With over 40% of staff from the previous summer returning to camp each year and 93% of employees reporting on Glassdoor that they’d recommend working at Galileo to a friend, what’s the secret to our success? Hear below from Micah, one of our incredible Camp Directors, as he shares secrets for retaining his stellar staff and how he fosters an environment where staff are empowered to be their best selves.
How has your work with Galileo changed you?
Galileo has impacted me on both a professional and personal level. Professionally, I am so blessed to have a manager that works closely with me on my goals of becoming a better communicator and master organizer of my workflow. Personally, I’m much more courageous in taking strides to be a better version of myself. For example, the Inclusion & Diversity workshops that our company provides has really made me aware of my own biases, and our framework for providing feedback is something I find myself sharing with friends outside of Galileo!
A huge part of your role is building a cohesive team, and you have one of the highest staff retention rates across all Galileo sites. What do you do to create a solid team, and inspire staff to return year over year?
- The first step is creating a clear vision for what a strong team is—even before you hire your people—and then communicating that vision to them along the way so they become part of it. Galileo has an awesome framework so that this goal-setting and communication happens during the pre-camp season, then I get to put my own spin on the “how”.
- Next is to intentionally build a community that allows team members to get to know each other as humans, and where they can show up as their authentic selves. I believe that if staff feel bonded with one another and are having the best summer experience, that authentic joy will naturally overflow to our campers, then ripple out to our families and [the Pasadena] community. For example, at my site we form friendships and create connection outside of camp through optional events like a pre-summer gathering, weekend hangs, and then weeknight dinners during the summer.
- Lastly, it’s crucial to empower each of your team members to play a concrete role in creating that positive, supportive culture for the team. All this helps us get through the tough stuff (as well as maximize the fun times). And that’s why my team returns year after year.
What do you hope each person gains as part of your team?
I hope that each member of my team takes away at least one skill they can apply outside Galileo. This could be a skill like classroom management or conflict resolution, presenting to large groups of 200+ kids, leading peers through a professional development session, or even a mindset shift on how they approach challenging situations. I love finding opportunities that push my staff in new ways, while providing the support and guidance that they may not experience during their school-year roles.
Is there one particular staffer that you’ve seen grow the most over multiple summers? What was that journey like?
Solei has been at Galileo as long as I have—going on four years. She started as a Summer Operations Intern and quickly became someone that I relied upon to help me form and lead the culture of our team. I try to see the unique talents of my staff then help empower them to use those skills at camp. Since Solei was so tech savvy, we thought it made sense for her to pioneer our staple “end-of-week summary” video, which is shared with parents. During her second year, she made a big leap and became a multiple-subject Lead Instructor at our newly founded Claremont site. Solei was fully dedicated to succeeding in the Lead Instructor role, yet also learned to overcome perfectionism and be more adaptable.
This past summer, Solei joined our leadership team in Pasadena, and it blows my mind to think about Solei’s leadership trajectory the past three years. From someone who was searching to find their place in that first year, to now exuding confidence in all things she does at camp, Solei shines as a leader. And this summer, I’m so excited for her to take yet another step on her path as the Cultural Ambassador leader, supporting all of our new sites to have strong fidelity to the Galileo camper experience. Solei is really doing it all.
Micah Jang is also a year-round Area Coordinator at Galileo, supporting marketing and operations for our SoCal territory. In his free time, he’s an avid rock-climber and all-around jack-of-all-trades.
Interested in growing at Galileo? Summer positions are filling quickly—learn more and apply today!