Counselor-in-Training at a Maine Camp – Why it Matters
Written for Maine Camp Experience
Maine Camp Experience camps have provided amazing growth experiences for youth for over 100 years through summer camp. For older teens, the fun doesn’t have to end after their camper years. Most camps offer a training program where leadership skills are emphasized and specific, marketable training is provided.
“Counselor in Training” or CIT/CT or LT (leadership training) are programs where teens ages 15-17, depending on the camp, learn from A – Z about being a camp counselor. Some camps offer Lifeguard Training, Junior Maine Guide program or sport-specific certifications like Archery Instructor Training or Certified Horsemanship Association levels. These marketable skills are great resume builders and. moreover, they are great confidence builders.
Self esteem increases through building skills in public speaking, working with a group of children, practicing teaching and getting feedback, planning and organizing special events, evening programs, organizing community service opportunities and making the difference in a child’s life. Over and over again for a summer of life learning.
Check with your Maine Camp Experience camp to find out how their CIT program works. Is it open to the public or did you have to be a camper there before? Is there full tuition or a reduced cost for the program? Do CITs live as a group with a counselor or do they live in the bunks and meet with their director on a regular basis? What skills and certifications should you expect to get from the CIT program? Is it a full summer or can you attend part of the summer as a CIT? Is there an application process or can anyone attend?
What you will get if you become a CIT is life changing. You gain a sense of yourself and what you want to do with your life, you grow into being a leader and experience responsibility in a new way. Immersed in the camp experience you learn time-management skills, planning and organizational skills. Being around positive adults you develop your own sense of responsibility, and learn from them. You feel a sense of accomplishment like never before – your confidence increases and your life skills develop. You have a better chance of being hired at a camp after successfully completing the program, too.
The biggest value you get is what you learn about yourself as a team player in a group. The self reflection is priceless. As one CIT said when I interviewed her “everyone should do it!”
Thanks to Camp Caribou, Camp Runoia and Camp Wyonegonic for contributing to this blog.