Supporting Counselors’ Personal Development

We know that camp is for the campers – but our greatest asset is our staff. Shouldn’t a summer at camp prioritize the personal development of our counselors too? 

Like other camps, we’ve been working on ways to make our staff feel nurtured, valued, and continually supported in their development, even after their camper years. One new thing we’re trying this year is introducing a custom journal for our counselors to encourage reflection and introspection throughout their growth this summer.

Daily journaling and reflection has a multitude of benefits – it can relieve stress, organize feelings, keep track of goals, inspire creativity, and record ideas. Not to mention journals provide a space to write down all the great memories staff will be making each day at camp! 

This year we’ll give our staff journals on the first day of Orientation. The journals will have a different daily thought question or prompt on each page, all the way through the end of the summer. These questions encourage staff to take a step back and look at their progress, think about ways they could continue to improve, or ask themselves what more they could do to get the most out of each day. 

The journal also has a general calendar and schedule for the summer, with session dates, daily bell schedules, Parent Letter due-dates, and other important reminders so counselors feel more informed and better organized. 

Will all of our staff utilize their personal Counselor Journals this summer? Probably not – it will be a challenge for even our full-time staff to reflect in their journals daily! But, even if staff don’t take advantage of the journal as a tool, they will still get the message that we are prioritizing their personal development, not focusing solely on our campers’ growth. It might even cause them to think more about the deeper value held in a summer working at camp. 

We’re always looking for ways to better support our summer staff, build in more self-care time for them, or show them how important they are in our camp community. Looking forward to hearing all the valuable things that you’ve implemented in your own great camps!

Annie Ramsbotham

Falling Creek Camp