Why Our Counselors “Make” Camp

  • Camp is about connection but the beauty of those camp connections is in the day to day moments of camp that our counselors make magical. We wanted to share a few our favorites from the summer, we hope you enjoy!

    paddleboardingSometimes you may just need a patient counselor to help you get your sea legs. We often see wonderful relationships form between new campers and staff who are new to camp. Despite the age difference, the bond that can be nurtured between two people out of their comfort zone and away from home is impressive and invaluable.

    Meal time can be loud, chaotic and very busy. It’s often easy to lose sight song book picof the intention of our assigned mixed tables. We bring together boys and girls of all ages to provide an  opportunity, outside of your bunk and activities, to meet and build relationships. Talia and Jordan, the table counselors of table 25, created and printed everyone their very own song book, a collection of the table’s favorites, complete with a photo and cover that had everyone’s names on the front. It was a simple gesture but one that said “you are a part of something” to everyone who sat at that table.

    hennaBeing able to identify when a camper just needs one-on-one time is not a skill that can be taught. It takes commitment to your bunk and the time needed to develop strong relationships with your campers. Allie, a first year counselor this summer, knew what that meant and understood the importance of spending time with each camper. There’s nothing that a little quiet time on the picnic benches and some henna can’t fix!

    Homesickness is a normal part of many people’s camp story. We are always impressed by our staff’s ability jrto  provide the comfort and consistency our campers need to overcome it. This past summer, after a camper’s feelings of disconnection were unwavering, his counselor, decided to take things into his own hands. Every time the camper felt sad, Josh would bring him to a different part of camp, and together they would draw and write about what that specific spot meant to him. Drawing was a distraction and it brought them closer together, but the most amazing part was what happened on pick-up day. As the camper prepared to leave camp, Josh gave him a book he had compiled of all of the pictures and stories they had made together. It would act as a reminder during the year of the home he had found at camp and the bond they shared.

    Getting on stage in front of camp can be scary at any age, but for an eight  year old, performing in front of the entire camp can be incredibly intimidating. Our annual Camper Talent Show (click to view the video) is a favorite evening activity and the chance for kids of all ages to put their talents on display. One of our youngest campers at camp was eager to sing for camp but reluctant to do so on her own. Without hesitation, but with a ukulele in hand, Nina volunteered to do a duet and together they sang a beautiful mash-up version of some pop songs. The crowd went crazy for the amazing duo, and we can guarantee it was one of the highlights of both of their summers.

    picnicThis summer our girls in Bunks 11a and 11b got an extra-special wake-up thanks to the thoughtfulness of their counselors. Being such a large group, the campers in this age group haven’t always been able to fit in one bunk, but they have been so lucky to have had counselors who have cared so much about forming a unified, caring community among the two bunks. Through shared activities, late night bonding (and Dunkin’ Donuts!) Bunk 11 has forged everlasting friendships. There’s nothing like a lake-side breakfast in the Dell with your best friends.

    freimanSometimes, all you really need, is some gentle encouragement and a lifejacket to overcome a fear. For a 9 year old first-time camper, boating was that fear. As the rest of his bunkmates, eager and excited to enjoy Sunset Lake, grabbed a partner and a paddle and headed out quickly. The look of concern on his face was met with a smile from Sophie, one of the members of the Boating and Canoeing staff as she grabbed him a lifejacket and claimed him as her boat buddy for the day. It took a little bit longer but eventually the pair were out on the lake and the two of them forged an unlikely but wonderful friendship.

     

    The camp parent of two campers summed it up perfectly at the end of the summer with this note: “The quality of the staff at CTN never ceases to amaze us – the recruitment process yields gold – a dream team of the very best young adults.  To have the genuine maturity and kindness that you do at your ages is a remarkable thing.  For example, the fact that one of you looked through an entire bin of trash for our child’s retainer says so, so very much about the type of counselors that you are and your concern for our son.  Sure it could have been replaced, and it would not have been a big problem.  But you understood him well enough to know that it would have been a huge deal to him.  Where can you find that type of care and commitment?  I’ll tell you where: CTN. “

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