Do You Have The Dreaded Mid-Summer Blues?!?! Then quickly, read on…
The good part is you’ve reached the part of the summer where you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming train. But the songs aren’t new anymore and the kids don’t seem as excited as they were a while ago. It’s hot outside, you have a 3rd degree melanoma-bound sunburn, and are sure that there will be a permanent “Kool-Aid” mustache etched on your face forevermore. While you do love your job, you are getting a little tired and feel a kind of ragged around the edges. It’s what a colleague of mine calls “the mid-summer blues”. How do you deal with this malady?
Your group may need some inspirational words from their leader or you can choose to give them a physical tool to inspire them for the remainder of the summer. Remind them of the impact that they make on children’s lives and how the kids need them to be as fresh as the first day of summer. Here’s a few tips to keep your staff and yourself motivated & interested during this crucial time of summer.
At Your Weekly Staff Meetings – Celebrate!
- Hold contests, reward useful ideas and give copies to staff giving credit where due
- Leaders of the Week selected by the supervisor (using a summer long theme is fun)
- Peer nominations & recognitions
- Remember birthdays & work anniversaries
- Have a prize drawing for everyone who shows up on time
- Find some incentives out in the community for worthy staff: free or reduced cost bus pass, movie pass, swim pass
- Have holiday and summer gift exchanges
- Simple get togethers like softball, movie night, and biking
- Organize a scavenger hunt – get certain items or have a list of people, places, and things to photograph or video/audiotape (like what a Recreation Supervisor looks like at 6:00 am!)
You may feel like this is giving away a lot of things of monetary value but it doesn’t cost your budget much at all. Just remember high school and college age staff place a real value on fast food and entertainment, especially in the summer. It tells them that you value them even if you are not paying them a monster wage. (And if you are, I want to know where you work!)
Many items are also intrinsic recognition which is my favorite because the value is personal to the individual person or group. My playground staff do not hint around for recognition, but in the past when I have awarded Gold Medal Leader ribbons or a Playground Power Ranger ring it was almost as if I handed out a check. The smile of appreciation and proud bearing of their award on their nametag lanyard for the rest of the program was a real testament to the value they placed on the acknowledgment in front of their peers. Not to mention that they would have to explain what it was to each child who would ask them about that thing around their neck, further confirming the information and their importance to the program.
Give Encouragement To Someone Who Needs It
Crumple different colors of tissue paper into a paper lunch bag until it is stuffed. It can be a brown lunch bag or a fancy bag with a satin sheen. It can be kept plain or drawn on with a marker or crayons or decorated with heart or star stickers. You can tie on a ribbon or add lace. Staple closed & attach the following note:
Encouragement is a catalyst, a stimulant, an aid toward success, both for accomplishment and overcoming a situation in life…. Note: SOME need more encouragement than others….
One bag may not be sufficient! Check with your “supplier” for refill….
“Seed” Your Staff With Positive Thoughts
Tape the following onto a packet of seeds and give one to each of the staff. This is especially good if the program has a nature theme. Try to get seeds that were packed this year. Many times you can get seed packets at hardware stores for 10 cents each!
Instant Garden Of Success
Packed For Your Summer Lot No. 1
Plant five rows of Peas:
Patience, Perseverance, Preparation, Planning and Positiveness
Include three rows of Squash:
Squash Negativity, Squash Bad Attitude, Squash Depression
Add five rows of Lettuce:
Let us be Positive, Let us take Responsibility, Let us be in Control, Let us reward our Accomplishments, Let us be Empowered
No garden is complete without Turnips:
Turn up with a Positive Attitude, Turn up with a Smile, Turn up with New Ideas, Turn up with New Determination, Turn up with Success