Summer has ended and school has once again begun. Now a junior, I realize how fast time is flying by and how lucky I have been. Like others I spent most of my summer working and being at "the office". The only difference is that my office consisted of a media center with bright pictures, games everywhere, and 60 middle school kids running around like crazy. These kids were the highlight of my summer and being a camp counselor is the best summer job around. Here are some of the reasons why being a camp counselor will leave an impact on you forever.
1. You create an impact on your kids.
When you leave work day after day, you can't help but leave with a smile on your face. When you get home you reminisce about the laughs you shared that day, or of the random story that one of your campers had to tell you. Many of the kids at camp are only children, so as counselors we act almost as older siblings who help kids forget about everything else going on in their lives. For a certain part of the day, we get to make their life as fun as possible and help teach them that life is all about being who they are and making the most out of everything.
2. Your kids make an impact on you.
Seeing these kids every day, you start to build relationships with each and every individual. You learn their favorite activities, as well as their least favorite. You're constantly told stories about what they did yesterday or some time ago. As much as us counselors like to think we teach them, they teach us so much more. They teach us how to laugh and be young again. They remind us that life is simple and for a short amount of time, nothing else matters.
3. No day is ever the same as the last
As a counselor you learn to think on your feet and improvise at a moments notice. We learn to listen and have more patience than ever before. We also learn to laugh at the small things and assist when ever needed. Some day you might be playing a simple game of tag, while the next day your kids are splashing around in the river. No day is ever the same which makes Summer much more enjoyable.
4. You get to be outside every day.
Of course weather permitting, but summer is about spending time outside, enjoying the sun, running around, spending days at the pool and being away from technology. By creating a technology free environment, we remind kids that playing a giant game of wiffle ball, having a color run, or creating a giant slip 'n' slide, is just as fun as playing video games.
5. Nap time is sacred.
Everyday you go into the office, you have to have an uncanny amount of energy from start to finish. There are times where energy seems to dwindle, and the extra glass of coffee is the key to rebooting again. Every so often, there will be a moment of downtime, where a quick power nap can recharge the batteries for the rest of day. So when you have the time, you take it.
6. Counselor Kill Day
Something that we did this year that all kids enjoy was what we called "counselor kill day". Every week we divided our camp into teams and would compete all week in numerous games and activities to earn points. At the end of the week the winning team would then choose a counselor to "kill" and then would turn that counselor into some sort of creation. The kids absolutely loved it, and it was something every looked forward to. Some creations were, human nacho, pizza, ice cream sundae, yogurt parfait and many more.
7. Become a Kid Again
While most jobs require you to be professional, wear a suit & tie, and deal with adults all day, camp counselors get the opportunity to be kids again. Everyday consists of laughter, games and being goofy all over again. There is still a level of professionalism that we keep to provide structure and safety, but the kids favorite thing is us playing a game with them, especially when they beat us. That usually ends in the biggest smile you will ever see.
8. Your staff becomes your second family.
No matter how different you are, your co-counselors become your lifelines. When you spend five days a week with your co-counselors, you learn each others likes and dislikes, their quirks and ticks. I was truly blessed with a staff this summer I am able to call my family. Coming to work to see them made it just as fun as seeing our kids. Our relationships also helped us provide a more comfortable environment for our kids. From mini staff games, to constant laughter, I have never enjoyed work more than I did this summer. I will miss our beach volleyball games, family dinners and most importantly our camp group message. I was truly blessed with the best staff around.
Being a camp counselor definitely takes sacrifice and an unbelievable amount of commitment. It is not the most glamorous or highest earning job you will ever have. However there is nothing more rewarding, than watching a young child grow up under your eyes, and seeing the smile on their face at the end of the day. That is truly what makes being a camp counselor, the best job you will ever have.
If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to search your own community for counseling positions and apply. You will never regret it.
- Kyle Bell