July 18, 2023 / Staff Fun / Systems of Success

How to Run a Yearbook Boot Camp: Let’s Prep for a Great Year!

Written by Shiloh Scott

As the end of summer draws closer and you prepare to return to the classroom, it’s time to start thinking about your yearbook staff! What better way to prep for yearbook than with a boot camp? Yearbook experts Mike Taylor, CJE, Jim Jordan and Sabrina Schmitz, CJE, explained how in the training session How to Run  a Yearbook Boot Camp.

“I think when you have a good boot camp, it really puts you three weeks, four weeks ahead in the whole process of getting started,” Jordan said. “Your year is going to open up so much more smoothly when you do this. It seems like maybe you’re losing a tiny bit of your summer, but I guarantee you’re banking important information and getting off on a road that’s going to make your year go so much smoother.”

What is Yearbook Boot Camp? 

A yearbook boot camp is a condensed training meant to teach your yearbook staff the basics of yearbook. Yearbook boot camps teach skills like writing, photography and design. As an added bonus, letting editors take the lead sets up your staff for a great student-run publication and prevents burnout for the adviser.

“You editors taking charge is so important. We want your adviser to stay around for five, ten years. We want them to love the process. And by you really leading, it’s going to make a huge difference,” Jordan said.

When Should I Schedule It?

Hosting a yearbook boot camp at the beginning of the school year – even better if it’s before school starts – will set your staff ahead by weeks. They’ll start the year with a solid foundation, and can build on the skills learned during boot camp throughout the year.

Taylor, Jordan and Schmitz recommended hosting a boot camp during professional development days.

“It’s a great time to do training because you’ve got the time,” Schmitz said. “You’re not rushing to – in theory – other classes and practices. You’ve got that uninterrupted time to be able to do this training without being rushed, but the campus is open.”

If you can’t get in before school starts, the first few weeks of school is a great time to hold a yearbook boot camp. Schedule boot camp for whenever works for your yearbook staff.

“It can be customized to however will best fit your staff and your school situation,” Schmitz added.


The structure can vary, but now is the time to prep for yearbook boot camp. Do you want to do one or two full days? Would you rather stay after school every day for the first week or so? Would one jam-packed morning session suit your needs? Decide on a realistic schedule that will still provide the maximum benefit to your staff.  And don’t forget to have fun in the process.

“Yes, it’s work, yes it’s getting started for the year – but it should be fun. Make this a fun time. Have a good time with it. You’re learning, you’re training, but you’re also getting to know your staff and having a good time together. And that’s important too,” Schmitz said.

What to Do During Boot Camp

Yearbook boot camp has a few ideal outcomes: staff bonding, setting goals and proper training.

It’s important to include plenty of fun in your boot camp. This provides opportunities for your staff to bond and build positive associations with yearbook. Setting goals for the book together means everyone is invested and has a clear version for the year. And starting training early will help your staff as they prep for yearbook so they can hit the ground running this school year.

POP to It

Yearbook and food go together like… well, any classic food combination! Peanut butter and jelly, pineapple and pizza, spaghetti and meatballs… turn to the parents of staff members for sustenance. You can form a Parents of Publications group, then have those POPs supply your boot camp and work nights throughout the school year.

“A little hint: It doesn’t hurt to get a parent that owns a restaurant,” Taylor shared. “That’s just great involvement for them too, to be around and see how much goes into making the yearbook. Because there’s a lot that goes into it.”

A Friendly Challenge

Show off photos of your yearbook boot camp and you could win t-shirts for your whole staff! Take photos at every stage, starting with planning, and share them on social media. Use #WalsworthBootCamp24 on your posts so we can find it.

Watch the Training Session

How to Run a Yearbook Boot Camp is available now. It’s an excellent watch for yearbook advisers, editors and staff members in a leadership role. And stay tuned for Walsworth’s own Yearbook Boot Camp, coming Aug. 1 at walsworthyearbooks.com/webinars.

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Shiloh Scott

Shiloh Scott was the Digital Marketing Manager for Walsworth. They enjoy working in a variety of mediums, from print to broadcast to social media. Shiloh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.