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Open Letters: Letter 5

30.03.20

Dear future camp counselor, 

Are you ready for the most amazing experience ever? At camp, you're going to meet all kinds of different people, counselors and campers alike, make life long friends and ultimately have an incredible summer! Right now, there are tons of campers of all ages (including myself) who just can't wait to get to camp and begin the fun. We have been waiting to get to camp, all year. We are ready to explore new things, make new friends and above all, have a great time. 

Every camper goes through the experience of going to camp for the first time, mine was a good few years ago now but I still remember it clearly. Going to camp (for however long the period is) means being away from family and all our home comforts. For some, it’s a breeze and they settle in no time, whilst for others it can be a harder transition. Either way, we turn to you for everything; support, guidance, comfort, fun, and love - you name it, you’re responsible now!

Whether it’s our first summer, or our 8th, us campers are going to need a great role model to support us in our adventures, and that's where you come in! You'll be spending pretty much every minute with us from the moment we arrive, to the moment we leave. You’ll be there to help us make friends (while being our friend), encourage us to try new things, cheer us on in our favorite activities, make us laugh if we start to get sad and continue to teach us all important life lessons. Some of us will be trickier than others, and we each have our own little quirks; we may not warm to you immediately, we may need you to repeat things multiple times, we may take a while to get to sleep (and to wake up in the morning) and we may drive you insane at times, but at the same time, we are the reason you are here. We’ll make you laugh, we’ll inspire you, we’ll bring out your confidence, your leadership and your maturity (as well as your silliness) and we’ll make you want to come back to camp, again and again. You wait till one of us asks you the question “will you be my counsellor again next year?”…you can’t say no to that!

As a counselor, you’re a big influencer in the decision of whether we return to camp (like I have for many years). By being yourself, being real and taking the time to get to know us on an individual basis, you teach us that to be at camp is to be a part of something, where life is slowed, everything makes sense, worries disappear and we feel part of a community in which everyone is themselves in a supportive environment.

This may all sound a little overwhelming now but don't worry, when the last day of camp rolls around, you'll be asking yourself where the time went.

Yes, we come to camp to have fun (and boy do we do that), but camp teaches us things just as much as school does…if not more. It’s hard to put into words all the things i’ve learnt and all the things I’ve tried at camp and it wouldn’t be possible without you, the camp counselor. Not only do you help teach me how to shoot a bullseye in archery, or conquer my fears on the zip line - it’s whilst conquering such activities, you teach me to be the best version of myself, you inspire me to say yes to new adventures, and you allow me to live young, wild and free!

I'll let you in on a little secret, us campers always have the most fun with the international counsellors! We like asking lots and lots and lots of questions about what your home is like and we always love to hear your awesome accents - you’re automatically a favourite in our books. It’s hard when you don’t know when you’ll see your camp counselor again, if ever, so if we ever write you a letter after our time at camp, please do your best to write back because I can promise you, that letter will mean to the world to us. The same goes for all the camp keepsakes. Prepare to make tons of friendship bracelets, be in lots of photos and write lots of camper awards because trust me, campers love them and to this day, I still have and cherish the friendship bracelet my counselor made for me during my first session at camp 4+ years ago!

All in all, you may not realise the impact you have on us right away, but trust me. It's there. Those friendship bracelets we wear on our wrists for years to come, those photos hanging on our walls and the daily conversations about camp are all there for a reason, and that’s because of people like you. People who are about to take time out of their summer to be a role model in our lives and leave such a positive imprint on our hearts.

Thanks in advance for everything you’re about to do,

Miranda (A Veteran camper)