Before the campers arrive, you will have had at least a week of training. Orientation at camp is AMAZING. With the amount of games that you will play, there will be times where training will seem like summer camp for adults. Remember these games. At the time they may seem a bit daft, but they’ll be great to use when your campers arrive.
Aside from the games, don’t forget that you are being trained for your job during orientation at camp. It’s important to listen to everything so that you don’t find yourself in a situation where you think ‘If only I’d listened to my director rather than eyeing up the girl from the waterfront.’
As well as listening to your director, it’s good to get to know the returning counselors, especially the ones in your cabin. These people have worked at camp before so be sure to ask them what you can expect when the campers arrive. They will undoubtedly have some tips and tricks of how to look after the campers and will be able to let you know if there are any campers in your cabin who you should be keeping an eye on.
Bag yourself a good bed!
While you’re preparing your cabin for the camper’s arrival, it’s important to take some time to set up your own area with pictures and cards from home. However, if your friends have written things like ‘DON’T TOUCH THE KIDS LOL’ in a card, you might want to keep it in your bag.
You won’t get a lot of personal space or time to yourself during camp, but it’s good to have somewhere that feels like it belongs to you. If possible, try to get a top bunk. Not only will you be able to see the whole cabin from your bed, you’ll also get a bit more room to put your belongings and you’ll get a little more privacy. Having a top bunk may seem fairly minor and trivial, but you’ll come to appreciate it with all of the energy-sapping activities that you’ll be getting involved in!
Get stuck into orientation
In my first week of camp I’d been covered in mud and leaves from head-to-toe for a Counselor Hunt. I’d also been dressed up as a girl with water balloons for breasts as part of a ‘beauty’ pageant. It’s easy to opt out of these activities, but if you do, you’ll be missing the point of camp! The more that you get involved with the activities, the more you will get out of camp and the more your campers will love you! During your Orientation at camp you’ll get the chance to play a bunch of games. Join in as much as possible so that you’re armed with a bunch of simple but fun games to play with your campers.
During Orientation, you’ll get to know the layout of your camp. Make sure that you know your way around camp before your campers arrive so that you’re not leading them to horse riding if you’ve got arts & crafts. That would just confuse your campers. You don’t want them thinking that a horse is going to be taking them for arts & crafts over the summer.
When you arrive, your camp will have its own ways of training you, so make sure you listen and participate as much as possible. Focus on being the person who wrote ‘I love working with children’ on their application form. If you truly do love working with children, you’ll love working as a camp counselor.