Ahh, camp. An experience that I am positive almost every person has experienced at least once in their lifetime. I've had so many great memories from Girl Scout camp as a kid. The endless times of telling ghost stories until I was too scared to sleep or cooking our own meal as a unit are some that really come to mind. Being a camper was fun and had its own benefits. Eventually, I got older and strayed away from the camp scene. However, as I got older and was searching for a summer job after freshman year, I stumbled across a camp counselor job for the camp I used to attend. Of course, I jumped at the chance and haven't regretted it ever since. To me, being a camp counselor is just as fun as being a camper. You get to be yourself, act like a kid, and be a role model for children all at the same time. What more could you ask for? Since Girl Scout Camp is about to begin, here are the 10 benefits of being a (Girl Scout) Camp Counselor.
1. You get to be a role model
If you went to camp as a child, you probably remember having some amazing camp counselors. Being a Camp Counselor means that children (no matter how big or small) will look up to you. They will tell you they want to be just like you when they grow up. Kids will even make you friendship bracelets, give you SWAPS, or give you gimp to signify how much they adore you. And hopefully, you will leave an impression on them for years to come.
2. You get paid to act crazy
Camp Counselors know the best way to keep kids entertained. Whether you have a ton of silly camp songs up your sleeve or you find entertaining ways to keep your campers cool in the summer heat, kids eat it up. When kids see you having fun, they want to have fun too! Chances are you have as much fun as they do (whether you admit it or not). I promise it's the most fun you'll have all summer.
3. You get to be yourself
Along the lines of getting paid to be crazy, you get to be yourself. There is no truer version of yourself than your camp self. You get to speak your mind in a world of no judgment, you can be as loud or carefree as you want without having a worry in the world, and most importantly, your campers will love you for it no matter what. To them, you can say or do no wrong.
4. You get to teach kids stuff that they don't learn at home
At camp (especially specialty camps or scout camps), many of the campers get to learn how to do things other kids don't know. Some kids get to learn how to build fires and use a match or learn how to use a saw and an ax. Kids find it awesome to learn things that their parents can't teach them at home and they will definitely remember it.
5. You get to show off your leadership skills
Not only do you get to have fun and act crazy, you get to lead a pack of children into the wilderness for a week (or more). You get to show what your leadership skills are made of in order to help the children to establish a community with each other and all the counselors around to help them. Whether I am taking campers on a hike, teaching them a new skill, or showing them something cool, kids love to see myself (and others) lead the way.
6. You will learn so much from others
Camp is not only a great learning experience for campers, it is a great learning experience for yourself. Just like how campers will learn from you, you will learn from them (and other counselors too). You will learn tips and tricks from other counselors (just like I have). I have learned everything from finding a better way to cook over a fire to valuable life lessons. I have even learned important lessons from kids at times. So remember to keep your ears open and listen.
7. You will learn about yourself
Not only will you learn from others, but you will learn about yourself. There have been many summers in the past where not only do I come home on the last day with a bunch of memories, but things I have learned about myself. Sometimes it can be something as simple as what makes you tick. However over the past few summers of working at Girl Scout camp, I have found my passions, strengths, and weaknesses. The things I have learned about myself will carry me far beyond Girl Scout camp.
8. You will gain confidence
Camp is a great confidence booster. I know in the past, I have been very shy and not confident in myself. However, Girl Scout camp has been helping me push through this. The amount of encouragement and empowerment that I have received from others is truly inspiring. Their camp spirit can truly lift you up and help you conquer anything you put your mind to.
9. You will be a part of a community bigger than yourself
One of my favorite parts of Girl Scout camp is the commuity of people that you are surrounded by. Over the years, I have made lots of connections with adults and campers alike through the camp. The bond you share with these campers and counselors is something special. Nobody knows how to build campfires or sing camp songs the way this camp does. These bonds will last a lifetime no matter how close or far from camp you are.
10. Camp is your home
After a while, camp isn't even your second home but your actual home. Despite all the creepy crawly bugs and having to use a latrine, I definitely embrace it. Even after all the years of being a camper and a counselor, there is no other place I'd rather be. It is somewhere I look forward to coming back to every year no matter where I am in life or what I am doing. You can always count on a smiling face and a camp song to lift your spirits in no time.