Summer camp is memorable for kids for a number of reasons. It might be the first time that Timmy is away from his mom for more than a day at school, or maybe a big thunderstorm in the mountains shows Susan that they can be beautiful instead of being scared of them. One of the main components of camp that can either make or break a kid’s time there is their counselor/s. Here’s five tips for being a good camp counselor.
Leave the Baggage
Kids don’t want to hear about your problems. If there’s one thing that will kill their mood on a sunny day is your reminiscing about the time your ex took you on a picnic on a sunny day like this blah blah blah. Kids have their own issues, like being away from their parents and forced to sleep in tents. If you’re an unstable wreck it might be best if you stuck to staying at home.
Don’t Forget to Bring a Smile
While yes, you shouldn’t be too focused on yourself, it’s also important not to be a robot at the same time. Try to get to know the kids at the camp. Who knows, this may be the best part of their summer, so be sure you’re doing your best to be friendly at all times with them!
Keep the Rules in Mind
Camp rules are there for a reason, whether they be the buddy system or not being one-on-one with one of the kids. Just because one of your campers might be from the same street you live on, you need to make sure they understand that yes, you’re friends, but foremost you are the counselor. Too many problems come about from being unprofessional. It’s important to be friendly with them, just remember that there are some boundaries in place.
Teach Them Something
This almost seems like a no brainer. After all, quite a few camps that kids go to will attempt to teach them something. I say attempt, because more often than not the campers will be more interested in running around or playing capture the flag. If nothing else, teach them how to enjoy the outdoors in a new way, or show them that it can be fun lighting a fire without lighters!
It’s pretty much a guarantee that if you work at almost any sort of camp, you will be required to look silly at some point. I think the directors put that part down on the paper where you sign off that you accept liability and stuff… But anyways, if you can’t look silly to make some kids laugh, then why are you there?
Now keep in mind that these are merely guidelines, and every camp is different. To break the above down to a bite size portion I would say this – remember to keep the rules in place, but don’t forget to make the kids feel totally at home, and do your best to make them laugh!