Millstone 4-H Camp | Counselor Training Course

Group of camp counselors and campers singing songs around a campfire.

Context

Millstone 4-H Camp is located in Ellerbe, NC, and is one of three North Carolina 4-H centers currently in operation. Hundreds of children ages 5-17 attend summer camp at Millstone, where they engage in fun activities designed to foster self-confidence and generosity.

During the summer of 2019, I worked at Millstone 4-H Camp as the media coordinator and a camp counselor. I started working after the camp season has officially started, which meant that I missed staff training and had to learn how to do my job while on the job.

The current staff training for counselors consists of one-and-a-half weeks of hands-on training at Millstone 4-H Camp. High-quality instructors deliver training in camp policies, programs and activities, and first aid. Although most counselors are able to attend the in-person training, those who start late struggle to keep up with the pace of camp. This course is intended to enhance the training experience and fill gaps in existing materials.

  • Audience: 20–30 camp counselors, ages 18–25
  • Timeframe: 1 week (for sample only)
  • Deliverables: Two modules of instruction based on the extant camp counselor training manual
  • Tools: Articulate Storyline, Adobe Lightroom, Google Docs
  • My Role: Instructional Designer

Goals

  • Orient first-time counselors to their role prior to staff training and quickly onboard new counselors who were unable to attend staff training.
  • Create evergreen training content that could be used for 3–5 years without major updates.
  • Develop a course that could be completed within 2–3 hours prior to in person staff training.

Approach

I designed this course in order pitch updated training materials to Millstone 4-H Camp. With this in mind, I wanted to quickly create a course mockup to show some of the essential capabilities of Articulate Storyline to drive a discussion about what standardized training could look like for Millstone.

Topic Selection and Organization

I obtained a copy of the counselor training guide that Millstone 4-H Camp currently uses for training, and I reflected on my own experience while working on staff last summer. As I was in a leadership position, I was able to observe staff behavior and identify areas where improved training could fuel an even better staff dynamic. In addition, my experience as a counselor in a cabin helped me understand the real challenges of working in a high-intensity youth development program. I compared the information in the training manual with my own experience and considered how an eLearning training component could help set the tone for staff training and emphasize the camp’s key values. From there, I began organizing the information according to general topics that could be explored in distinct modules.

Design and Media

In selecting colors for this course, I referenced historic national park posters. I chose colors that had an outdoorsy feel while supporting readability.

I pulled historic images of Millstone from NC State’s photographic archives. The rest of the photographs came from an extensive collection that I assembled during summer 2019. I took hundreds of photos during each week of camp, and I wanted to use actual camp images that supported the concepts discussed in the written content.

Assessment

The quiz questions in this course are designed to be relatively simple knowledge checks, and they are designed to be formative rather than summative. I envision no more than five assessment questions would be included in each module.

Review

As I created this course, the Program Director at Millstone 4-H Camp reviewed the content for relevance, accuracy, and brand alignment.

Result

In its current form, I believe this course does a good job of showing what could be accomplished with an online training component for Millstone 4-H Camp. Working on this project also revealed an opportunity to redesign the existing training manual to make it easier to read and navigate.

Slide Samples

Overview slide from Millstone Training course.
Example slide from Millstone Training course that describes Millstone as NC's oldest operational 4-H Camp.

When fully developed, this course will have additional modules that are required to be completed in sequence. For the purposes of this project, I left all modules unlocked for ease of access.

Course Sample

You can check out the course sample here:

Millstone 4-H Counselor Training eLearning Course Sample

Reflection

I enjoyed this project because it enabled me to sharpen my skills in Articulate Storyline. I loved my experience working at Millstone 4-H Camp, and it was fun to think about how to support the camp’s growth. Children truly are the future of the world, and it is an honor to have been able to work with youth in various contexts throughout my professional career. Creating this course allowed me to apply my passion for education to solving a training problem for an organization I respect and admire.

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