It’s hard to find yourself in a new position with responsibilities you've never had before, like managing a team or motivating your staff. Sure, you’ve been part of teams. And yeah, you’ve been a star performer in previous positions. But, playing the role of leader… Well, that’s something new all together.

The Group Forward developed a training program we call The Manager Toolkit to help first-time or relatively new leaders in the role of being a "boss.”

Over the last decade, we have worked with over 15 summer camps and youth development organizations across the U.S. and Canada, we have trained over 500 supervisors and senior leaders. Each participant left the training with valuable skills that could immediately be put into practice to benefit their camp program and that could be leveraged, in the future, throughout their careers.

We are a trusted training partner for camps that choose to hire outside organizations to delivery sessions during orientation week. Our trainers are relevant because they “get camp” and bring a strong team management background from corporate, non- profit and entrepreneurial work-life experiences. What your supervisor team will gain from this training supports their ongoing professional development as they grow their careers in and outside of camp.

My staff literally quotes the concepts they learn in this training all summer long. It gives them a common language that enables them to be on the same page, right from the beginning of the summer season. We’ve been running a training program with The Group Forward for three years now, and I truly believe there isn’t a better way to invest in our staff’s success.
— Anna B. Herman, Camp Director, Henry S. Jacobs Camp Utica, MS


The Group Forward will customize leadership skills training to meet your supervisor team needs, learning goals and schedule. Here is list of The Manager Toolkit topics that seem to resonate the most with Camp Leadership looking to hire outside trainers for Staff Orientation Week:

HOW TO BE A GOOD BOSS: Topics include Consistency & Fairness, Motivating your Staff, Managing your Time as busy Camp Leaders, Managing Up, The Art of Delegating, Stress Management, Role Modeling, When to Amplify vs De-escalate, Your Leadership Style, Systems of Organization, Skill Development for Emotional IQ, Managing different people/ groups (your friends + peers, those younger than you, those older than you, full time staff, Millennials / Gen Z as a Millennial/ Gen Z)

THE COACH APPROACH // THE SKILLS OF SUPERVISING STAFF: How to set your staff up for success in their jobs, Coaching Staff to meet your expectations and their goals, Managing with No Surprises, Giving & Receiving Feedback, How to have difficult and direct conversations

MANAGING CONFLICT: How to frame, identify, mediate, and navigate conflict between you and your boss(es), colleagues, staff, campers, parents and all stakeholders you work with. Framing the idea that we stand to gain more for the betterment of our work place when we actually manage conflict effectively  

STAFF APPRECIATION + ENGAGEMENT: What are you doing now and how can we enhance it? Learning best practices in Staff Appreciation and Engagement, understanding the research and how to apply it can be applied to your camp culture

MEETINGS MATTER // FACILITATION 101: You need your meetings to matter. Learn the theory of human thinking and apply it to how you design and deliver meaningful meetings. Learn the key skills you need to facilitate groups inclusive, participatory, action oriented and results driven

BEING BRIEF: Time at camp is precious so getting your message across quickly is crucial. This session focuses on the skills of becoming a clear, concise and compelling communicator – our careers at camp, and future careers depend on it

HOW TO MAKE TRAINING “STICK”: How to create engaging, impactful, memorable, “sticky” learning & training for your staff during Pre-Camp & throughout the summer? How do you create a learning organization with ongoing goal setting and supportive development? Since Supervisor teams will be running camp orientation in a few days — The Group Forward will share their best practices and tools for how to make any training experience “stick” all summer long

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Here is a one-day Manager Toolkit Sample Schedule we would run during Staff Orientation Week. All training programs can be customized based on the priorities of the camp we’re working with.


  • We aim to create participatory sessions where participants practice new skills learned from the content we share

  • We appeal to different learning styles and are learner centered. We push participants to take the content we present and make relevant and specific to their camp roles

  • We share key findings from research, case studies and real-life examples to help underscore important management learning lessons

  • We offer “real life” role- play and scenario training, where participants have the opportunity to practice new skills and get feedback on their skill development, in real time

  • We help senior camp leadership (Directors and Asst Directors) in amplifying and echoing important management skills and practices they expect of their staff

  • We are relevant in the room because our trainers “get camp” and also bring a strong background in non-profit management, corporate cultures and organizational consulting

  • We train your staff with skills they can practice at camp and master in their future careers

Over the last decade, The Group Forward is proud to have worked with these Camps and youth focused organizations.

Over the last decade, The Group Forward is proud to have worked with these Camps and youth focused organizations.

I gave this training a 10 out of 10 because I learned a lot of real applicable strategies I can use this summer. This was the most useful session we had all staff week.
— Supervisor Staff Member, Camp George, Seguin, ON