Counselors are an integral part of the summer camp experience – they become camper’s friends, confidants, role models and mentors. As your Partners In Parenting, we view our camp family as an extension of yours – all working towards the common goal of teaching children the skills of making and keeping friends, while building their self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience. As part of a positive learning experience, our counselors provide a safe environment where children develop their social skills and good habits while still allowing them to be “kids.”
Recently, the New York Times “Adventures In Parenting” section printed 2 articles discussing the importance of summer camp counselors and how they influence the lives of so many children who attend summer camp. Michael Thompson’s article, “Why Camp Counselors Can Out-Parent Parents,” explained, “College-age students possess a completely different kind of authority than do parents, and they put it to good use getting children to set tables, make beds, keep track of their clothes, take showers, take turns and, more important, take risks and accept challenges that would melt parents into a puddle of anxious empathy… Children love to learn, but they get tired of being taught by adults. Children want to learn from older children, and, at a camp that means older campers, C.I.T.’s (counselors in training) and camp counselors. They want to live with them, emulate them, absorb them. In our age-segregated society, camp is the only place in America where an 11-year-old can get the sustained attention of a 19-year-old. In return for the attention of these “older children,” campers will make sacrifices. They will follow all kinds of rules and adhere to all kinds of rituals that they would likely fight at home.”
Meanwhile, “The Camp Counselor vs. The Intern” discusses Dan Fleshler’s coming to terms with his daughter’s desire to return to camp as a counselor, instead of taking a summer internship elsewhere. A USA Today Opinion column from last summer argued that a student can learn more managerial skills at summer camp than by doing coffee runs at an internship in the city. But it’s more than that – this counselor explained her motivation for returning to camp and why her role was so important to her campers, “ ’What I do there matters,’ …She talked about the many hours devoted to water-skiing lessons, about instilling the confidence needed by awkward, gawky, painfully self-conscious 8- and 9-year-olds to stay prone in the water, hold on to the rope, then rise up and stay on their feet as the boat pulled away. ‘What’s more important than that?’ ”
When you’re child’s Division Leader touches base at the beginning of the summer, make sure you let them know of any goals you have for your camper – anything from making it to the top of the climbing wall, improving soccer skills, learning how to play guitar, to overcoming homesickness and forming new friendships.
Our staff is here to help and make your child’s summer the best it can be. Our counselors are a major factor in why our campers return year after year. And in turn, many of our former campers become counselors so that they too can have the same impact on their campers that their counselors had on them. That’s the cycle of camp!