How to be the Best Summer Camp Counselor: Duties, Skills & Tips

Summer camp counselors play an extremely formative role for campers. Often, campers return home beaming with admiration for their camp counselors who provided fun, laughter, and the opportunity to learn. Pali Adventures counselors are fun, diverse, vibrant, and engaging young people. Camp counselors often become the role models that kids look up to, and they may be the inspiration for a camper to try a new hobby, or travel to a new place.

Camp counselors have one of the most important roles at camp. They are the people that campers will remember—they are the face of the camp. The following camp counselor duties, responsibilities, skills, tips, and notes will help you to become the best camp counselor you can be.

Camp Counselor Duties and Responsibilities

One of the most important camp counselor duties is ensuring general safety throughout the camp. Camp counselors are trained in CPR, AED, and first aid to maintain a safe camp environment. Counselors must be actively engaged with their campers at all times to guarantee that campers are never placed in unsafe or unhealthy situations. One of the most important goals of a camp counselor should be to make sure that campers are following camp rules and optimizing fun for all.

Counselors should always be on the lookout for growth and development in their campers. Make sure that every camper feels welcome and included in order to help campers grow. It is one of your camp counselor responsibilities to recognize and praise the growth of campers and skill achievement. This helps bring campers out of their shells, and encourages optimal personal growth.

Camp Counselor Skills

Many campers come to camp alone, expecting to make new friends. An important camp counselor skill is the ability to help facilitate new friendships among campers. For this reason, team-building skills are an extremely important trait for camp counselors to possess. The moment that campers step into a specialty, elective, or activity, you should be thinking of icebreakers and conversations that will get the group excited to spend a few hours together.

Your camp counselor responsibilities also include sportsmanship and fairness. You can encourage both of these by making activities and games about having fun as opposed to winning. Other skills that you should possess include strong interpersonal communication, activity planning and oversight, leadership, positive role modeling, problem solving, selflessness, initiative, and creativity.

Don’t be afraid to sit and chat with a camper, one-on-one, in order to help bring them out of their shell. Plan out downtime so that campers are never feeling antsy or bored. Come to camp armed with plenty of riddles, word games, and casual games to play during transitions and free time.

Camp Counselor Tips

Get to know each one of your campers personally, and work hard to make sure that they each get attention. Establish ground rules and a steady routine early on so that campers are never caught off-guard by camp customs and policies. Stay positive no matter the circumstances, and always try to put a constructive spin on all situations.

Avoid sarcasm—a good camp counselor tip is to use humor and be able to get silly while still remaining genuine. Always be over prepared, with tons of fun games on deck and at the ready. Campers are usually excited about playing games, even if it’s something as simple as tossing a ball back and forth on the grass.

Extroverted campers will probably be ready to join right in, but don’t be afraid to invite quieter, shy campers into your game. Shy campers are often just as ready to play games as more outgoing campers are, but might not be sure how to ask to play.

Your most important camp counselor duty is to make sure that campers have the best time ever at summer camp—so don’t be afraid to improvise and get a little silly!

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