Dear Counselor,

I love coming to camp every year, and I look forward to the end of the season and the feeling of accomplishment from all that I will have completed. I also love connecting with my counselors and building close relationships at camp.

It is my responsibility as a camper to make a positive contribution to camp. I ask the same from you — and maybe more. I believe that coming to camp is about building fundamental skills in the activities that I choose to pursue, creating relationships with the counselors and staff members (including you) who make my summer at camp possible, and spending time with friends I only see for a short time each year.

The first order of business when I arrive at camp is deciding on my activities. I hope that you will help me formulate the ideal schedule based on what you have learned about my interests. Next, I ask that you help me navigate these activities. If a situation requires moral or physical support, I anticipate that you will provide it. This is important to maintain a positive relationship between you and me and to help me with hurdles I may face.

On the subject of counselor-camper relationships, I enjoy getting to know my counselors over the summer. It’s very meaningful, especially if you are in one of my activities so I can get to know you in a different situation. Not only do I become friends with counselors, but I also look up to them and seek advice from them. That will be the case with you.

I hope you will feel comfortable being my role model and supporting me whenever I need guidance. You can reinforce this by monitoring your choices and embracing the fact that kids will look to your decisions as an example of how to live life. If campers see a bad decision made by a counselor, or anyone older for that matter, they might subconsciously decide that the bad decision is fine for them to make as well.

I also want to be able to spend time with friends who I don’t get to see during the year. I have quite a bit of catching up to do when I arrive at camp. It would be nice if you had a mixer to help us see old friends and find out what they have been doing for the past ten months, as well as get to know new kids at camp. In short, I’d like time devoted to seeing my friends and planning things to do with each other outside of the regular daily activities.

You could additionally plan interactive unit activities where we can observe each other in different ways and break the ice for the new kids. This will help us learn the various interests of our friends so we can maintain stronger friendships during the summer, as well as great bonds over the years.

I will look to you to help me accomplish the goals I set, and I know my camp friends will do the same.

Lastly, I ask that you be open with us and share what you like to do and what your favorite things are. Kids appreciate it when you take the time to share your interests and ideas.

If you help me with all these things, I think the summer will be an amazing experience for us all.

Sincerely, your camper,

Charlie Nicholas

Photo courtesy of Camp Highlander, Mills River, North Carolina.

Charles E. Nicholas is an eighth-grade student who studies at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences. He is a student athlete who competes in both golf and soccer. He attends the Cape Cod Sea Camps during the summer months, and he enjoys the various activities that they offer. In his free time, Charlie plays the guitar and reads