Whether or not this is your first year as a summer camp counselor, there is always a sense of uncertainty when beginning the summer; with a new set of campers, the whole experience can change immensely. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind before camp starts, so that your counseling experience is as easy as possible. Here are Best of NJ‘s Best Tips for Summer Camp Counselors:
Get Into a Routine
Before you begin your daily camp counselor position, start getting yourself into a routine throughout your week. This will help you maintain a particular routine during your counseling at camp. Routines are predictable, so in that sense, they provide security for most children and teens. They also help campers know what is expected of them. From a camp counselor’s perspective, they help plan ahead so that you’re never lost.
Simplify: Whether you’re dealing with young children, teens, or even adults, nobody likes complex, complicated directions or information overloads. Giving your campers too much information at once is confusing, and younger children often have shorter attention spans and get distracted easier. Breaking down your directions and information into short and concise steps will help them remember and complete the task at hand. If it seems like campers are still not paying attention to you, having them repeat your directions back to you can also help them remember.
Be Patient: Being patient isn’t easy, especially when children refuse to listen or follow directions. Though teaching yourself to be patient and easy-going is no easy task by any means, camp counselors, much like teachers, should work on their demeanor and attitude. Some counselors and teachers like to meditate before their shifts, putting themselves into a state of Zen and making it easier to deal with the handful of unruly children they are caring for each day. But one method that rarely fails is taking deep, slow breaths when you feel yourself beginning to lose your cool. Practicing this before the summer rolls around will make it easier once counseling begins.
Build Relationships: If you’re able to contact fellow counselors before camp officially begins, you should do so. It is important for counselors at the same camp to stick together. Working alone day after day will make you exhausted and sometimes cranky, so being friendly with other camp counselors can benefit everyone involved. Building relationships with other camp counselors before camp starts will improve your experience and your campers’ experiences early on.
Relax! Have fun! It’s summer! The whole point of camp is to provide children with a fun, safe, and educational environment among friends during their summer vacation. Kids want to have fun, so don’t stress yourself out. If this is your first time counseling, there will always be a ton of other seasoned camp counselors all over the place who will certainly be willing to help you out.
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