December 6, 2018
This week Ruby Compton joins me for a discussion on burnout in the education industry. Ruby runs her own company, Ruby Outdoors, which works to help busy professionals be more present and confident outdoors through trainings and vacation concierge services.
Ruby and I have known each other for a few years through the summer camp industry and recently caught up at the first ever Women in Camp Summit (follow on Instagram @womenincamping) outside of Chicago at the beginning of November. In the episode, Ruby shares her journey of becoming a summer camp professional, growing into a year-round role, the different ways she made changes during her career, and what led to her own personal burnout.
We discuss the sacrifices that come with the lifestyle of a program or camp director, and the shame that can come up around stating you need more self-care as an educator. The messaging in the education industry is we must always put campers/students first, which easily leads educators to struggle to say they need self-care time. Ruby shared the way the stress showed up in her body as illness, and the way her health dramatically improved when she made choices more in alignment with her desires and needs.
We discuss the missing link of taking care of middle management in the summer camp industry. From the evolution of summer camp, to the growing demands of educators, and higher stakes all educators feel the stress. Systematic issues in camping industry and public school system lead to a robotic treatment of the humans doing very difficult jobs. We discuss the hypocrisy that this creates - summer camp is an industry that values and promotes human connection and relationship, but we are missing this as a whole when it comes to the treatment of our people in camp administrative roles.
In our discussion around the sacrifice of summer camp/educator lifestyle, I asked when do you make the choice? Ruby brings up self-reflection is key to understanding your sacrifices and needs. She shares two tools:
- Mind Maps - she explains the way she mind maps how she spends her time
- Re-interview yourself for your job
This moved us into a discussion of ‘sacred no’ and intentional language around how you spend your time and the choices you make. Then we dive into up leveling the conversations on both sides of management - this is vital to creating shift in the industry around taking better care of camp directors. One of my favorite points of the episode is ‘how you finish your job shows more about you than how you start your job’. It is difficult when someone wants to leave a heart-based job for the employer to not take it personally. Courageous and vulnerable leadership is needed from everyone when camp administration want to transition to a new position or leave for a new organization.
We rap on some creative ideas for creating more sustainable practices for summer camp pros and teachers. It is vital that we work as an industry as a whole and within our individual organizations to find creative ways to retain our year round staff. This includes changing the way we think about time off, pay, benefits, the amount of time we work, as well as saying no to industry norms such as being in a frenzy every May going into your summer. Additionally we discussed camp pros affinity for entrepreneurship.
We dig into the epidemic happening in the summer camp industry of strong camp directors leaving the industry because they are saying no to the sacrifice that is asked of each of us as summer camp professionals, and that self-care is knowing what your needs are.
Ruby shares what she loves about the outdoors because getting into nature is a wonderful way to self-care. I asked her to share ideal vision for the education system as we wrap up.
You can visit Ruby’s website, https://rubyoutdoors.com/ and get in touch with Ruby via email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Instagram @rubyoutdoors - I highly recommend her for camp and staff training consulting, trainings, speaking, and booking a vacation with her in the mountains of western North Carolina. You can also catch her sharing her staff training expertise as a co-host of the podcast of Camp Code, http://camphacker.tv/camp-code/.
Questions to ask yourself this week:
What reality are you creating with your mindset and your energy?
What are your needs?
How are you meeting them?
Where have you abandoned yourself?
What needs will you take to your supervisor this week to have a creative discussion about making some changes?
Mind Mapping - https://www.mindmapping.com/
Creative problem solving - http://www.creativeeducationfoundation.org/creative-problem-solving/
Growth Mindset - https://hbr.org/2016/01/what-having-a-growth-mindset-actually-means
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Until next week, go out Be BRAVE, Hearts Forward.
Music by https://www.soundcloud.com/ikson