Counselor Blog

June 22, 2011

An internationally recognized in trainer and mentor for youth, Jeffrey Leiken, M.A., shares advice for making a positive impact on a difficult bunk.

At some point each summer, it seems we find ourselves faced with the "difficult bunk." This is the bunk in which the wrong combination of personalities creates bad chemistry. Sometimes the campers just don't get along. Sometimes they do get along and have chosen to become famous for their prankster ways. Whatever the problem, the result is an excess demand on our time as we respond to their needs, and often this leads to a bunk meeting.

June 15, 2011

Annie Moretz Stanger, a teacher in recreation management at the University of Maine at Machias, explains why rainy days don't have to put a damper on fun.

Rain doesn't have to be an unwelcome guest at camp. It can be an inspiration for camp activities. Rainy days offer an opportunity to teach campers more about weather and for them to see firsthand how rain affects plants, animals, and the environment.

June 8, 2011

Christopher Thurber, board certified clinical psychologist and co-founder of, offers advice to counselors working with campers who have attention deficits.

There are opportunities to teach every child better self-control. Of course, being spontaneous — even a little out of control — is fun. It's just that learning to listen, concentrate, and sustain attention are also important life skills. Camp is an ideal setting for cultivating self-control and controlled chaos.

June 1, 2011

Kim Aycock, M.S.T., staff trainer and teacher, offers questions you should ask yourself during any decision-making process.

When I think back to my first summer as a camp counselor over twenty years ago, I wish I knew then what I know now about working with a group of energetic campers. "Quest for Best Practices" is a list of questions to help lead you through the steps of thinking through the "nitty-gritty" of a typical day at camp.

May 25, 2011

Renowned trainer Jeffrey Leiken, M.A., reveals that it's the little things a counselor does that matter most to campers.

Greg was a first-time camp counselor. He went to college in the Midwest and could teach tennis. There was nothing remarkable about him on the surface. He was a nice guy, got along well with his peers, and did what he was asked to do. When the campers arrived, however, something transpired. Campers from all ages congregated around him. Even some of the toughest campers in camp liked him. At his mid-summer evaluation the head counselor dared to ask him this question, "What is your secret? What are you doing that all these kids are drawn to you?"

Read more.

May 18, 2011

Christopher Thurber, Ph.D., a board certified clinical psychologist, explains that what children say isn't always what they really mean.

"I don't want to play. I hate kickball." — Sophia, age five
"Ben doesn't like me. He's always mad at me." — Betrand, age nine
"This place stinks. All the activities are stupid." — Asa, age twelve

If you're like most camp staff, you bristle when you hear children say these sorts of things. Read the full article.

May 11, 2011

Staff training is about what you are expected to do. The reason for those expectations is directly related to the experience every camper has at camp. Every expectation (or, in other words, every moment) should positively impact the kids' camp experience. It's pretty straightforward mathematics: Expectations + You = Camper's Experience.

Read Scott Arizala's full article.

April 6, 2011

The latest issue of Counselor Now is available online. Read The Seven Absolutes of Camp Counseling, by Jeffrey Leiken. He writes it is always better to be thought of as a great counselor by your director than to be thought of as a cool one by your campers. Working with children should be fun, and being able to access your playfulness in order to connect with your campers is essential to your success. Just make certain that you always remember that you are the adult and that you are hired to be professional in all your decisions

Also take a moment to read Words of Encouragement to the Camp Counselor: Ideas and Tips for a Successful Summer.

March 21, 2011

ACA’s CEO Peg Smith was featured on Lifetime Television’s morning program, The Balancing Ac, on March 11, 2011. This segment consisted of a conversation about the benefits of camp, choosing a camp, experiential education and the camp experience, and much more. Lifetime Television has 96 million subscribing households nationwide!

March 3, 2011

Check out our premier issue of the Counselor Now newsletter, designed for you, the frontline camp staff. This newsletter offers job-specific resources for everything you'll need this summer — from Camping Magazine articles and training advice to job opportunities, Counselor Now will help you be at your best.

"Tips for Camp Counselors: Sage Advice from a Veteran Camp Director" offers the advice you need to nurture your campers' development and guide positive behavior. "Licking Banana Slugs, Poking at Scat: Teaching that Creates a Connection to the Natural World for Campers" shows how to give your campers tangible experiences in nature during all activities this summer.

March 2, 2011

Check out ACA's Camp Counselors Facebook Page built for you, frontline staff at summer camps! Check back here for advice and tips, fun activity ideas, job opportunities, and much more. Use this page along with our other resources like this blog and the Counselor Now monthly email for finding the tools to make a positive impact in the lives of your campers and have a great summer at camp!

February 28, 2011

Welcome to ACA's new blog for you, the counselor! Check back here for counseling advice and tips, fun activity ideas, job opportunities, and much more. This counselor blog will give you the tools to make a positive impact in the lives of your campers and have a great summer at camp!

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