camp counselor

How to Be a Successful Summer Camp Counselor

Camp Cody Team 10/09/2020

Summer camp counselors are one of the best jobs available especially if you love kids and the outdoors. This particular job feels more like a vacation as camp counselors get to teach the things they love, watch campers flourish and spend an entire summer embracing nature.  Along with this, camp counselors get to shape kid’s lives which is an extremely rewarding feeling. To be a truly great camp counselor there are certain skills you’ll need in order to make a significant impact and spread positivity. If you want to be the best camp counselor, read on for some helpful tips.

Create a Close Connection with Your Campers

Since campers will only be at camp for a few weeks you’ll want to get to know to campers immediately and start forming bonds. While two or even four weeks might seem like a long time, you’ll be surprised how quickly camp goes by. On the first day of summer camp, be sure to interact with the campers in your bunk. Set up ice breakers and games so kids feel comfortable with you and their peers. When you meet the campers, repeat their names so you remember them. You don’t want the kids to feel like they’re just a number at camp. In fact, try to remember all campers names within the first hour of meeting them.

an instructor and a young boy

Seek out campers during meal time and have a quick chat. If you notice kids sitting by themselves, take some time to ask them about themselves and stay upbeat so they can see just how exciting summer camp is. Find out their interests and hobbies so you can start another conversation with them later.

Set Boundaries

While you want to be the fun camp counselor that kids can turn to for anything, you’ll also want to establish some ground rules on the first day. Recite all the rules to the campers whether that’s no electronics, lights off at a certain time, no cursing, or making their beds. Kids should know what behavior is expected of them so they don’t get in trouble later on. Make sure that kids know these rules are for their own safety and they aren’t there to take away the fun.

Behave How You Want Campers to Behave

boys and a coach kneeling on a basketball court

Camp counselors are role models and you will learn this very quickly when you see campers mimicking your behavior. If you don’t want kids screaming, swearing or running through the bunk, make sure you’re behaving the same way. The last thing you want is to come off like a hypocrite.  No phone policy? Don’t let campers see you on your phone either. Campers will play by the rules once they see you playing by the rules. Speak calmly and rationally to children without raising your voice and try to solve all dilemmas responsibly. This sets the tone for the remainder of camp.

Socialize with Other Camp Counselors

Socializing with other camp counselors is integral to your success. Not only will you feel more comfortable at summer camp because you’ve made friends but you’ll have people you can rely on in difficult situations. Perhaps you’re having trouble with a camper or you’re not sure how to teach campers a certain activity, you can lean on the support of your fellow camp counselors. Some counselors have different interpersonal styles which means they can help engage with difficult campers in a different way.

Join the Camp Cody Family

At Camp Cody, we provide much more than a summer job and a paycheck. We’re a family and our counselors come back year after year. Staff members are constantly teaching each other new skills and they even visit one another once summer ends. Counselors at Camp Cody work collaboratively to create a tranquil, no-clique atmosphere where kids are encouraged to be themselves.

Are you ready to join the Camp Cody family? See what positions are available!


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