Why Does Being A Camp Counselor Matter?
This past year, at the conclusion of summer camp, we asked parents what their kids talked about most when they picked them up from camp. The number one answer, far and above any activity or experience, was the counselors. Kids 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 relationships.
Being a kid can be rough. Everyone is bigger than you. Everyone seems to know more, and people tell you all the time, “You’ll understand when you’re older.” Studies have shown that an important part of faith development for any child is building strong relationships with adults who are willing to model and talk about faith. When a child comes to camp, they look at their counselor and immediately think, “This person is so cool.” And when you, as their counselor, sit down with them at dinner and ask about their day or help them overcome their fear of kayaking or take the time to listen to their questions during Bible study, you communicate that you, the cool person, find them valuable. You care about them, about who they are, and about whatever joys and concerns they bring to the table. It is an invaluable part of the summer camp experience, and it is the thing kids are most likely to tell their parents about when they get home.
It does place a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of a counselor. However, it also offers an opportunity that you will find almost nowhere else. In just six days, you can build a life-changing relationship with a child. Through conversation, experience, laughter, and honesty, you can help to build their faith, their perception of the world, and their desire to live and be a part of the Christian life. They will listen to you in a way that they won’t listen to their parents or even their teachers because you, through their short time at summer camp, have gotten down on their level. It was you who slid down the mud slide and cheered them on when they did the same. It was you who laughed at their joke at the dinner table, read alongside them during Bible study, and held their hand as you stared up at the stars at night. You are the cool person who spent a memorable and powerful week with them. Many of them will look at you and think, “I want to be a counselor when I grow up.”
Our summer camp staff define Camp Wyoming for the kids who come. The energy and enthusiasm that you bring to the activities and programs that are offered will inspire them. It is probably one of the most meaningful and impactful jobs you can ever have, and its impact will continue long after you’ve moved on. You will make an indefinable difference in the lives of hundreds of kids.
Being a summer camp counselor matters. Camp ministry and your role in it helps to communicate value, worth, and positive identity to each and every child who comes through the gates at camp. It shares Christ in authentic relationships and caring communities, and there is nothing worth more than that.