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.
The Grilled Cheese Gazette features blog posts from Swift staff, volunteers, and community members! Contact Us if you're interested in contributing to our blog!