Top camp blogger Tom Wright has got the following tips for us…
Camp is fun, but it’s not just that. It’s an opportunity for campers to grow up emotionally and socially. For the camp counselor it’s an opportunity to increase their skill set and learn how to better help campers.
In dealing with campers there are some pointers that every camp counselor should keep in mind. Whether your camp is in the outskirts of the USA or you’ve gone to an immersion camp in Spain and are awaiting it to start in one of the hotels Alicante has to offer, these are some great tips to follow.
Connect campers on an individual level
Take some time out to get to know each of your campers on a personal level. They’ll acknowledge that you take an interest in them and therefore connect with you which will make it easier for you to guide and lead them.
Routines provide us with a sense of security because they allow us to map out and predict our day. Routines will also help camp counselors as they help in planning ahead and incorporate self-discipline and consistency in interactions with campers.
Keep your instructions simple
If you give out too many instructions at once your campers will get confused and may achieve a lot less then they can. This especially applies to young children who often have shorter attention spans. To avoid this firstly give simple instructions. Second, ask for your instruction to be repeated to know for sure that the instructions have been understood. Take feedback of the task and praise the camper on successful completion.
Get close to the campers to bond
If you want to bond with the campers first you should take an interest in them. This will help you in better leading them and directing them. If a camper is doing something other than the task assigned to him/her like listening to an iPod, take a moment to take an interest in the music. Then with tact coax the camper away from the distraction and onto to the task assigned.
Don’t give instructions in “negative”
When you instruct a camper “Don’t run near the pool” what their brain hears is “run”. So a more effective way of telling a camper would be to “walk when near the pool”. Structure your instructions as positives as this will result in campers following instructions a lot more readily.
Drop sarcasm at camp
Sarcasm should not be used at camp. Sarcasm may have been intended to deliver some light humour but the humour part is often lost on young children. They will repeat your sarcasm, but not with humour, instead with hostility. This is something that is not to be encouraged at a camp.
Teach campers to share and have gratitude
Schools have become very competitive and therefore more attention is paid on academic skills instead of social skills. Therefore you may need to teach your campers how to share or have a sense of gratitude. Teaching campers to share and show more gratitude will help them in working together better with their cabin or group mates.