Being an overnight camp counselor this past summer was the most rewarding and challenging experience of my life. The biggest tip I can give to an incoming first year junior counselor is to start every day with a clean slate; as if the past was erased. If you hold onto the mistakes your campers make, you will always be disappointed. All children misbehave at some point or another, they are only human. So, it’s important to forgive and forget. These kids consider you to be a god. They will remember everything you do and, more importantly, every single word that comes out of your mouth.
The worst feeling is when your camper thinks you don’t love them. But, it’s important to remember that if you say the wrong thing, or make the wrong decision it’s not the end of the world. You can fix it. When you start to notice a camper’s growth you will feel incredible. This is the unspoken confirmation that you are doing a good job. Having a total of twenty campers this summer, our cabin got heated sometimes. At the end of the day, seeing my campers pick each other up was why being a counselor was so special. One minute your campers will be arguing and the next minute they will be hysterically laughing together.
Witnessing kids from across the country playing absurd games together is life-altering. All campers come to camp for the same reason: to have fun. Nothing feels better than going to sleep knowing that something you did made one of your camper’s days. Even if I wasn’t paid a cent, I would do it all again. Seeing a smile on your camper’s face is enough incentive.