When you get to camp you mind find it a tad overwhelming to understand your place there and what everyone else does. So here’s a handy guide to check before you go…
This person usually owns the place. Everything they do is for the good of camp and they’ve probably got years and years of experience. What they don’t know about running a camp isn’t worth knowing. They’ll be heavily involved in running camp and know all the kids and counselors, even if you think they don’t. You’ll probably find them to be stern but fair. The Camp Director is one magical person.
He/she is often someone with many years of experience at camp and may also own the facility. The Camp Director has the ultimate responsibility for running the camp and will deal with all major issues.
Typically he/she is the person that organises and oversees all the activities at camp. They schedule the campers into their selected activities and provide guidance to the activity specialists. In many cases they do not have direct responsibilities to the children, but act as a stepping-stone to the Camp Director if there is a problem with a camper.
Head Counselor/Division Head/Unit Leader
Most camps are divided into groups based on age and gender. For each group there will be a head counselor, division head or unit leader who is responsible for the counseling staff and all the children in that group. These leaders have often been counselors at camp themselves for many years and as such will understand the day-to-day needs of the campers. Their role is to co-ordinate all programs in their division or unit and they are often the first place you can seek help if there is a problem.
You will be responsible for a group of children. You will sleep in the same cabin or building as them, eat with them and take the campers to their different activities throughout the day, where the specialist counselors will take over. During activity time you will participate and assist in the various parts of the program that require your help. You will look after the camper’s general well being, offer advice and guidance where appropriate and be a positive role model.
Specialist Counselor/Activity Leader
You will be responsible for teaching an activity(s) in which you are skilled or qualified. You may be asked to teach any one of the skills that you listed on your application form, so it helps if you can be adaptable. Your main role will be to run or assist in running your activity area during the day. Outside of activity time, you will help the general counselors to look after the campers in the cabin area, Some camps do not put specialist counselors in cabins or bunks with campers, however each camp is unique, so it is important that you are flexible.
You will be assigned to work in one of the areas at camp such as the kitchen, maintenance, housekeeping, laundry or the office to ensure that everyone has the equipment, facilities and food they need to keep camp running! If you have experience in one of these areas, it will be beneficial, but it is not a requirement at most camps. Support staff do not have any direct responsibility for campers, however many camps encourage their support staff to get involved in all-camp activities during their break or free time. (*To work as support staff you must be a full-time student in continuing education on your summer break).