1. Be aware of what is expected.
Being a camp counselor is not easy. Although many will, not all kids are going to be easy, not all kids are going to be your best friend. If you can smile through the difficult times and know that your job is giving kids one of the greatest summer of their lives, then you're in the right place. If not, you really must evaluate why you want to be a counselor. It's a lot of fun, but a lot of work.
2. Pay attention to details. (And the details are the kids!)
When a camper is stuck or confused, she/he isn't always going to admit it. They don't always ask for help, so it's our job to notice and jump in with help! When you are present with all of the kids (even the ones that drive you nuts) and are ready to help, we have super happy kids and our numbers go up and we have more hours to offer everyone.
3. Make friends with your fellow counselors.
Being a camp counselor is not easy, and it's easier if you have allies! You don't need to be best friends forever, but it helps to at least get along and understand each other. If there is a disagreement between counselors the campers will pick up on it. We need to be able to solve problems in a respectful manner and if we are friendly with each other that becomes much easier to do.
4. Get to know the campers name on day 1!
It's Monday afternoon and parents are picking up. Mom says, "I'm here for Dustin," and you look confused. "Who is Dustin?" you think to yourself. But Mom already knows you have no idea who Dustin is.
Learn the names on Monday morning. And the more you say their name during the day, the less likely you will forget them when you need to know them - like when Mom is standing right next to Dustin and you're shouting, "Dustin, your mom's here." (FYI: I did that...that's how I know...)
5. Get to know a little about each camper.
6. Allow kids to work in teams, and include team building activities into the day.
This will help your campers to get along. Plan activities throughout the week that help the kids feel like they are part of a team.
Ask them questions, start conversations and play games that help the kids get to know each other. Share your best ideas with other counselors so they can try your activities with their campers.
7. Reflect on your day
- What was the best part of your day?
- What was the worst?
- What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
- If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- If you could only watch one TV show or movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
8. Get rest and take care of yourself.
Water is life! Hydrate!
Take your breaks...you deserve it! Even if you just walk outside and sit on the steps playing Temple Run, you need a brain break!
Get plenty of sleep at night. Fortnite can wait until summer is over and you have nothing better to do than reading 300 pages of AP World History and answering 20 essay questions about The Development and Codification of Religious and Cultural Traditions and The Emergence of Transregional Networks of Communication and Exchange.