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My Experience as a Camp Counselor - Greta Zarvos

Whether your parents wanted some time off, or you went camping with school, I speak for all of us when I say that some of our greatest memories happened at these camps. I don't know about you, but I always thought camp counselors were the coolest people ever; so when I got the chance to be a counselor at a camp I used to go to when I was younger, I obviously jumped at the opportunity.


About the camp:

"Acampamento de Aventura" by Go Outside magazine happens in the summer and winter along with a couple of other seasons throughout the year, there is even a parent-child season where campers get to bring their parents with them.

The whole idea of the camp revolves around moving your body and different sports such as kayaking, biking, hiking, etc; it is definitely for the more adventurous children.

The camp takes place on a huge farm made up of 85% Atlantic forest and has a ton of different trails. It includes an amazing river where the kids are welcome to go swimming and take part in other aquatic activities.

It wouldn't be an adventure camp if the kids didn't sleep in tents, and I know firsthand what a fun time I used to have when I got to sleep in a tent at this camp.


Being a Counselor:


The PROS:

  • Not only will this look really great on your college application, but being a camp counselor is a great time, especially if you love kids or if you would be interested in a career that works with children in the future.

  • Making new friends: Of course, the camp wouldn't be possible if it was just one of us in charge, so having help from the other monitors was crucial. In the end, we were just one big happy family. It was really fun (and weird) to see the kids that I used to go to this camp with, now become monitors with me.

  • The kids that go to this camp are usually more down-to-earth and not very petty when it comes to getting muddy, eating well, and being very active.

  • There is nothing like building a relationship with these kids and having them look up to you. I can say with confidence that 99.9% of the kids were the sweetest, funniest, and coolest kids I've ever had any experience with.

  • Kids are hilarious.

  • You get your walkie-talkie to communicate with the other counselors and it feels empowering to wear it around your shoulder all day long.

  • Honestly, it was just a tremendous "full-circle" moment to finally see what happens behind the scenes of the camp I used to go to as a kid and I left feeling nostalgic. I felt like that hole of information in my heart was finally patched :-)



The CONS:

  • Being a counselor isn't an easy job by any means since it means you are working 24/7. Kids don't care if you're on your lunch break, they will come up and ask you where their headlamp is in broad daylight.

  • The back pain: nothing could've prepared me for the sheer amount of pain I felt at the end of each day, from bending down to talk to the little ones, to carrying snacks in your backpack to feed 20 kids during a hike, to taking 4 kids in your kayak who didn't want to help row, being a counselor demands physical strength.

  • SHOWER TIME: Even though showering isn't necessarily mandatory at this specific camp, you want to return your campers to their parents looking semi-decent, and if you are in charge of the younger kids, shower time can be very stressful, since, for many of them, it's their first time showering by themselves.

  • BEDTIME: arguably harder than shower time altogether since this could go on for the whole night. I found that the girls had a harder time when it came to being away from home, and it took me a couple nights of sharing a very small tent with one of my more difficult campers to learn the fool-proof technique: put your campers to bed early and go do something else, if they can't find you, they can't bother you. Seriously though, it is so important to teach these kids some independence and give them freedom to figure their stuff out by themselves while they are away from home since it is probably something they are completely unfamiliar with.


PRO TIPS:

  • Coffee is your best friend. You cannot keep up with these kids without a little help from caffeine, face it, you're old now.

  • Never sit on the regular kayak seat, always aim for the little step right above it so that you're sitting up straighter, this will prevent some of that inevitable back pain I mentioned.

  • Make sure to always check in with your campers and always look inside their tents to make sure it isn't too big of a mess, but don't be too strict with your kids either or they will hate your guts, and tell you all about it since they are brutally honest.

  • If you are in charge of the art station: DO NOT LET THEM USE PAINT AND DO NOT LET THEM GET THEIR HANDS ON GLITTER.

  • NEVER LEAVE THE ZIPPER OF YOUR TENT OPEN and instruct your campers to do the same.


Like most things in life being a camp counselor comes with its pros and cons but I wouldn't change it for the world. Words cannot explain how great of a time I had while taking care of these kids for a couple of nights and how relieved I felt with myself at the end knowing I had gotten through it with all my campers in one piece.


For more info on the camp:


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