Lance Ozier, EdD
originally published on ACAcamps.org
What do campers need from the counselors who work with them? They need caring relationships with adults they can trust. They need clear limits, high expectations, and healthy challenges. Campers need to be accepted for who they are. They need counselors to support them in taking positive risks and avoiding negative ones. In short, they need you to be the very best you can be.
For the last 20 years, most of what I’ve learned about teaching and being a camp counselor is an art: trusting your gut, having good instincts, laughing, and having fun. Yet there is a science behind what we do: interacting positively with participants, individually and in groups; and using strength-based approaches, respectful communication, and affirmative techniques, such as developing trust, listening, and engaging with participants. This is the “stuff” of which high-quality counselors are made.
Research suggests that the quality of programs is related to positive youth outcomes, and skilled staff are a critical component of high-quality programming (Vance, 2010). Unpacked and translated into accessible language, here are some important, research-based competencies for working with youth that will help ensure you have the necessary skills to be successful this summer.
This week was jam packed with fun activities that taught team building, creativity, how to set attainable goals, the importance of taking the steps to help us attain our goals in life, like attending college, and more. Even though the campers are leaving camp today, each one will take away valuable lessons and friendships. In college, students must make important decisions, test their skills and creativity, solve challenges, and even work together to learn and gain a degree to help them pursue their dreams. The campers did just this through programs at Swift University, and their hard work paid off at the Swift Graduation ceremony during the final dinner. Today, the campers were surveyed to test how well Camp Swift achieved the goals we set through programs and we will use the data to plan programs. The outcome of the survey will be published in the fall.
Campers are coming home with more than they came with- not only with new memories and lessons learned, but also with picture frames they decorated containing their very own cabin picture, a nutritious sack lunch, and a Camp Swift t-shirt.
Click here to see the full Session 1 Photo gallery.
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