Start Your Summer Right!

June 13, 2012

Whether you’re a seasoned vet or this is your first summer as a camp counselor, it’s important to get the season started right! Here are some expert tips for your very first days at camp.

Set Goals for Yourself

From “Will I Be Enough to Make a Difference?” by Greg Cronin, CCD

Start this summer by setting realistic goals you can work toward. It’s important to verbalize your goals to your supervisors, so they can help keep you on task during challenging situations. Remember, they are going to hold you accountable for your decision making, so be pragmatic when you develop your ideas. (For a sample “Top Ten” list of goals, see the rest of Greg’s article.)

Help Campers Make Friends

From “Configure the Ideal Smartphone: ‘Apps’ for Camp Staff to Download and Install,” by Kim Aycock, MST

Most of you probably already have and use Facebook on your own smartphone. The camp version of this app is to facilitate the formation of friendships within your camper group. Campers will have immediate opportunities to "friend" others, and may need your help to know what to "post on their wall" or put out there for fellow campers to see . . . . It will be your job to assist campers during the introduction process — having several name games or icebreakers in mind is a great way for a newly-formed group to get to know one another. One idea is to have campers introduce themselves as their favorite superhero. They can include their character's name, costume preference, special powers, battle cry, and their sidekick, if it is desirable to have one. This activity is a safe way for campers to exchange surface information and begin to know the other members of their camp group.

Manage Behavior

From “Patience,” by Stephen Maguire

. . . Start with strong expectations of your kids. Start by introducing yourselves in a fun and positive way. Start by building your cabin group by setting the behavior expectations of the entire group together . . . . Spend that first day with your kids talking about how important it is that everyone treats each other well, including their counselors. Write it down and put it up in your cabin or in your bunk. Make sure you, your kids, and your co-counselors all sign it.