Campfire Notes

The Importance Of Cabin Group Activities

The Importance Of Cabin Group Activities

By Alison “Bean” Moeschberger

 

The program at Gold Arrow has been designed to provide campers with a variety of experiences and opportunities while they are at camp.  Rather than focusing on skill progression in one area, we feel it is important for campers to be introduced to activities they may not have chosen to do on their own.  We strive to create a supportive and encouraging environment in which campers feel comfortable pushing their own boundaries and can learn about themselves as they conquer fears, face challenges, and live in community with others.

 

Cabin groups are scheduled to participate in activities together for two of the three activity periods each day.  During cabin activities, the Group Counselor plays a key role in fostering personal growth in campers.  These specialized Campers sail on a large Hobie Catamaran Sailboat at Gold Arrow Campcounselors attend activities with the cabin group and help campers set personal and group goals and hold the group accountable for reaching their goals and encouraging others.  Participating in activities as a cabin group allows campers to take risks and push themselves in a safe, supportive environment.  Through watching cabin mates overcome fears and accept new challenges, campers learn resilience and empathy.  Everyone’s role in the group is necessary, and the Group Counselor serves to build and enhance the supportive community so that the cabin group feels like a family.

A camper works on a ceramic wheel at a summer camp arts and crafts program

 

The third activity period of the day, called “Free Time,” gives campers an opportunity to sign up for activities as individuals.  Campers can try special activities that are only offered during this period or return to an activity they enjoyed with their cabin group.

You can find out more information on activities offered at Gold Arrow Camp here.

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The Greatest Internship

The Greatest Internship

A male camp counselor with his arm around a camper at Gold Arrow Camp

By Alison “Bean” Moeschberger

I still cringe every time I hear a counselor tell me that they’re not returning to camp next summer because they have to get an internship to prepare for their “real job.”  It stings because this is my real job, but, more than that, I believe wholeheartedly in the training and life preparation counselors experience while working at summer camp.  It would be easy to say that camp counseling is a good internship for people who want to work with children for their career, but the work experience camp counselors gain at camp translates to strong, employable skills that any company would be excited to see in their applicants.

6 Critical Skills Counselors Develop at Camp:

Summer Camp staff member at Gold Arrow Camp prepares a young girl to climb a cargo net

Responsibility

There is no greater responsibility than caring for other people’s children.  Camp counselors are responsible for the 24-hour care of a group of children.  They have a very significant presence on the camp’s organizational chart, and their work with campers is essential to camp’s operation.

4 Summer camp staff smile for the camera at Gold Arrow Camp

Teamwork

Camp provides a unique opportunity where counselors live, work, and play together.  The friendships they develop over the summer are some of the strongest and most long-lasting relationships.  Camp counselors learn to live in community with people who have very different personalities and life experiences.  They adapt and work well with a range of people.

Summer Camp staff member at Gold Arrow Camp in a tie dye shirt points at the sky while a young boy points along with him

Creativity & Problem Solving

Whether it’s altering the plan for the day because of weather or figuring out a more efficient way to move 10 children from one place to another, camp counselors are constantly provided with opportunities to solve problems and be creative.  They must be flexible and be able to think quickly when alternative solutions are required.

Campers are photographed from above sitting in a star shape

Communication Skills

Without the distraction of technology and social media, camp counselors strengthen their communication skills by engaging in face-to-face interaction with campers and fellow counselors.  They learn how to lead group discussions and practice conflict resolution almost daily.

A cabin of summer camp boys and their counselor stand a salute on a capsized Hobie catamaran at Gold Arrow Camp

Leadership

Children want and need positive role models in their lives.  Camp counselors are closer in age to campers than most of their adult role models at home, and the unique relationships they can form are hugely influential as campers navigate adolescence.  Counselors are forced to examine themselves and share important life lessons with their campers.  They need to remain appropriate in their language and appearance at all times, and living closely with children often causes counselors to see themselves from a different perspective.  It is a powerful experience to be a role model for a child.

Summer Camp counselor smiles at camera while hugging camper

Selflessness

The nature of the job as a camp counselor is humbling.  Camp counselors focus primarily on the safety and happiness of the campers in their care, at the expense of personal freedom and privacy.  Young adulthood can often be a very self-centered time.  People seek instant gratification and act more spontaneously.  The selflessness practiced at camp makes counselors happier and more fulfilled, and we often hear that counselors feel like the best version of themselves because of camp.

Internships are temporary positions that are designed to provide on-the-job training and work experience, and there is no better internship than becoming a camp counselor.

Sources:

http://www.acacamps.org/blog/counselors/10-reasons-why-businesses-should-hire-former-camp-counselors

http://www.acacamps.org/campmag/1405/camp-belongs-resume

http://college.usatoday.com/2011/07/27/opinion-skip-the-internship-go-to-camp/

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/25/the-internship-that-looks-good-vs-the-job-that-pays/

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/the-camp-counselor-vs-the-intern/?_r=0

 

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