Resource Library

  • Be the kind of person you want your campers to become - obey the rules yourself!
  • Know as many campers as possible by name. Know something about them. Build relationships.
  • Be friendly. Always show interest in what individual campers are doing and their progress.
  • "One pat on the back is worth two slaps in the face." Praise good qualities and actions.
  • A sense of humor is extremely valuable. Use it frequently.
  • Maintain your poise at all times. Don't let campers "get to you."
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In this day when college students lobby for internships and field experience, the professional values of camp counseling seem to take a back seat. In truth, camp counseling is a position which fosters many professional skills, such as responsibility, patience, and flexibility. It is also a position in which one is responsible for children's lives — what could be more important than that?

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Many of your camp’s alumni may attempt to convince you that camp isn’t what it used to be and that so much has changed. They are right, of course. However, their point is that the camp program is no good because it just isn’t the same experience as fifty years ago. Being the talented visionary that you are, you delicately explain all the great things that are taking place at your camp, your higher retention rates, your fund-raising successes, and other indications of innovative and dynamic camp programming. It’s all to no avail; your alumni are still not convinced.

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Case Studies Reveal Camper Growth
Published Date: 1999-01-01

Every year camp directors receive letters from campers’ parents describing growth experiences that began at camp and have continued to impact their son’s or daughter’s life in the home and community. Counselors often note similar descriptions of growth in the same campers during program sessions. Most likely, though, camp administrators do not include these testimonials and descriptions of change in evaluations of their camp program. In other words, the data are available, are recognized as important, but probably aren’t being effectively utilized.

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While at camp, counselors often become campers' surrogate parents. You monitor their diets, bedtimes, and whether they brush their teeth. You cheer for them when they master a new skill and discipline them when they break a rule. Classes exist to help parents become better parents. Counselors can benefit from this information as well. By following some of the advice from these classes, you can learn to better manage and more positively influence campers.

Parenting Styles

Decide what kind of camp counselor you will be. Do this prior to going to camp if possible.

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Dear Bob,

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When confronted by newspapermen who had reported incorrectly, humorist Mark Twain replied, "Reports of my death have been exaggerated." In much the same way, the recent furor over a new federal requirement concerning lead paint has been blown out of proportion for most camps and their operations. This month, we're going to look at some of the imperatives of that regulation, and extract the important elements for you to use when you face the next renovation or painting project.

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Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how great camp activities are, which special events seem fun, or even what new facilities have been added if each camper does not feel understood and appreciated. Given the vast number of different tasks a counselor must perform each day, it seems almost impossible to establish a meaningful connection with each camper. Even experienced counselors can become overwhelmed with the prospect of completing assigned duties before the end of the day.

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You may be interested in starting a charitable organization. Specifically, some of you may be interested in organizing a tax-exempt entity in addition to the for-profit camp that you already operate. The following should answer some basic questions about the planning and practical steps that you would follow to start your charity and to receive tax-exempt status. This is a broad overview, and we hope that it serves as an opening to further conversations about the charity that you envision founding.

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Wow. One hundred and fifty years of organized camping! What an amazing milestone! I don't think that it's too much of a stretch that simply having survived one hundred and fifty years is testament to the intrinsic worth of the programs, opportunities, and growth that is the camp experience. What an ideal opportunity, then, for us to look at some of the facilities that have supported the mainstays of camp over that century and a half.

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