What Does It Take to Be a Camp Counselor?

summer camp for kids tennis class with counselor leading

Being a camp counselor is unlike any other job out there! Imagine making life-long friendships, building your professional skillset, exploring the great outdoors, and having a direct impact on the lives of children. That only begins to paint the picture of life as a summer camp counselor.

You might have previous experience attending camp as a child or even working as a staff member at a camp. Perhaps you are someone who simply wants a fun and rewarding job working with kids this summer.

But what makes a great camp counselor?

How do you know if you have the right interests and skills to be “counselor ready?” Are there resources that can help? Yes!

Camp counselor resources for success working at a summer camp

A Strong Work Ethic

Being a camp counselor is a rewarding experience packed with fun everyday, but it’s also work!  It takes resilience, requires enthusiasm and self-sacrifice.  The campers depend on our staff being attentive and always ready to help… day and night!

You must have a well-developed work ethic as a camp counselor.

You can develop your work ethic by understanding the parameters that propel you forward… and those that have the potential to set you back! Take a look at this resource from Indeed and discover eight characteristics of a strong work ethic.

Improving your Work Ethic

A Passion for Youth Development

Beyond the fun and excitement of life at camp, the experience is also deeply educational and formative for the campers.  Being a camp counselor, in fact, means you being a youth development professional.  Your work helps your campers grow in very meaningful ways!

There’s an art and a science to how you help them gain so much from camp.  Your confidence, compassion, and creativity, plus several core competencies, will guide your interactions and help you provide what your campers need.

Read this article by Lance Ozier to understand the developmental and cognitive needs of your campers and how this translates into your role as a camp counselor.

Knowing what Campers Need from Counselors

A True Sense of Responsibility

Caring for children who are away from their parents requires an utmost sense of duty and responsibility. Counselors are trusted to insure campers are physically and emotionally safe, are fully engaged in camp life, and enjoying their time at camp.

Counselors also reassure camp parents and play a key role in addressing their concerns. Camp counselors must be mature and reliable, and be able to communicate those traits to parents.

This article published by the American Camp Association explores common camp parent concerns and how counselors can responsibly respond.

Anticipating and Addressing Camp Parent Concerns

A Desire to Develop your Best Self

Being a camp counselor helps you grow too! It offers you unique opportunities to build incredibly valuable skills and strengthen personal qualities that will serve you well into the future no matter what your career ambitions.

The camp environment, combined with quality training and leadership, make each day of being a counselor personally rewarding.  From teamwork and problem solving to communication and self-awareness, camp provides concrete skill-development experience.

Take a look at this article from our website and explore ten valuable skills counselors develop working at camp.

Developing and practicing real-world skills

kid camp counselors