Summer Summit

We’re looking forward to seeing you at this year's Summer Summit: Friday, December 6, 2019! Keep in touch in the meantime!

We look forward to you joining us at the 14th Annual Summer Summit held at Sidwell Friends School: a full day of workshops, round tables, discussion groups, professional development, and collaboration, for staff working in Summer and Auxiliary Programs.

Information from Summer Summit 2019 below…


Please fill out this form to confirm your attendance at this year’s Summer Summit.

The form will capture contact information, collect payment, and serve as an RSVP. Please note, Sidwell Summer is also hosting a Thursday night dinner (December 5); you can confirm your attendance through the same form.


Thursday, December 5:

Dinner @ Cactus Cantina! 6:30pm.

Friday, December 6:

8:30am – 9:00am: Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00am – 10:00am: Workshop 1 (Roundtables; switch @ 9:30am)

Afterschool Programming
Global Programs
Databases, Technology, and other tech tools
Marketing, Social Media, and Customer Service

10:00am – 11:15am: Welcome & Keynote

11:15am – 12:15pm: Workshop 2

The Psychology of Parenting: How to Understand, Manage, and Befriend the Difficult Ones
Demystifying Google Analytics
Why Do Vendors/Partners Cost So Much?
Introverts/Extroverts: Do You Really Know Your Staff?

12:15pm - 1:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm - 2:00pm: Workshop 3

Reading Between the Lines: Uncover Superstar Staff Through Effective Interviewing
Building a Foundation: Safety & Security for Auxiliary Programs
Creating Camp Spirit
Training Your Summer Supervisors: Key Steps to Positive Impacts

2:00pm - 2:30pm: Snack & Conversations

2:30pm – 3:30pm: Workshop 4

Develop a Culture of Giving
Build the Summer Brand that Makes Your School a Year-Round Success
How to Get the Team You Need and Want
Making Down-Time Fun-Time at Camp

3:30pm - 4:00pm: Last Ideas and Goodbyes

Workshop Descriptions

Keynote: Love What You Do! Increase Your Engagement At Work

This 60 minute interactive session defines engagement and focuses on three key factors that increase engagement at work. The presentation includes a mix of thought-provoking discussion as well as dynamic activities to empower individuals to increase their own engagement as well as encourage managers to increase the engagement of the teams they lead.

Workshop 2

The Psychology of Parenting: How to Understand, Manage, and Befriend the Difficult Ones — We all have them - the difficult parents. You dread when they call and hide when they visit. But consider for a minute that these parents might not be intentionally difficult, but rather they are just emotional. After all, we are responsible for their most prized possession, their children. And perhaps the best way to communicate with these parents is to simply understand them and respond in a way that meets their emotional needs. In this session, you will hear about common difficult parent situations and learn about what is really going on inside their heads. Armed with that information, you will then discover various ways to handle each situation so that you not only solve the problem, but create an ally. Plan to leave this session with actual language to use when speaking with parents and the confidence to handle the difficult ones.

Demystifying Google Analytics — Albert Einstein said it best, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”.  While there are many elements of your marketing execution and Internet presence that can be tracked, there are fundamental metrics that every summer program needs to focus upon.  Whether you’re completely new or an experienced casual user of Google analytics, we’ll show you the essentials to leverage this tool.  This will help you invest your marketing efforts in the right places, based on real data and our extensive experience with other successful summer programs.

Why Do Vendors/Partners Cost So Much — description forthcoming

Introverts/Extroverts: Do You Really Know Your Staff? — When you think of the best Camp Staff you've ever hired, you traditionally view them as Extroverts. However, what if we've been wrong all along and much of your staff are actually Introverts? Wouldn't that change how you hire and develop Staff Training and Development? This session guarantees to help you understand the real difference between Introverts/Extroverts, learn how to recognize those characteristics in your staff and how to better serve their needs at camp. 1. Participants will understand the personality traits of their staff member.  2. Participants will learn how to leverage the personality traits of their staff to develop a stronger staff training program.  3. Attendees will walk away with 7 strategies they can use in hiring/training their staff that better complement their Introvert/Extrovert tendencies.

