For anyone who has ever ventured into the exciting world of camp counseling, they would know how demanding the job can sometimes be. Having your campers absolutely adore you while juggling a thousand other responsibilities is not as easy as it may sound. Here are six tips on how to be the best camp counselor you can be on your next camp journey.
Counselor and Camper Pose for PhotoAliseya Williams
1. Sound like a kindergarten teacher.
There's nothing more anti-camp than a monotone or boring-sounding camp counselor. Just like a kindergarten teacher would, it's important to always have a positive, expressive voice in almost everything you do while at camp. Your enthusiasm and excitement will in turn make your campers enthusiastic and excited as well. And that's really the whole point, isn't it?
Counselor Helps Camper Feed HorseRobert Saltzman
2. Have your campers be as independent as possible.
Whether you're working at a typical summer camp with kids ranging from pre-school age to high schoolers, or you're working with individuals with special needs, it's important to remember that doing everything for them does not encourage growth and independence. Whether it's brushing their teeth for them at night or picking up after them at every turn, if you don't allow them to grow in their independence, it may negatively affect them in the long run. We as camp counselors have far more impact over our campers than we give ourselves credit for. Because of that, it's important that we take the time out to help our campers become the absolute best versions of themselves in the long run.
Camp Counselors Pose for PhotoAliseya Williams
3. Get to know the other counselors.
It's not uncommon to go into a new work environment and have a difficult time making an effort to get to know the other members of staff around you. In most work environments, getting to know your coworkers is important, but for camp staff, getting to know your camp team is absolutely vital. Without forming at least a small bond with the individuals surrounding you, it will make your camp counseling experience, as well as the camp experience of the campers that much more difficult to enjoy. If possible, get to know your fellow counselors before coming to camp. Use social media to connect to the individuals you will be spending your next few months with. You may just make lifelong friends and mentors in the process.
Aliseya Williams and Camper Aliseya Williams
4. Know your limits.
With my experience working at a camp for individuals with special needs, there have been many different challenges I've had to face with my campers. There are also many difficult tasks that are required of me to do the job to the best of my ability. However, as a camp counselor, often working endless shifts each day, it's important for me to know when to take a step back and rest. Working as a camp counselor is no easy or simple experience by any means. It takes dedication, patience, and a lot of hard work just to make it until the end of each day. However, knowing your mind and body well enough to know when a break is needed is a crucial part to working such a physically and mentally demanding job.
Campers Pose for Pictures at Social NightAliseya Williams
5. Never limit yourself.
Contradictory to the previous tip, it's important to never allow any new experience to intimidate you badly enough that you walk away from it without giving it a try. Whether that limitation is not feeling like you're able to participate in a rock climbing activity with your campers because you're afraid of heights, or not feeling like you're qualified enough to change and feed an adult with special needs, in order to improve your growth as a camp counselor, you must be willing to step outside of your comfort zone for the sake of giving your campers the best experience possible.
Looking Out Over the FieldSummer Boulter
6. Have fun!
It is a common misconception that camp is only fun for the campers who attend. But we as camp counselors have the amazing opportunity to receive the camp ultimate experience by working with those campers. Even if you are not the one zooming down a zipline or going horseback riding for the very first time, it does not mean you can't have fun doing this amazing job. Enjoy every moment, every activity, and every conversation with the campers that you have, and both you and your campers will look back on your camp experience and wish that camp would have never had to come to an end.