Together Everyone Achieves More! This was the theme that ran through the first ever HKC Team Meeting held on November 12.
For the first time in the history of the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, all full-time and supervisory summer staff from all three sites met at the Mildred Goetz Day Camp in Pearl River for a full day of learning, discussions about the future and success of HKC, and the opportunity to meet and brainstorm with the staff from all of the campgrounds. It was an eye opening experience for all as everyone, no matter their position learned something new to help them do their job better.
The day started with a series of ice breakers for everyone to get a sense of who everyone else was and what they do at HKC led by Shara Perlman and Charlene Wendell, both consultants to HKC. Lenny Silberman, our CEO, was up next sharing his goals us as a team as well as his long term vision to turn the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds into a preeminent camping organization in North America. Lenny focused on the importance of working together and how the role we each play, no matter how big or small, is vital to the success of HKC. “By working together, we can re-engineer the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds into a dynamic, year round facility that provides the best possible facilities, program spaces, and customer service to our constituent agencies as well as the community at large.”
Jeff Coopersmith, our Executive Director, talked about the impact of Sandy and led us into a discussion how we can be better prepared for a natural disaster and where we can make improvements so that if something were to occur during camp we would be equipped to handle it. We had an energetic discussion with everyone participating and segued perfectly into Shara Perlman’s presentation about our efforts to improve safety and security on the campgrounds; what has been done and what are next steps are moving forward.
Our afternoon began with Rebecca Zimmerman, Manager of External Affairs, discussing the importance of marketing and outreach for HKC and gave everyone talking points to help us explain HKC when speaking with colleagues, agencies, and the general public.
A highlight of the day was a visit and session led by board member Gregg Reuben, Vice President, Mildred Goetz Day Camp and CEO of Alliance Parking Services in NYC. Gregg shared with us how his passion for children led him to his position on the board and what he sees as each board member’s responsibilities. He said that, “One important role is to raise funds for HKC so we can help provide children with positive and enriching experiences.” He went on to talk about how extremely challenging this is, especially in these difficult economic times. As the CEO of a successful company, Gregg understands the importance of quality customer service with clients and staff. He shared his expertise with us noting the importance of staff recognition and appreciation.
Working As a Team
With all these presentations under our belt it was time for another group discussion. This time we broke up into three teams to brainstorm on three topics:
- ideas for year round usage
- development and fundraising ideas
- what would we change if we were in charge.
We were all “dreaming in color” and together, the teams came up with long lists for each topic and a lot of great ideas. In addition to generating a slew of ideas, working as a team presented a hands on opportunity for understanding how much we can accomplish when we all work together toward our common mission.
Walking a Mile in Camp Directors’ Shoes
The last session of the day revolved around the agency camps, camp directors, and their evaluation of HKC. As the saying goes “You can never understand a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” And so Charlene Wendell and Shara Perlman helped give the HKC staff a better understanding of what it is camp directors do both during the off-season and a typical summer’s day. Through understanding what camp directors are thinking about, HKC staff can do a better job of meeting the needs of the agency camps. This is a huge step in helping us to develop stronger working relationships.
After a long day of presentations, talks and group discussions, the day ended on a high note. As we shared what we learned it was clear that we are emerging as a stronger team.
All in all, it was a great day and we all left as “happy and tired campers!”