
  • Clear out any rooms that are designated for camp
  • Properly store fire extinguishers
  • Schedule outside vendors as needed (fire extinguisher services, cleaning services, etc)
    • Designate an individual to meet/monitor this work
  • Prepare for the winter
    • Drain and shut off water as appropriate for your facility
    • Disconnect all water hoses
    • Leave heat set to 50 degrees in buildings
    • Insulate pipes, especially exposed pipes and outdoor hose bibs
    • Turn off gas, propane, ovens, stoves, water heaters, warming boxes and refrigeration units
    • Close shutters and windows
    • Close up crawl spaces and eves of the roof
    • Arrange for winter plowing
    • Arrange for snow and ice dam removal from roofs
    • Arrange for staff to walk through buildings in the off-season
  • Remove all dead and dangerous trees and tree limbs
  • Contact local law enforcement and fire departments to request regular checks and ride throughs
  • Close and secure all buildings
  • Turn off all lights, fans, HVAC units and electricity (if applicable)
  • Unplug all computers and other electronics
  • Secure all vehicles, ATVs and golf carts

Leadership & Board of Directors

These checklists discuss the various information that should be relayed to leadership and your Board of Directors at the end of each summer:

Feedback Loop
Including all stakeholders in the safety of camp extends the culture of safety to those we serve. Using surveys is a great way to collect data and inform programs in the future. Be sure that you survey guardians, campers, staff and volunteers. Once you have gathered camper and parent feedback from the summer, present this information to leadership.

Debriefing with leadership staff is a critical component to ensure that each summer is better than the next:

  • Debrief the following aspects of selection, retention and training:
    • Staff selection
    • Trends in staffing
    • Celebrations in staffing
    • Staff orientation/trainings
    • Projections for staffing from LIT/CIT classes
    • Volunteers
    • Vendor for international staff
    • Staff/volunteer safety
  • Debrief the following about your programs:
    • Programs that worked well
    • Programs that didn’t work well
    • How the schedule ran
    • If pick-up/drop-off went well
    • Lessons learned from aquatics and waterfront programs
    • How rainy-day programming went
    • Reactions to emergency events; EAP, missing camper, angry parent, severe weather, etc.
    • Field trips to book again
    • Field trips that should not be repeated
    • How transition times went
    • How meal times went
    • Examine the trends in incident reports and claims
  • Debrief the following about your facilities:
    • Which rental spaces worked
    • Which rental spaces didn’t work
    • Whether or not the bathroom policy was implemented and followed consistently
    • Gather a list of maintenance needs and repairs
      • Discuss which are a priority
    • Discuss which programs or facilities need to be inspected by an expert
      • Determine if the budget allows for this
  • Debrief the following about your partners:
    • Which partners were easy to work with
    • Which partners delivered on their promises
    •  Vendors
    • Outside groups that were hosted
    • Review recommendations from The Redwoods Group’s visit
    • Review The Redwoods Group’s claims review

Report to the Board
We recommend you present this additional information to the board:

  • Number of campers served/final budget numbers
  • Number of swim tests given
  • Number of swim lessons given
  • Number of meals served
    • Highlight support from any grants or local non-profits
  • Highlight any stories on the impact that you made or a donor that you gained
  • How your camp intends to change or improve for next year
  • Claims review
  • Lessons learned from The Redwoods Group’s site visit
    • Progress your camp has made on those recommendations
  • Summary of parent/guardian surveys

The end of summer can be a busy time. This guidance will help to ensure that nothing is missed and that each stakeholder is properly informed necessary information about camp season.

Please contact your Redwoods consultant with any questions on how to implement this guidance.