How To Counsel For Youth Summer Camp?How To Counsel For Youth Summer Camp?

Working at youth summer camps gives you the opportunity to grow spiritually, share the gospel and build a good relationship with young people at the camp. Many individuals will be working at various youth summer camps throughout this summer. Here are some tips on how to counsel for youth summer camps.

Participation in the camping activities is the key to successful youth summer camps. The more you take part in camping activities, the friendlier you will become with young people at the camp. If they ask you to join their activities, you should do so. Do not think of how stupid you will look. Just simply do it for the youth in the camp, and not for yourself.

If you notice one of the teens is poor in a particular activity, motivate them. It is not good to make fun of them. I know you might be tempted to laugh at them, but try your best not to do it. If you make a mistake of doing it, you may end up with a kid that hates you in the camp. The camper may influence his peers with the negative attitude, and the hatred towards you in the camp won’t be fun to handle.

Create Some Time for Each Camper
A good rule of thumb is spending at least five minutes with each camper every day. Even though in some cases you may need to devote more time with a camper, try to ensure you get at least enough time for everyone.

Ask Questions
Do not be afraid of asking questions. If you find yourself in difficult situations, you should not be afraid of asking your senior counsellors for advice. Sometimes they may tend to get annoyed, but in the long run, it benefits both of you. You will learn new things, and they will learn from that the camp counselling areas that you need to work on.

Make Sacrifices
Another important tip is making sacrifices, no matter how small they are (not human sacrifices). Little things like offering the last piece of your pizza to one of the teens in the camp will make them like you more. If you decide to be selfish, the kids will always remember you for that, and they will end up holding grudges.

Encourage Them
If one of the campers is having a bad day, do not hesitate to talk to them. Talking to them will make them feel better. If a camper feels depressed after losing a game, remind them that it is only a game and that’s not the last game in his/her life. If one of the teenagers gets hurt or sick, take them to the camp's nurse. Always remind your kids of the fun they should be having while camping. Ensure everyone in the camp is having a perfect time.

Patience is the Key
Always be patient! These youths are not dumb. They know that if they need something or permission from you, all they need to do is annoy you until you let them have what they want. In most cases, the first time you ask a kid to do something, there is a high possibility of them not doing it. Never get mad at them and try not to shout at them. Always remember that they are younger than you and raising your voice may scare your campers. If you keep doing it, they will start ignoring you.

Build on Positivity
Find something positive about each of your campers and build on that. Never give priority to the contrary. For instance, if it happens that one of your campers is good at football, tell the kid how you love seeing him/her playing football. This will make the camper feel wanted and treasured in the group. Encouragement works well for the shy campers.

Always Be in a Good Mood
Never bring negativity with you! Showing up at the camp with a bad mood will end up hurting your campers’ days. Even if your night was horrible, always show up with a smile. Always take enough rest to avoid depression and getting worn out. The last thing you want in such an exhausting job is to run yourself dry. You can also take naps whenever you are free as this helps in relieving your mind from tension.

Solve Conflicts Early
If you notice any conflict between campers, do not wait until they start fighting before you do something about it. Whenever you notice unusual behavior in the camp, sort it out with the campers and the superiors. The earlier you solve issues in the camp, the easier your job as a camp counsellor will be.

Last but not least, remember to respect your campers, and they will also respect you. Being in charge does not mean that you should be bossing them around. In case one of the campers does not want to be part of an activity, do not force them. Instead, talk to them in a friendly and polite way and understand their situation. Also, remember to treat your campers equally and always smile when you're with them.

by Rhonda Fisher
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Derek Tan writes articles relating to education. Please visit Canadian International School for more information.
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