Friday, September 14, 2012

1st Summer with Nike Basketball Camps

Posted by Michelle Manfredi | Friday, September 14, 2012 | Category: |



When I took this job in April I knew that part of my job requirements would be directing summer camps for Nike/Elite Camps.  I knew that camps ran from the end of May through August.  I have worked camps since I was in high school so it was not a new thing for me.  However in the past, I was always just a coach at camp.  My duties required me to show up on time, teach the drills I was told, help the players, and simply coach.  It was a good summer job for me.  I never really took the time to think about what it actually takes to plan a camp and direct it.  I definitely realized quickly that I would have my hands full.

What most people do not realize is how much time and planning it takes to ensure a successful camp.  I know I never realized that.  To start, we begin to plan our camps for the following year before the current summer is even over.  First step is deciding on dates and reserving gym space.   We have to choose dates that work with all of the other camps we run throughout the Southeast.  Once our dates and camps are set, then the marketing process begins.  Marketing the camps involves many aspects:  from choosing types of advertisements, colors, sizes, mail or electronic, website advertising, and much more.  Ordering gear for camp is another big part that is overlooked.  You have to order gear well in advance before you even know the numbers and sizes.   Prizes, magazines, evaluations, basketballs, lanyards, and certificates are all part of the gear we need to take into account as well.

The next major part of directing a camp is choosing your staff.  It is important to get the right mix of people and personalities to fill all of these spots.  We want the best staff possible to ensure that each camper leaves camp with more knowledge of the game and enjoys camp to the fullest.  Also involved in directing camps is having a camp daily schedule along with staff guides.  Our daily schedule involves each part of camp down to the minute.  The staff guide includes descriptions on each drill the staff will be teaching.

During the camp week the director is constantly running around making sure each drill is run right.  You have to be quick on your feet as well as think quickly.  We like to keep an 8 to 1 ratio at our camps therefore changes need to be made with each roster add or drop.  If we have a walk up sign up on the first day of camp, a change in the roster and groups may need to be made and made quickly.    All of that is just a brief description of the role of a camp director. 

When my boss came to me in early May, he told me had good and bad news for me.  The good news was…I would be directing my first camp this summer on my own, the bad news was… It was the 1st week of camp.  It was a great feeling that he trusted me enough to handle it, but it was also one of the most nervous times of my life.  He prepared me to the max for that week, taught me the ins and outs, and gave me everything needed to be successful.  However, all the preparation in the world does cannot compare to actually being out there and doing it yourself.  Camp went well and I received good feedback from it so I was pleased.  I am sure I made plenty of mistakes, but all I could do is learn from that and apply it to my future camps.

Before I took this job, I never realized how much was really involved in running a successful camp.  It can be very time consuming and stressful at times.  It makes me appreciate the time and effort that everyone put into the camps that I attended when I was young.  I am very excited to keep learning and growing as a coach and camp director and make each summer the best summer of camps to date.


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