OP-ED: Why you should be a camp counselor

Madison White, Assignment Editor

Being a camp counselor is something that I never thought would have impacted my life and changed my life for the better.

As a kid, I grew up going to different summer camps, whether it was for Girl Scouts or fun. I always looked up to the counselors that watched after me while I attended these different camps because they always seemed sweet, sincere and awesome. They taught me life lessons, encouraged me to be myself and tried to get me to try something new even if it was challenging. Having these experiences as a kid, I knew if I got the opportunity to become a camp counselor I would.

Last summer, I got the opportunity that I have been waiting for since I was a kid. I got to be a counselor at the camp that I fell in love with as a kid. I never thought it could be better than what I thought it might be like as a kid, but when I started my training, I was surprised on how amazing it actually was.

We are told over and over that you are impacting these campers lives in a way that you could never imagine. Thinking back to when I was a camper, this statement is so accurate. When a counselor would encourage you to keep trying to get up while skiing or completing the figure eight that you haven’t been able to complete while horseback riding, you start believing in yourself a little bit more. If the counselors that were placed in my life were awful or didn’t encourage me like they did, I don’t think I would have wanted to be an amazing camp counselor just like they were for me.

“Your friends may be making money, but you are here changing lives.”

I got to look after 23 girls in my cabin over the three terms I worked this summer. You think that you are impacting their lives, but in reality, they are impacting yours way more. These girls were so amazing that it made me want to push myself to be better for them and make sure they had the best two or three weeks of their summer here at camp. You want to be the most energetic and positive counselor for the girls and be the best role model for them so that one day they will want to be the counselors at this camp. Working for nine weeks straight is tiring, but seeing these girls accomplish so much in such a short period of time is the most rewarding things about it!

“Give the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.”

The friends that you will make while being a counselor are the most genuine friendships there are. I was lucky enough to have friends from when I went to camp that were counselors with me. The amazing thing about our week long training is the fact that even if you knew no one when you came to training, by the time you are done with the first day of training, you feel as if you have known these girls your whole life. No judgment and complete acceptance. The accept you for who you are.

When the counseling staff is so in sync and connected it brings girls that may have not been friends “outside of the bubble” to be friends here at camp. Camp gives you the opportunity to meet girls from all over the state. We even had girls come in from out of state and even a couple from out of the country. Even if you are only able to see those girls once a year while at camp, everyone picks up from where they left off the last year.

“It’s always better when we’re together.”

Meals at camp might be one of the best parts. I know that this is probably a weird statement, but I am so lucky that I get to be a counselor at a camp that has family style meals with homemade food. Meals as a counselor are so great because you get to eat with girls that may not be in your cabin or your class. You get to find out how their day went or even if they accomplished anything in class.

“If I had the wings of an airplane, back to this camp I would fly. Here in this dining hall I long remain, eating to keep me alive.”

Leaving as a camper is so difficult and leaving as a counselor might be even harder. You feel like you are leaving your family. All the counselors start to seem more like sisters and you have to leave some of your best friends. The owners and directors are harder to leave because they have seen you grow as a counselor and may have even seen you grow up at the camp. The camp becomes a second home. Whether you worked one term together or all three, leaving each other and driving out that gate is difficult.

“It’s goodnight and not goodbye.”

Being a camp counselor is something that everyone should consider doing once in their life. Whether you are helping at a camp that kids come just to have fun at or helping at a camp for children with disabilities, each one brings the time of your life and campers that continuously impact your life after months of the term ending.