Dear LCA Members & Camp Arcadia Family,
We’re in the homestretch of the ‘21 summer season, and well into planning for next year’s 100th Camp season. I’m writing to let you know about a shift in next summer’s vacation model. After two years of a six-day retreat, we are opting to maintain the six-day model for family weeks in 2022.
Weeks will run Sunday afternoon through Saturday morning, enabling guests to have full Dean’s and Youth programs, Friday night “dress up” dinners and family worship services, and a robust week of meals, activities, TP time, and more.
Our goal is to continue offering extraordinary guest service that enables you to be refreshed in body, mind and spirit at Camp Arcadia. Our young adult summer staff is responsible for creating much of the “camp experience” — in fact, without them, Camp’s ministry model simply doesn’t work.
Cultural changes over the past five years, however, have pushed the LCA Board and management staff to spend significant time discussing how to best handle these downward staffing trends:
- Fewer applicants and the need for increased recruiting efforts to attract staff. We used to have more than 60 applicants for 40 spots and had our staff filled by the end of February. Now, we often have spots unfilled later into the spring.
- Fewer returning second-year staff and even less third-year staff.
- More competition including better paying jobs, internships, and summer classes.
- Staff leaving earlier in the summer (creating gaps during still-busy family weeks) and requesting more time off during the summer.
- Fewer summer staff returning to serve on end of season staff.
- End of summer surveys indicating decreased job satisfaction.
While the six-day model was initially conceived as a response to Covid-19 constraints, it enabled the staff to have more deeply valued time off including (for the first time in Camp’s history) a weekly day off together as a team.
I cannot stress enough the dramatic and positive change this shift to the six-day model has had for our seasonal and full-time staff. During the past two seasons, I have seen:
- Significantly improved mental health among the staff, resulting in dramatically increased morale and team support;
- Far fewer sick days or instances of sickness;
- A decrease in staff leaving early to return home;
- End of summer surveys indicating significantly higher job satisfaction.
As a result of these tangible positive outcomes, and to attract and retain quality staff to carry out Camp’s mission, the LCA Board opted to maintain the six-day retreat schedule for the 2022 season. Camp Arcadia’s ministry flourishes when we prioritize care for both guests and staff in spirit, mind and body.
Camp Arcadia’s ministry flourishes when we prioritize care for both guests and staff in spirit, mind and body.
This change alone will not be enough to compete with the changing expectations (and needs) of the current generation. (Click here to read some of the research considered by the board on this topic.) In fact, other improvements under consideration include but are not limited to:
- Increased compensation
- Scholarship opportunities
- Increased leadership development
- More internship opportunities
- Increased networking opportunities with our guests
I hope this additional context is helpful for understanding the board’s decision to continue the six-day model for 2022, as well as the much deeper, more challenging issue of changing summer employment expectations.
Camp Arcadia is known for providing a one-of-a-kind vacation experience. We are also known for having excellent staff. To continue this tradition, we simply must make changes so that the Camp Arcadia staff experience is highly sought after by the next generation.
If you took time to fill out our survey on vacation length preferences, thank you (the results were a 50-50 split between the six or seven day model). The board and I deeply value your feedback and your passion for the Camp Arcadia experience. I look forward to celebrating the 100th Anniversary with you at the Camp we all love best in 2022!