Camp Counseling: So Much More than Just Fun and Games

It struck me during staff orientation how well prepared camp counselors are to enter the workforce. In just one week, camp counselors learn professionalism, collaboration, and responsibility. This personal and professional development does not happen in a strictly academic setting.

Professionalism – Counselors are (of course) coached to show up on time and wear proper attire.  More importantly, they are expected to appropriately interact with their co-workers not just from 9-to-5 but around the clock.

Collaboration – From working together on the ropes course to collectively developing curriculum to living together in a small cabin, counselors are constantly collaborating. Effective collaboration skills are crucial

Responsibility – Staff orientation teaches personal responsibility, but summer camp is the real test. Camp counselors must supervise others’ children. Those children are their parents’ most valuable possession, and I can think of no more important responsibility than helping our youth.

It’s time to stop thinking that camp counseling is all fun and games. Camp counselors have more fun than anyone else, and they learn the skills to succeed in today’s workforce. In fact, they are more than camp counselors: they are youth development professionals.

How else do you think being a youth development professional prepares you for the workforce? 

Now that you've read my blog, check out how Zach went from camper to camp counselor too!

Rich is the Resident and Family Camps Director at YMCA Camp Erdman on Oahu, Hawaii. He majored in business at Georgetown University and is currently pursuing an MBA in Non-Profit Management at Chaminade University. He can be reached at or @richardrinaldi.

Tags: This Week in Young Leaders, camp, counselors, CIT, summer, Leadership, career, professionalism, collaboration, responsibility, work force, So Much More

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