Why somebody decides to become a group leader in a summer teen camp?
The cliché certainly is true – teamwork, fellowship, helping others… all of this is certain of course but young people choose to join summer teen camps during their holidays to work as group leaders for other reasons, too.
In first place it is quite eye-opening to understand how hard – and important – the job of a camp counselor is.
Camp counselors have to listen carefully to each camp member and try to balance competing interests. Such as when 10 different kids want to do 10 different things at the same time. Or when they’re playing a game and they can’t agree on the rules. Or when the kids in one group are at different developmental stages and have trouble finding common ground. These situations come up pretty much everyday, and a good counselor should know how to listen respectfully to everyone’s point of view and find an acceptable and respectful compromise.
Maintaining order and discipline without slipping into authoritarianism is a fine line to have to walk.
But most important of all, a camp counselor is an optimist who spreads positive energy. They work long hours and their work is not over when the kids go to sleep. There is night duty, there are staff meetings, and sometimes a sick child to attend to in the middle of the night- all this they must do with a smile. Camp counselors learn to keep their positive energy levels up 24/7. Working long hours with little time off and being constantly attentive to camp participants demands is business as usual for a counselor.
Coming back to our initial question- why somebody would choose to work in a summer camp with teenagers. Camp teaches a lot of little things, helps develop values and knowledge, and teaches us about life and living together. It is a tremendous and unforgettable experience and also teaches the lesson that living in the now is more important than thinking too much about the future…. and what else is more gratifying than seeing so many smiles, hearing kids running around, shouting happily and enjoying their holidays to the max, all thanks to the counselors making sure that they are happy and safe.