Our first-ever group of Junior Counselors (JCs) is completing their final week of their month here with us at GAC. They have been a tremendously positive influence on the camp community, and we are going to miss them when they leave us on Saturday. We are thrilled with the new four- week Junior Counselor program, which replaced the two-week CIT (Counselor in Training) program of previous years.
Our Junior Counselors are being led this summer by enthusiastic, long-time GAC staffers, Dazzler and Cappy. Dazzler, who is joining GAC for his fourth summer says about working at GAC, “I relish living within such a supportive community, building REALationships with old and new friends, and sharing new experiences with like-minded people. I think it is very rare to have such a fun group of like-minded, young people together in a special setting with the single goal to help others have the best summer of their lives.
Cappy, who is celebrating her fifth summer at GAC and who works for camp year-round hiring our summer staff, says, “GAC is constantly refining me to be my best self. GAC empowers campers and staff to unplug, enjoy time in the outdoors, create connections, and lean into challenges that create life-changing experiences. Campers and counselors leave more confident, self aware, and open to others, which allows them to create positive social change in home communities. Walking alongside campers for two weeks is such a fun adventure, and every summer I have fun, make friends, and grow!”
For the first two weeks of the program, JCs participated in many of the trainings we do with our counselors before camp begins, including sessions on communicating with children, using positive group management, and keeping campers safe. JCs also went on a backpacking trip where they learned Wilderness First Aid skills and gained their certification (“WFA”). They also became certified lifeguards, did community service work at Shaver Lake, and decorated and led events including Big Campfire, the carnival, the dance, and the banquet.
At the conclusion of Session 1, we recognized the JCs for all of their hard work earning certifications and learning the skills they need to be successful counselors. At Appreciation Campfire, the JCs were given their official JC shirts (a light green polo shirt) and name badges with their new camp nicknames!
As Session 2 began, our JCs moved into tents with our younger campers and jumped headfirst into providing additional leadership, supervision, and assistance for the counseling staff in their cabins. From the campers’ perspective, our JCs seem like another counselor, as they have the skills, personalities, and camp experience to help provide great experiences for our campers. From our perspective, we know that we have some well-trained future camp counselors who will be joining our staff full time in two or three years (JCs are going into 11th or 12th grade and will be eligible to apply for counseling positions after their freshman year of college).
We look forward to welcoming our next group of Junior Counselors on Sunday!
Here are some pictures of our Junior Counselors in action: