Camp Organizational Support for Creativity Among New And Returning Camp Counselors
Keywords:camp counselor, creativity, multi-method, organizational behavior, professional development
Creativity supports interest, imagination, empowerment, intrinsic motivation, and overall engagement. Satisfied employees, who are supported in their creativity, have increased performance, motivation, and commitment. Residential summer camp is a demanding 24-hour job in which camp counselors use creativity on a regular basis via lesson planning, teaching activities, resolving conflict, and living within close proximity to coworkers. The purpose of the current study was to explore organizational support for creativity among first-year and returning staff at the beginning and end of one season of employment. Camp counselors (n = 113) participated in the current study utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative analysis compared pretest data on creativity to posttest items using paired samples t-tests. First-year and returning counselors indicated significant decreases in perceptions of the camp organization valuing creativity. Counselors’ self-identification as a creative employee significantly decreased among returning employees. Qualitative data analysis produced 46 independent responses and 3 content areas describing barriers to creativity, including personal (intimidation, inexperience), structural (time/money), and camp traditions (status quo) barriers. Summer camps should prioritize support for creativity as a vital component needed for a positive work culture. Ultimately, a camp mission, culture, and training, which support creativity may empower counselors (of various experience levels) to create new ideas, camp traditions, and activities.
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