Resource Library

Dear Summer Camp Counselor
Published Date: 2019-05-01

Let me first say, I am so intensely jealous of you. I think every person who has had the pleasure of working at camp, be it for one year or five, is envious of anyone who gets to be there when they aren't, and for good reason. Summer camp is a magical place. But it's not just the landscape that encourages those who enter camp grounds to be the greatest version of themselves. It's you who makes this place magical.

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Begin with the End in Mind
Published Date: 2019-05-01

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey describes Habit 2, “Begin with the End in Mind,” as a valuable approach to just about anything in life. For example, if you want to do a great job on a school project, first decide what the great finished project will look like. Then you can create the action plan for the steps you need to take to reach the project outcome you’ve envisioned.

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Congratulations! If you are reading this, it means that you have decided to be a camp counselor for at least a part of this summer! Now that you have landed the plum job, allow me to tell you the great news and the less-than-great news about what is in store for you.

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I keep wondering why I didn’t wear my helmet on that nearly fateful sled ride ten winters ago. The videos I’d taken of my sons the day before had been so funny that they insisted I take more the next day with my smartphone. And when my five-year-old son Sava asked me to jump on the sled and shoot a point-of-view (POV) video, I fumbled.

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Let's start with a riddle. As a camp counselor, you carry a powerful reward for campers with you wherever you go. Whether your realize it or not, you will distribute this reward to campers throughout the day. You'll tend to give this reward most often when campers are acting out, which could lead them to misbehave more. While all children crave this reward, they develop different strategies to acquire it: some have learned to be helpful and respectful, while others have learned to whine, complain, and stir up trouble. What is this mysterious and potent reward?

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Me First? Keys to Self-Care
Published Date: 2019-05-01

We've all been there! You're excited about your new job and all goes well for the first few days (maybe weeks). Everything is new and exciting. Adrenaline helps smooth any fears or irritations. But now it's getting real. Your coworkers are starting to get on your nerves. Your campers are driving you crazy; sure, some are adorable, but others are simply annoying and needy. "What am I going to do?" you wonder. You know you need to be relaxed and confident to help others. If you're really honest with yourself, you know it boils down to the fact that you're tired.

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“The time is always right to do right.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

My group of 14- and 15-year-old campers were walking back to the cabin after the afternoon activity. They were spread out along the path, with a couple of girls in front, a larger group ten feet behind, and the counselors bringing up the rear. The group in the middle started talking about one of the girls in the front group, who couldn’t hear what was being said behind her.

“I wonder when she’s going to come out.”

“Yeah, she should just come out already!”

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Helping the Homesick Camper
Published Date: 2019-05-01

For campers of any age, attending an overnight camp for the first time can be cause for a case of homesickness — a normal and reasonable reaction to separation from home and coping with unfamiliar surroundings. From my observations, it is best understood as a temporary state of anxiety caused by missing family, pets, and rituals that bring comfort and stability to a child’s life. A second component to homesickness, however, is equally important. This is the strange newness of residential camp life that can cause anxiety in a camper who perceives they do not fit in.

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Sorry, Not Sorry
Published Date: 2019-05-01

We've all been there. We're trying to help or referee some situation with kids, we're told a few things or parts of the story, and we think we know what happened, so we turn to the kid who we think is at fault and utter some variation of the words, "Go say you're sorry."

Let's be honest about one thing: They are not sorry!

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The mounting pressure to forego a summer at camp in favor of an internship is higher than ever. Many of you may already be thinking that this is your last summer. The pull is strong to look elsewhere to find experience and name recognition that will look good on your resume and help you land the dream job you are hoping for upon graduation. If it is your first summer, perhaps it took an act of Congress to convince your parents, professors, and friends that working at camp is a good idea. The truth is, there has never been a better time to work at camp!

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