We spend so much time with email and text messaging these days, we forgot how special we can make people feel with a good old fashioned piece of snail mail.
Why not ask people to write letters to individual staff members. Give these names and job descriptions to people outside your camp who would like to support your summer.
Examples of the people to ask are: women’s groups at church, parents of staff members (have them write to someone other than their own child), parents of campers, agency employees, board members, etc. These words of encouragement go along way in making staff members feel supported and appreciated. It may be hard to find enough letter writers for every member of your staff so why not ask your volunteers to write at 5 - 10 letters. They can spread them out over the summer so it is not a big job all at once.
Place a bulletin board in a prominent place at camp like your staff lounge. Place short letters of praise for individual staff members on it. Make sure that these are specific to something you have recently witnessed or been told about and not just general statements like “so-and-so did a great job today”.
This is an excellent way to praise creativity, good decision making, going the extra mile, dealing well with difficult situations (this is why you may not want your praise board where campers would see it). Staff will truly appreciate seeing their name on the board, will be recognized by you and their peers, and will work hard to get their name on the board! You may also want to have all staff members contribute to this board.