Things We Teach Our Summer Camp Counselors – Part 1

With Summer Camp just around the corner, we thought it would be nice to give you an inside scoop on some of the things we teach our counselors and summer staff each year.

We take our training very seriously and pay our staff for a little over a week before any camper first arrives. We want to make sure that they get a great training experience and are ready to go when the first campers arrive at our location in Michigan.

For this week’s topic, we wanted to let you know our summer priorities. This is one of the first things that each staff member learns and is something that we continue to teach and remind them throughout training and the summer.

Priority #1 – Safety

Most of our training revolves around this one aspect – safety. There are so many aspects to safety at summer camp that go beyond making sure campers don’t get scrapes and bruises. We also want to make sure campers are safe emotionally, sexually, relationally, nutritionally, and spiritually.

We spent time training about bullying, what to do if a camper is lost, how to report potential abuse,

In a future post we will tell you a little more about some of these trainings.

Priority #2 – Spiritual Growth

Miracle Camp’s mission is to facilitate life change by helping people grow closer to God. It’s pretty natural then that our next highest priority would be spiritual growth. We must make sure that we do not allow the fun of summer camp (though it is always going to be fun) to shadow the most important thing to our mission.

Every day campers will have two chapel sessions where they will hear the word of God preached. In addition they have a cabin devotional time led by their counselor as well as a personal Bible reading time in the morning. Once a week, each counselor will spend at least an hour of one on one time conversation with each camper as well. We stress in training to our counselors for them to focus on preparing well for the one on one conversations as well as the cabin devotional times. These are the two areas that they are able to control and we stress to them to not miss that opportunity to impact the lives of kids.

Priority #3 – Fun

What is summer camp if it’s not fun? It wouldn’t be much of anything that is for sure. At camp, fun sort of happens naturally, but there’s a few things that we try to stress with our counselors to make the week more fun.

First, we want our staff to spend QUANTITY time with their campers. Yep, we said QUANTITY and not QUALITY. We believe that quality time comes out of quantity time spent in any relationship, and the same is true for summer camp. We have found that campers who have the most fun have counselors who spend the most time.

Second, we try to help our counselors think creatively and to come up with fun memorable experiences that campers typically wouldn’t do at home like watch the stars, camp out in the woods as a cabin, invent new games together, have gigantic water fights together and much more. It’s those little fun moments that kids will remember for the rest of their lives.

It all comes down to hiring

This list certainly isn’t all inclusive as their are many aspects to camp; however, it’s a great start and helps focus our staff when they arrive.

We have found that the staff members who live these qualities at camp are the ones who live these qualities everywhere else in life. So when they arrive at camp, they aren’t doing anything new, they are just being themselves. That’s why we take such great care in selecting our staff.

Our staff, coupled together with a guiding vision, helps produce one of the most memorable weeks of a campers life, and more importantly one that will hopefully help them safely grow closer to God.