Becoming a camp counselor has never been more challenging than it is today. Supercharged by the pandemic, addressing and resolving mental health issues have become more important than ever. At the same time, understanding the responsibilities and roles of a camp counselor is in itself, quite a challenging venture.
When we train our staff, our primary focus is on five areas that help them become an overall leader. These five building blocks help in creating a foundation for our camp counselors that allows them to offer a refreshing and fun experience to all our campers. From fostering a welcoming attitude to conflict resolution skills, every counselor has to go through a rigorous training before they can be certified to manage a group of campers. Here are five areas that each counselor at Camp Live Oak has excelled at to earn their role.
Warm & Welcoming
Inclusion training is quite a common topic for debate when it comes to camps for children. Combine that with diversity training (which does overlap with inclusion), counselors are able to provide well-rounded guidance to children from all backgrounds. A camp counselor’s primary objective is to provide a warm and welcoming environment to all campers and it starts on opening day.
A successful camp counselor knows how to break the ice with jokes, fun facts, and highlighting the best parts of the curriculum. This allows campers to feel like they are part of a group and encourages them to carry forward the same positive spirit exuded by the counselors.
One of the main underlying objectives of every camp is to promote a sense of community. When campers feel like they are part of a much larger group, they feel happier and are more likely to come back to the camp. One of the most common ways of building a constructive and positive relationship with a camper is to call out their names and address their contributions as frequently as possible.
Make a list of all the campers and ensure that you are spending enough time with each of them every day. When they accomplish a goal, acknowledge their achievement with a smile and find the right channel to encourage them further. This will not only lift your reputation as a counselor, but also help your campers feel more welcome.
Creating Special Moments
One of the best ways to bake some fun into every camper’s time is by creating special memories for them. Besides the regular curriculum, ensure that you have some surprises in line for the kids and break them out when they are least expecting it. From a kitchen raid to surprise rewards for winners, plan something that will quickly garner everyone’s attention. You can also have an ice cream party or decide to sleep outside under the stars.
Managing Stressful Situations
No matter how well you plan everything, there is no telling when a conflict might ensue. After all, we are dealing with young children who tend to misunderstand or get upset over the smallest reason. Regardless, you must be able to work through every conflict while helping kids realize where they went wrong. Every camp has their own way of resolving conflicts, but chances are you might have to improvise, depending on the situation.
A camp counselor has many roles to play and leadership skills can go a long way to help you manage those roles optimally. While your primary objective is to lead campers through activities, you should always try to go the extra mile when dealing with children. Use your communication skills to explain the rules of the camp and ensure that kids know what they are supposed to do and the things to avoid.
At Camp Live Oak, we focus on building a safe and creative environment for every member. We offer many programs throughout the year, such as summer camp, scuba camp, teacher work days, winter day camp, and more. To learn more about our programs, contact our amazing team today!