JC to Counselor
By Noa Billick
Camp North Star is the most wonderful place on Earth. With welcoming, caring, and fun people at every corner, it is nearly impossible to walk onto the campgrounds and not feel right at home.
As someone who is attending Camp North Star for her sixth summer in a row, it is quite common to hear stories of the difficulties when changing camp roles at one of the best summer camps for kids.
Last year, I was fortunate enough to come back to camp as a junior counselor, or JC. I helped out in classes and cabins and had a total blast learning my new role. Within that role, however, I struggled a little bit to figure out whether I fit in with the campers or counselors. Since our JC group was so small, we were able to be a counselor and always have someone to turn to for questions, comments, and concerns. Throughout the summer, I bonded with campers and counselors alike. I learned about the importance of always being available to campers, preparing for classes ahead of time, and learning to be ready for anything and everything at all. As a counselor, I have reflected on these experiences whenever I am questioning a situation or whenever I am looking for the right thing to do.. There are often some difficulties adjusting to walking into North Star with new responsibilities and not knowing what to expect as a result. With that in mind, it is very important to know that it is all worth it.
This year, I was hired as a counselor. With last year’s group of JC’s being so small, we were able to step into counselors’ shoes for a short while which has been extremely beneficial, as we have essentially had a summer camp counselor experience under our belts. I would strongly suggest being a JC before a counselor: it is such an incredible and useful experience. Based on my experience this summer, I have put together a short list of necessary to-do’s to make the shift a little easier:
- Put on a smile as soon as you wake up in the morning, and greet your campers with excitement;
- Be ready to rock & roll by 7:00-7:15;
- Do what you need to do to wake up as quickly as possible – take an early shower, go for a swim in the lake, etc;
- Eat lots of fruit (they are energizing and total pick-me-up’s!)
- Take all sort of criticism as a way to improve. Ask how you can improve!
- Make sure that you have some way to get rid of all the negative energy that may accumulate over the summer – you don’t want to have that in the way of taking care of kids;
- Be sure that the classes you teach are classes that you are passionate about – kids will pick up on your enthusiasm and mimic it;
- Make the most out of any situation, and most importantly:
- HAVE FUN!