Now many of you know that working with kids is not the easiest job on the planet. I love my job, in fact, it’s the best job that I’ve ever had! Every day I enjoy laughing and telling stories with the kids. It’s nice to serve as a role model and enjoy the beauty of childhood! No matter how much we all love children and touching each child’s life, I think it is safe to assume that managing kids in large groups can get stressful! So I’ve put together a counselor survival guide for any camp, anywhere.
How to survive summer camps:
1. Have fun! (or at least pretend like it )
If you aren’t having fun, then no one is…and there’s nothing worse than 30 unhappy campers.
Tip: Shades are great for this. No one can see if Audrey Hepburn is rolling her eyes or not.
2. Keep your voice in tip top condition
Keeping your voice in good condition is crucial. If the kids can’t hear you, all h-e-double hockey sticks will break loose. This past week I was sick and my voice was really weak, and the kids didn’t listen to a word I said.
A website I was just reading said to take “vocal naps” to rest your voice. Since this is impossible as a counselor, I kept reading.
The next thing they said is to be in a humid environment, Nebraska’s had it’s humid days this summer so this tip is easy.
The rest of the tips aren’t worth sharing, but they can be found here.
3. Don’t forget the sunscreen
In addition to preserving your "youthful skin", don't let the kids get sunburned. Sunburned kids = unhappy parents. I like to sneak attack children with sunscreen on their noses. It's funny AND healthy! To protect myself, I apply it on my face, neck, and hands every time I go outside. A drawback to this method is that it makes me look odd with a white face and neck and a tanned body.
4. Pack good food for lunch
Campers' parents rock. The kids always have awesome snacks and food, way better food than my poor college student salary can afford. Packing a good lunch gives you something to look forward too! It is also fun to compete with the kids for the best lunch. For me, Mt. Dew, fruit snacks, a sandwich, string cheese, and cake balls or cookies are always in my lunchbox.
5. Participate in every activity
Take advantage of positive opportunities at camp to relieve stress. Dodgeball is my favorite form of therapy.
It’s also fun to make crafts. Here’s some cool things we’ve made so far. The left is a foamless foam finger and the right is a kite that doesn't fly. But, don't get me wrong, they sure were fun to make!
6. Make friends with your counselors
They share your joys….and your pains. Plus they are probably the coolest people you know anyway ;).
7. When in doubt, sit everybody out
I can’t count how many times a week I do this. It gives the campers a chance to cool down, and also you. It is the only time every camper will be silent and sitting.
8. Have a sense of humor
Kids pull pranks on you, but it’s more fun to watch their reactions when counselors do crazy things. I enjoy randomly talking in funny voices, making weird faces, and then denying everything.
Here is some of my best work:
If you follow these tips, you too, can learn to love your job as much as me!