A CHECKLIST FOR PROSPECTIVE CAMP COUNSELORS
Do I enjoy working with boys and girls (8-12 years old) and younger adolescents (13 – 16 years old) and have a desire to share my faith with them?
Campers are searching for new identities and new relationships and they need the guidance of adults who have a strong, secure sense of self. The insecure counselor may feel that his/her best efforts to help are often rejected and rebuffed. The successful camp counselor will take satisfaction in seeing dependent children grow into self-reliant young adolescents. The kind of counselor needed for campers (8-16) can be defined as “one who will enjoy children who are active, energetic, and who will take teasing in stride.” He/she will be “flexible and sensitive to quick changes of moods and needs, and will sense group feelings and camper interaction.”
Do I have the interest and ability to develop skill instruction in one of the organized camp activities?
The counselor who is developing his/her own skill in a particular activity area will have more respect for learning skills in general and will be better able to stimulate a camper to take delight in their activity skill development. Counseling in a camp setting will demand more specialization as the counselor is concerned about the attitudes of his/her campers toward the activity of skill learning and development as well as the skill itself.
Can I learn to work effectively in close collaboration with my colleagues in cooperative planning and skill development?
The potential of cooperative planning and skill development at camp is fantastic. The traditional role of the camp staff member has stressed individual autonomy and conventional camp staff training programs have emphasized this pattern. Accordingly, counselors have had little experience in the complex management of affairs demanded by cooperative planning and teaching. The prospective camp counselor needs to give this aspect of counseling and programming a fair chance to succeed.
Do I have an open mind toward innovation and change?
Many counselors are uncomfortable in an atmosphere of continual searching for new and better ways to organize, direct, and evaluate camping procedures and program, but we are committed to an innovative approach. Counselors in the camp program will be expected to try out many new plans, materials, approaches, and techniques. The process of change can be very stimulating, but it is also very demanding. The prospective camp counselor should face candidly the question of whether he/she prefers the stimulating challenges to the security of a comfortable routine.