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5 Tips for First Time Counselors

Congratulations, you got the job of your dreams and you are set to spend your summer months blissfully working at summer camp. But for now, with a few months until camp officially kicks off you might find yourself wondering what camp will be like and you might even start to feel some pre-camp jitters coming on. It’s time to calm your nerves, we’ve got some expert advice to ensure that your very first summer working at camp gets off without a hitch.  Read on for five useful tips for making your summer as a camp counselor a true success.  

1. Take advantage of the opportunity

Your first summer at camp (and every summer at camp for that matter) is a great chance to broaden your horizons and get some new skills under your belt.  Many camps offer a variety of trainings to prepare you for working at camp.  Take advantage of these offerings. Oftentimes, camps will make available trainings that could benefit you at camp and beyond.  So, dive right into that lifeguard certification class, add some first aid skills to your resume, or take on the ropes course training; doing so will give you more opportunities at camp and might just give you a new hobby to explore.  

2. Get in the loop

Get onto your various social media accounts and give your new place of employment a like or a follow so you can stay up to date on news and announcements that your camp might be sending out.  Additionally, many camps have Facebook groups for their staff where you can start getting to know your new co-workers before you even step foot on camp property. It is always reassuring to make a few friends before shipping off to camp, and thanks to our technologically advanced world, connecting with others who are near and far is easy as a click. These groups are also a great place to get some of your camp questions answered by seasoned veterans who have plenty of camp knowledge to share.  

3. Pack like a pro

Along with the excitement of heading off to camp comes the biggest question for many new camp counselors: what should I pack?  Since packing suggestions vary from camp to camp based on climate and the range of activities offered at your specific camp, check your camp’s website or ask other employees for a packing list (many camps have a list that they send out to campers that can act as a good guideline for counselors as well). Remember that you will likely be moving bunks several times throughout the summer, as well as sharing very limited closet space with your campers and co-counselors, so pack strategically.  Try to pack into large duffels, suitcases, or trunks that will be easy to transport and could fit under a bed.  Don’t pack anything that you are unwilling to get a little dirty or that is tricky to launder- trust us, you won’t want to spend your free time hand washing your delicates while at camp.  

4. Rest up and relax

As soon as you arrive at camp, you will inevitably hit the ground running and probably won’t get a chance to take a break until camp is disappearing in your rearview mirror at the end of the summer.  Camp moves at an incredibly fast pace, which can be exhausting if you aren’t prepared.  Before heading off to camp, be sure to get in all of rest and relaxation that you’ll need to make it through the summer. Take some time to unwind and decompress from your likely busy work or school life outside of camp, you’ll want to start the summer off feeling as confident and relaxed as possible.  

5. Be yourself

Out of the pile of resumes, yours was the one selected and through the countless rounds of interviews, you are the one who was selected to be a counselor this summer.  You might not know exactly why you were hired, but it’s clear that you bring something outstanding to the table.  Camp is full of lots of personalities, and at times you might feel like you aren’t as outgoing or as creative as those around you, but rest assured that you are exactly who camp needs. There are campers out there who are wishing for a loud, outgoing counselor, but there are also campers who are dreaming of a quiet and calm counselor, so be your true self. Be confident in your personality and your abilities. You might start the summer off as the least experienced counselor, but that doesn’t mean you have the least talent, so don’t be afraid to shine! Feeling nervous about your upcoming job is normal but remember that you aren’t alone. Hundreds of other future counselors are out there feeling just as excited and unsure as you. Being hired as a camp counselor is a huge accomplishment and is the start to a summer like no other.  So get ready and let your excitement build because this summer is about to be the best one yet!