Staff Training Wrap-Up

Westwind Summer Staff Training wrapped up last weekend. Let’s dive into staff training to learn what happens during training to prepare our amazing staff for their summer!

The Basics

Staff training is ten days long and is packed full of team-building exercises, training led by communication professionals, and extensive practice on how to be a Westwind Summer Staff. To start the week, Executive Director Andy led an introduction to the Westwind Values, explaining the importance of the work we do each summer and the why behind the choices Westwind makes. This led to more hands-on capers training where staff learned to do dishes, clean the lodge, and help keep Westwind clean.

Throughout the week, staff learned to run archery, practiced tree climbing, and learned to paddle a canoe. They practiced self-care and had plenty of time to hacky sack on the slab between trainings. In the evenings we had campfire, sunset beach walks, and a reading party.

Campership Pannel

During Day 8 of staff training, we welcomed representatives from our partner organizations to meet with our summer staff. Representatives from Southern Oregon Coast Pride, Cornerstone Community Housing, and the Family Preservation Project (FPP) presented during the Campership Pannel. These are three of the nine partner organizations that Westwind works with to connect campers and families to Westwind. These organizations work with communities who face barriers to accessing the outdoors. Westwind works to meet their needs and provide camp experiences through Camperships, transportation, culturally responsive programming, and additional supplies.

Leaders from these organizations shared about their mission and the families they serve. They provided insight into working with their communities and shared stories of past Westwind campers. FPP showed a powerful documentary filmed at Westwind during their Mother’s Day retreat. The film explored the process of healing that happened at Westwind for many families of formerly incarcerated mothers.

The message throughout the panel was clear: campers arrive at Westwind from diverse and differing backgrounds; Westwind provides a place of belonging and growth. Trainings like this, along with centering work in the Westwind values, are how we can give our staff the tools and training they need to meet all campers at the place they are and work to provide a Westwind experience that is responsive to their needs.

The Fun

Between our important trainings and workshops, there was still time for plenty of fun and team bonding. The first several nights staff worked on designing their name tags. These three-inch leather rounds, decorated with paint, magazine clippings, and the occasional button, are part of each staff’s identity throughout the summer.

On Day 6 of staff training, each unit embarked on their overnight. Spending a night under the stars, units talked through what to expect at an overnight, cooked over an open fire, and worked on their unit songs. Some units hiked to watch the sunset at High Meadow while others strolled along the estuary, watching the moon reflect over the calm waters.

During the final lunch, staff participated in a game of trivia to review all of the information they had learned and laugh at a few fun facts about our year-round staff.

Wrapping Up

Over ten days of staff training, staff went from fresh acquaintances to new friends. They discussed overarching themes related to the Westwind values and learned the nitty-gritty details of how to clean Cascade Head. As we wrapped up on Saturday, a call echoed throughout the staff: bring on the campers!

Meet the Westwind Staff!