Loving your camp tips Mel!
I can’t say I was the best camp counselor because that would make me sound cocky but I definitely reckon I was top 5 (possibly number 5). Camp was awesome and if you can get the kids on your side from day one then it makes your job at lot easier and a lot more fun. I’m lucky because I’ve always got on well with kids and all the way through summer camp all the ones I met were pretty amazing.
Be an oracle of camp knowledge
If you want to be the best camp counselor you have to know everything all the time, like some sort of information centre. If you always know the answers to everything all the kids will ask you over everyone else, then they’ll love you the most. At home I’m the least likely person to know what is going on at any given time but it’s definitely something you can blag at camp. I’m rubbish at being organised but all you need to do is keep your timetable on you, then you’re sorted. And keep up to date with your Biebers and Kardashians. If you don’t know the answer make it up and make it sound like you know what you’re talking about anyway. It’s all about the tone of voice you reply with.
Learn their names!
Sounds simple, but for the kids to like you they need to feel like you know them. To be the best camp counselor, learn names… fast. I’m not very good at this either so actually I just made up nicknames for them all and they didn’t realise it was because I didn’t know their real names. They loved it. Obviously I could remember my little group of campers but I gave them nicknames anyway. It goes a little like this…
‘Alright camper what’s your name?’
‘What’s your favourite chocolate bar Matthew?’
‘Ummmmm a Twix’
‘Cool, I’m gonna call you Twix. Twix I need you to take this envelope over to that cabin’
They remember you for it and it’s actually a good way to learn a little about them. I think the kids liked me becaue I really chatted to them. I just talked to them like I would talk to a mate, then they feel like an equal and open up to you.
Be cool (and bribe)
To be the best camp counselor, well in the eyes of the kids anyway, you want to be known as the cool one. Give them little treats, like an extra 10 minutes of torch time at night so they can read longer in bed, an extra 5 minutes lie in in the morning, but only if they deserve it, obviously. I always used to carry some sweets too. I didn’t give them out all the time, I’m not that generous, but if a kid is sad or you need a good bribe tactic they’re useful. It goes like this…
‘Twix run to the lake and tell they need to come up here now’
‘I don’t want to run to the lake!!’
‘Twix I’m gonna level with you. If you can get there and back in 10 minutes I’ll give you 5 Skittles. If you do it in 8 minutes I’ll throw in a Twizzler but don’t tell anyone else, deal?’
…and it’s as easy as that. I’m not sure it was technically allowed but just keep it on the down low. I also got such little sleep I needed sweets to survive. A good sugar hit will get you through the day no problems. Especially needed at 6.30am when you have to get up in the cold to raise the flag. To early to eat sweets you cry?! You’ll learn.
Always have a good time
The last thing I’ll say about being the best camp counselor is to make sure you’re having a good time. If you’re in a great mood (buzzing off sugar) then you’re going to be the most fun one around and that’s what the kids want. So on your days and evenings off, go crazy, drink as much beer as you want, chat up the other counselors, just have as much fun as you can. Keep hold of that high and the kids will love you.
I hope everyone has as much fun as I did!