"Working at summer camp" by Keely Raynor
By Camp America on 23/09/2016
So this blog post is going to be all about when camp actually started, I was fresh from my two weeks of official Salvation Army summer camp training and I was so excited to start working, however, also quite nervous at the same time too...
Anyway, to explain the process before any camp started we would have a meeting on the morning of it, it included a briefing so we could find out what would be going on during the week me, and then we would do our daily devotions and worshipping. The counsellors would also get their list of children that they would be looking after that week, and me and my counsellor got a list of the 12 children the we would be having in our cabin that week they were 11 year olds. They came from all around Illinois, and it was noted that a couple of them had behavioural issues but that was expected as we were working at an underprivileged camp. Then it was time to go and wait at the cabin for the kids to arrive, it was daunting at first because I had never worked with that age group before but I remembered how I was at that age and then the whole thing seemed a lot easier.
After a few hours I knew all my campers, and we got along pretty well. Of course (and you'll know this if you have ever been a camp counsellor before) there were issues with sleeping at bedtime, meaning the kids didn't really want to go to sleep and also a couple of them suffered from homesickness which meant lots of crying but using patience and intuition me and my co-counsellor were able to deal with it. Then in the morning the kids woke up at 5am, however, they were being quiet and colouring using their torches, and then we realised they were drawing pictures for us about how much fun they were having at camp already so it's not like we could be mad at them for waking us up so early.
We woke the rest of the children up at 7am, we got up ourselves a little earlier to shower and get dressed. That was the good thing about younger children they were really easy to wake up- we would put music on and in around 5 minutes they would all be out of bed. Then the day would begin with breakfast at 8am, then cabin clean-up, then chapel time, and then the children would go off to do a number of elective classes in which us as counsellors would get as time off, and then the children would go to free time where they get to do whatever activity they wanted, and also do lots of socialising together, and of course us counsellors would be present as well to make sure that they were safe and having fun. Lunch would be at midday, and then after lunch we would have a 30 minute chill time where we recommended that the children napped as the day was still young, and then the children would go off to do more free time activities. Then dinner was at 5pm, afterwards we would do a team building activity, then we would do the evening program, which usually consisted of a religious activity first, such as, a scavenger hunt where the key resource was the bible or listening to a preacher preach, and then we would do a united activity (which were the kids favourite) after that which could range from a campfire or a talent show, to a water carnival, which revolves around playing loads of water games, for example- tug of war over the pool or a massive water balloon fight with the whole camp. Then lights around was around 9.30pm, however, it was quite a bit later if we had older campers or on the contrary earlier than that if we had younger campers.
Anyway, that's how the rest of the week carried on (and it was also a similar schedule like that for most weeks) and it was amazing just being able to work with the children and other staff members, making memories for everybody and getting to share that special camp experience with each other. I would do anything to go back in time to summer camp, I know for sure that it will be the best job that I ever do!