For years we have talked about hiring “counselor heroes”. A friend unfamiliar with summer camps asked me to define what we mean by this and to explain what we do to get “heroes”. I thought you might appreciate how I responded.
Our heroes are young men and women committed to being exceptional role models to our campers. These are individuals whose talents justify easier hours and higher pay, but who understand the power of working with young people (of course, they also enjoy having an active and exciting summer). While these heroes teach the campers a great deal, they inevitably learn some powerful lessons themselves. They learn the 21st Century skills of communication, teamwork, work ethic, leadership and creative thinking as well the joy of serving others. They learn that hard work and great fun can go together.
“Our passion is to help every camper grow into the Champion he or she is intended to be.”
---Camp Champions’ Mission Statement
When I share our mission statement with parents, some ask me what we mean by a “Champion”. Some picture a camper draped in medals or one that wins a competition. We mean something different.
(This is the fourth in 4 articles on the “Four R’s” that we stress at Camp Champions)
As you might have seen in a previous article, we focus on the “Four R”s:
1. showing Respect,
2. taking reasonable Risks,
3. Reaching out to others, and
4. taking Responsibility.
This article talks about what we do to stress Reaching out to others.
Each year, we are asked to make presentations at national camp conferences about our high school leadership program. We call it the Senior Camper program and it serves teens finishing 9th, 10th and 11th grades. Here is an overview of the program. I hope you can see why it has become an nationally recognized!
The teenage years are particularly challenging ones for parents. Once a child turns 13 or 14, peers and other adults often become more influential than parents. Susie Ma’am and I see that happening with our three high schoolers. They still love us, but they are preparing themselves for a time when they will be in college and we will not be there. This is a necessary and important developmental milestone, but it is also scary one. We parents like being in control and we worry about who the other influences will be.
One of my hopes with this blog is to provide you a feel for camp. Sometimes that means explaining a tradition. Sometimes I will share quotes from campers. Other times I strive to give you a glimpse of what it like to be a parent-aged “adult” at Camp Champions.
Enjoying Green Acres
Several years ago, we had some parents contact us with questions about Torchlight, our evening ritual. With this in mind, we decided to provide a little bit of an explanation about this important camp tradition.