I have been the Site Manager for Danemead Scout Campsite now for just over 3 years. In those three years I really have become good at herding cats with the occasional one managing to escape my grasp!
A lot of people think this is my full time job. I can assure you that this is 100% a voluntary role and I take no expenses from the campsite. Away from Danemead I am a full time Train Driver for Greater Anglia and have a family which comprises of Carmen (my fiancé), my daughter Megan, our loyal mutt Breeze (who you will see by my side whenever I’m on site) and our two cats Sam and Cleo.
So, what does it take to run a scout campsite? Well it’s a lot more than I expected! I’ve put together four average weeks of my Site Manager life and will explain some of our systems we have in place to make sure all our customers get the best experience! I hope you enjoy.
Monday starts with a phone call from one of Danemead’s neighbours. They have had no water pressure this morning and wanted to let me know. Most people don’t realise that the Campsite isn’t on mains water. Although I really wish we was! We in fact have a borehole and pump out all our own water. We also provide water for several of our neighbours and East Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust during the summer when they have cattle grazing. This is why I’m receiving a call about one of our neighbours water. Luckily, this time it’s just a case of re-pressuring the system and re-setting the pumps. Something one of our lovely neighbours is able to do. That’s saved me another visit this evening.
Tuesday is a just a case of going through my emails. Tonight’s issue is our booking system. One of our groups is having trouble understanding how to book a weekend. Luckily this is just a case of forwarding the email onto Steve who manages all of Danemead’s IT and media issues. Since this issue we have updated all of our systems so they integrate with each other and we now have a modern up to date professional booking system.
Wednesday is a phone call with Steve. He wants more traffic through the website. This means updating local attractions. He also wants me to start sending over monthly snippets of good news. If only I was that organised! However, I promise to do my best. Then for some reason, I still don’t know why I said it, I suggest doing a site managers blog! What was I thinking??? Steve being Steve not only thinks it’s a great idea but then doesn’t let me get away with not doing one! How am I doing at this blogging?
The week then ends with a finance meeting. This is a smaller sub committee made up of myself, Chris (Chairman), Ann (Treasurer), Monica (Treasurer) and Mike (Secretary). It’s just a meeting to monitor my spending, how much is coming in and any investments needed for the year. By keeping it to 4/5 people it makes things go much quicker and then means at our quarterly committee meetings we don’t spend hours on financial business and everything else gets ignored. For the third year bookings are up and revenue is doing well. However, for the third year running my spending is up and Ann’s warning me to be careful with our spending.
Since I took on the site we have invested thousands of pounds back into modernising and making the buildings more functional. This means playing dangerously with how much money we end each year with. Don’t fear though! We won’t have nothing left. We always have to have a contingency left in the account and we always have a good cash float for any unforeseen expenditure. It’s just means I’m yet to make a profit since taking over. My view is that money isn’t going to do any young person any good sitting in a bank account! Since writing this though I can confirm we made a small profit from survival camp. Yah!
So that’s four normal weeks being the site manager of Danemead Scout Campsite! I hope you enjoyed sharing my experiences and I hope it makes you want to come and stay with us again! Let me know what you thought of my first official blog! If it was any good maybe we can make this a regular thing? Anyway, thanks for reading!