Being a 'Twinkie' Summer Camp Counsellor

It’s funny how different Summer Camp Counsellors are meant to be with certain cabins.

Being a Camp Counsellor to any group of campers is the best job in the world, but once you do a summer in one cabin, you can’t imagine being with any other age group.

I’m a Twinkie counsellor (the youngest group of campers). My group of campers typically consist of 5-9-year-old girls and I absolutely love it.

Sure, I may have to do more for the campers like tie their shoes, cut up their food, comfort their homesickness. They may wake up during the night, need more questions answered but I don’t mind.

There’s so much more to being a Twinkie counsellor.

Keeping Campers Safe and Happy

I like to create a warm and safe cabin for the Twinkie girls, many of whom are experiencing overnight camp for the first time. I enjoy being the friendly face who wakes each of them up in the morning and tucks them in at night. I love reading stories, drawing pictures and playing games.

Making friends and learning new skills while feeling safe and happy away from their parents is an incredible accomplishment for a child. I feel proud and honoured to witness groups of young girls coming to CAC and doing exactly that.

They might need help tying their shoes on day one and maybe they miss their parents for the first couple of nights. But two weeks later when they are expert shoe tiers and don’t want to go home, I am bursting with pride. 

Summer Camp Mom

In my 3 years as a Twinkie counsellor, I’ve been a ‘camp mom’ to over 50 girls, ranging from 5 to 10 years old. Each camper has been amazing and unique in their own way.

When they achieve something new and I see them running towards me to share their news, I smile from ear to ear because I know how hard they worked to achieve it, no matter how big or small. That’s why I love being a Twinkie counsellor.

Every day is filled with new achievements. Each day is different from the last.  And every day I’m lucky enough to witness these young girls bond together and grow as individuals.

There’s so much more to being a Twinkie counsellor. With every Twinkie I welcome to summer camp, I learn so much more and I get to grow as a person too. And for that, I have to say thank you to all of the wonderful young girls I’ve met over the last 4 summers. 

The Kids Taught Me How To Be A Good Camp Counsellor

One of the things I love most about camp is feeling like I make an impact every summer - most importantly, on the campers.

Camp counsellors work extremely hard to be a positive influence on their campers. They’ll go out of their way to be a great role model, provide an open and accepting environment, and encourage the campers to embrace learning and growing.

But it’s not a one-way street. Your campers can have a positive influence on you too - and sometimes, it happens without you even realizing it.

It came as a surprise to realize just how much I’d grown over the summer, because of the relationships I’d developed with my group of campers. They’re the reason I go back to camp, year after year. They’re a massive part of why camp was life-changing for me.

There’s something about the view of a child that is incredibly refreshing, and it puts a lot into perspective. While we as counsellors teach campers skills in activities like archery and rock climbing, as well as life skills such as independence, campers are teaching counsellors to live in the moment, to be free, and to use their imagination.

So I wrote a letter for those campers - to appreciate just how much they bring to the summer camp experience:

Letter to My Summer Campers

"Dear Camper,

This is a letter to say thank you.

Thank you for allowing me to be part of your camp experience - the laughs, the cries, and everything in between. Thank you for the wonderful memories, funny stories, and crazy moments. Thank you for trusting me, sharing with me and for being the incredible, inspiring child you are.

You're now back at school, and into the daily routines that happen during the year. You may not think of me much between summers, but please know that during this time you are not put to the back of my mind. I often think about how you're doing. How is school? Are you still training? Did you get that puppy you wanted?

You're smart, important and capable of great things. I hope you know this, and never doubt yourself and what you can do.

Until next summer,

Your camp counsellor"

 
So to all campers - from the joyous juniors to the sassy seniors. Thank you for making camp the inspiring place that it is - and for changing your counsellors' lives.

Tags: Summer Camp Counsellor, Summer Camp Life