Would you like to make a difference in the world by mentoring kids, growing and helping others grow in the faith, and having fun at the same time? Then being a camp counselor might be the right job for you.
What exactly does a camp counselor do? The job may include such tasks as introducing and participating in activities, lending emotional support, lending a listening heart to kids who need it and teaching them about Jesus.
A few camps visited campus recently to talk about their programs and encourage students to apply to become a counselor.
Matthew Honeycutt is a camp director for Rose City Summer Camps in Tyler, Texas. His camp serves kids who have completed kindergarten through fifth grade.
He explains how Rose City serves the children in the area.
“So our goal is to have an overlap in the kids that we serve, which is the campers in Tyler, and a lot of those kids are kids that don’t get the opportunity to have other experiences,” Honeycutt said. “Maybe other summer camps are a little too expensive. So we want to provide them with an opportunity to come to a camp and what we do is we partner with a local school district.”
Throughout the day at camp, Honeycutt said counselors have the opportunity to impact kids’ lives by telling them about Christ.
“You go into it and think you’re going to change lives, but more so you get to work with these kids … you get to see some things that are really tough.” He added that through “some really cool conversations,” lives are changed.
“ A counselor would oversee about eight campers …, and they just walk them through the camp …. shepherding them,” Honeycutt said. having fun with them, getting them to that activity class we have, Bible study, clubs, worship, all those different things.
One large part of the organization is the emphasis on the importance of diversity. Rose City Summer Camps believes that it isimportant to show God’s love through mentoring all types of people.
“A big heart of ours as a ministry is multi-ethnic, so we want to be diverse,” Honeycutt said . “We serve a diverse group of kids and we want our staff to also be diverse,” Honeycutt said.. “So we have a heart to see all different shapes, sizes, and colors of people working together to also get to serve people there, a lot of different races.”
Another camp that came to the university was Forest Glen, a camp in the city of Rosebud. Their main focus targests boys and young men in order to inspire them to develop their walk with Jesus.
Ben Helmer is a program staff member who helps work retreats. This summer, he will be the summer program director for the Wilderness Ranch Program at Forest Glen, which also operates outside of the summer.
“During the rest of the season, we work with church groups, families, with various people that rent out our facilities just for a weekend,” Helmer said.
The camp director, Andy Stem, goes on to describe the purpose and goal of Forest Glen.
“Our mission is to provide an environment where people can encounter God, and we firmly believe that lives are changed at camp,” Stem said. “Campers lives and ultimately staff’s lives are changed for all eternity and so when we bring in either counselors to work with our overnight program or program staff to work with our church groups, we’re basically making sure they grasp what that means: that even though your job may be just running the archery range or just being a lifeguard, you’re still impacting people’s lives. You’re still helping create that environment so that people can come and encounter the Lord. ….It gives you an opportunity to disconnect from the real world, which makes it easy at camp because you usually don’t get cell service anyway. So you can disconnect and hopefully reconnect with your Creator.”
There are many ways that one can serve at Forest Glen, and many activities to help lead and be involved with.
“We train all of our staff to get as cross-trained in as many activities as we can,” Stem said. “We have lifeguards, we have ropes trained staff, everybody gets trained in all of our shooting ranges, whether it’s archery range, BB gun range, 22 range, pellet gun range, tomahawks. We have multiple styles of boating, we canoe, we do paddle boarding, we do kayaking, and again, all of our staff get trained to run all of those [activities].”
“And again, of course, we have a lot of free-time games where groups are playing gaga ball and they’re playing nine square in the air, playing volleyball and basketball. But many times our staff will jump in and play with the groups just so they can continue to …. to have minor, little influences on the lives of the campers.”
If you would like to apply to become a counselor for either of these camps, be sure to check out their websites and fill out their application forms: www.RoseCitySummerCamps.com and forestglen.org.