This summer at Dream Oaks Camp we’ve been focused on the camp surveys to find out from parents what camp means to them and their kids. So often, we find ourselves talking about the campers and the amazing human gain that is achieved by participating in our program but I’d like to take a moment to brag about our staff.
Honestly, the number one answer, far and above any activity or experience, was that kids love camp because of their counselors and counselors in training (CITs). They are drawn to summer camp because of the things they can do and the fun they can have, but when all is said and done, what they remember and treasure the most are the counselors/CITs.
It does place a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of a counselor/CITs. However, it also offers an opportunity that they will find almost nowhere else. In just a week, they can build a life-changing relationship with a child. Through conversation, experience, laughter, and honesty, they can help to build their confidence, their perception of the world, and their skill set.
“Kids listen to our staff in a way that they may not listen to their parents or even their teachers because they, through their short time at summer camp, have gotten down on their level.” – Elena Cassella, Executive Director
It was the counselor/CIT who slid face front down the shaving cream slip and slide and cheered them on when they did the same. It was the counselor who laughed at their joke at the dinner table, took stump like a champ, walked alongside them during Horseback, and held their hand as they stared up at the stars at night. It’s our staff who are the cool people spending a memorable and powerful week with each child because each child matters. Many of the kids will look at the staff and think, “I want to be a counselor/CIT when I grow up.”
Our summer camp staff define Dream Oaks for the kids who attend. The energy and enthusiasm that they bring to the activities and programs that are offered and adapted to include all children are inspiring. It’s probably one of the most meaningful and impactful jobs you can ever have, and its impact will continue long after they’ve moved on. They will make an indefinable difference in the lives of hundreds of kids.