April 29, 2022
If you’re a former camper looking at becoming a camp counselor, that’s great! You’ll have an idea on what a general day is at camp and have likely grown up with great counselors to emulate. But if you didn’t attend camp growing up, it’s no big deal!
Despite what you might think, experience with children is not a prerequisite to working at a camp. The only question is whether you have a desire to genuinely help a child, because most likely at the end of every day as a camp counselor you will have done just that. A camp counselor’s biggest jobs are making sure the campers in your group or bunk are safe and have a person that they can come talk to. But that also doesn’t mean you have to have all of the answers. There will always be somebody, be it another counselor or a head counselor, that you can bounce questions or situations off of to find out the best way to approach a problem.
So what skills does a great counselor need to excel at? Teamwork, empathy, communication, a patience, and most of all tenacity. While camp counselors get to work in some of the most beautiful places a person could ask for and generally are at fun activities a majority of the day, the job is as much about that time as it is about the time between as it is the time at activities. There’s a saying with some counselors “the weeks fly by but the days are long.”
A day could go by where you have to use all of the listed skills, or none of them, but it’s also a job where you’re going to learn as you go. Because there’s not a lot of jobs that are like being a counselor, there’s not an expectation you’re going to get it right every time. It’s hard to make decisions in some situations, but the good news is you’ve always got support around you to help you make them. Your co-counselors and your head counselor are going to be there for you. A counselor learns by doing, and by asking for help.
A great counselor is able to adapt on the fly, overcome the randomness that comes along with living in a bunk, and be ready to do it every day. Now that being said, while counselors aren’t going on summer vacation the job’s rewards are far and away worth the effort. “Job” doesn’t really do it justice, at camp you get to be part of a community.