So you've just been hired to work in a summer camp and you can't wait to get started. Here's what you should know to have a great summer.
- Your job starts before you arrive. Know your job, prepare well, get some rest and most of all, know how to get there!
- Your campers will want to do almost everything you do. They get influenced very easily, especially at younger ages. Jump out the window, and they will follow. Finish your meal, and they will finish theirs. Watch out for body language.
- Ask not what your camp can do for your campers, ask what you can do for them.
- Some say politics and camp doesn't mix. Try not to discuss these things in detail. A bit of joking about your country might be ok, but don't go any further. It can cost you your reputation or more. Even a very political person can forget about all that stuff for a summer and enjoy camp even better.
- Whatever you do, DON'T GET FIRED! It never happened to anyone I knew or worked with, but it's not the same as getting fired from your fast food restaurant part-time job. It's bad for you, the staff, and especially the campers. Know your rules carefully and take your job seriously.
- Have fun. the more you have fun, the more the kids will have fun.
- Sleep in! Every occasion you have to sleep early or wake up late in weekends off for example should be used. You really need your rest, especially after 5 or 6 weeks.
- Never make assumptions. 8 year olds don't necessarily know that they should use soap, and your fourth week or fourth session campers need to be reminded of the routine all over again, cause they weren't there in the first week.
- Establish expectations on the first night. Failure to do so will often result in your campers breaking the rules for the rest of the session.
- Show lots of camp spirit. The more enthusiastic you are, the more fun it is for everyone
Here are a few quotes to make your job seem more worthwhile.
- "Children are the world's most valuable resource. They're the only hope for the future."
- "Firefighters save lives, cops prevent crime, doctors heal the sick, but it's camp counselors that are the real heroes."
- The American Camp Association accredits camps which adhere to a set of national standards.
- The Canadian Camping Association is an association of camps across Canada. Accreditation of camps in Canada happens at the provincial level.
- The Christian Camp and Conference Association connects Christian camping professionals and associations around the world.
- The Ontario Camping Association accredits camps in Ontario, Canada
- The Quebec Camping Association accredits camps in Quebec, Canada
- The International Camping Fellowship connects camping professionals and associations around the world.