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What makes a great summer camp counselor?

Date: Tuesday, 05 January 2016. -  
In the Press, Staff News

Each summer 1000's of young adults apply to work as summer camp counselors. So how does a Camp Director pick the best?

At our summer camp in MA, I look for people who will be both great instructors AND caring cabin counselors. Then I inquire about their experience in their specialty area. Have they taught children before? Are they doing this activity now or was it a hobby when they were younger? To work at Camp Emerson, a counselor would have to convince me that they could have an impact on the campers and that they are passionate about their activity. It is this enthusiasm that will rub off on the campers and show in their classes every day.

But there is an "X" factor that must be met too. What will the kids think? Is this someone who will hang out with them in the bunk? Will he read stories or tell of his own experiences as a child? Is she there for the fun or truly to work with children? I like to hear about their families and memories as a child. I look for staff who could have been great campers at my camp because I know they will fit with our kids. When you have campers who are bright, perceptive and creative, they deserve summer camp staff who will interact with them on their level and inspire them. This is a tall order but, we have found, not hard to produce.

You can observe great camp counselors walking with the kids, joining in the fun and encouraging participation by showing the fun they are having. These are the people who are prepared for their classes and welcome each child every day by name. Kids talk about the great ones way after the summer - people who took the time to listen to them and help them be their best. This is what we all wish for in our teachers and mentors. Camp counselors have a tremendous opportunity to influence the campers they work with and, if they do, the rewards are never ending.

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Emersonians have come from 39 different countries