Workshop 3

Reading Between the Lines: Uncover Superstar Staff Through Effective Interviewing — The key to a successful camp program is hiring the right staff. But how do you know who will make a good addition to your team? The interview is essential in determining if a candidate has the right qualifications and the right attitude for a position at your camp. We will begin by discussing how to prepare for and structure an interview in advance in order to maximize face time with the candidate. Then you will learn how to ask the right questions, as well as the psychology behind them, and determine how to recognize good answers. We will focus on how to identify authenticity through both verbal and nonverbal communication. Finally, we will examine how to evaluate a candidate once the interview has concluded, and decide if he/she is a good fit for your team. Don’t make a mistake that will affect your campers all summer long—find your superstar staff!

Building a Foundation: Safety & Security for Auxiliary Programs — As campuses become the hub of year-round activity for many families, schools need to consider how to provide a safe and secure space for students, faculty, staff, parents and visitors. Most schools place an emphasis on this during the school year, but don't devote the same resources to this during summer and after hours programming. Explore how one school has made this a priority for all campus activities.

Partnerships - A Strategic Way to Leverage Resources and Increase Programming — Partnerships are a fantastic way for independent schools to leverage resources, enhance program offerings, outreach to new members in your community, and tackle some important social issues.  To start our discussion, three independent schools and one business organization will present case studies on how they developed partnerships with local schools, universities, businesses, and non-profits.  We will discuss the goals and outcomes of these partnerships, challenges faced, as well help you brainstorm ways to create your own partnerships. 

Creating Camp Spirit — Capture the Flag,  camp sing-a-longs, and spirit days are some of the most important parts of camp! In this round-table session we will share ideas, sing silly songs, and play games, as we focus on how to create our own unique camp spirit.

Training Your Summer Supervisors: Key Steps to Positive Impacts — If our industry goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of our campers through exceptional youth development experiences, whose role is it to make this happen? You guessed it…it’s all about the people working at your camp and interacting with your campers every day of the summer. We will share four key areas of focus to prepare your team of summer supervisors to be effective leaders that support, guide, coach, and mentor your staff to greatness this summer.

Workshop 4

Develop a Culture of Giving — Too often, we hear from staff that they feel underappreciated and invisible. Expectations of you as the “boss” and how much time you should spend giving out praise (often for basic job expectations) typically don’t match how much time you are able to spend providing them the attention they need. What if there were a way to give staff the recognition they need (and deserve) without sacrificing the tasks you need to complete to fulfill your job responsibilities?  Developing a Culture of Giving through a structure of peer-to-peer recognition promises to change they way your staff interact with each other and the dedication they have to you and your program.  Participants will be able to identify the shared anxiety of their staff and where it comes from. Participants will learn the principles of a Giver Culture. Participants will walk away with specific strategies/ideas on how to implement a Culture of Giving at their program.

Build the Summer Brand that Makes Your School A Year-Round Success — Does your school need a clear, compelling story for its summer program?  Do your  communications director and education staff struggle to explain the unique value of your summer program?   Do you need your CFO’s budget support to promote the unique offerings of your summer program? If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes”, please join our focus group discussion. We’ll share how to build a valuable summer program brand that connects, builds, and contributes to your independent school’s success.    Get a playbook for convincing your CFO to say “yes” to the marketing budget required to increase enrollment and revenue.   Learn best practices to transform your independent school into a year-round experience for student families.

How to Get the Team You Need and Want — Do you have a team that includes Me, Myself and I (and maybe one other person?) Make a compelling case to professionalize and expand your Auxiliary Programs team in this short workshop. Leave with resources that will help you convince your school's leadership that you need more support!

Making Down-Time Fun-Time at Camp — How do you make every minute of the camp day a unique and special part of the experience? This exciting and interactive session explores the different times in the camp day when staff can easily transition down-time into fun-time. We teach/play a variety of creative games, activities, songs, dances, and more. Attendees will vote live on the most important focus areas, then walk away learning a list of new activities and new ways to use known activities to keep campers safe and happy while making every minute of the camp day exceptional.


Address: 3720 Upton Street NW, Washington DC, 20016


Visitors are welcome to park in the parking lot at 3720 Upton Street NW. The entrance is on Upton Street between 37th Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Please place the placard (which will be emailed to you upon confirmation) in your dash to alert our Security Team.

Note: closest Metro stop is either Tenleytown/AU or Van Ness/UDC, both on the red line.