By Shannon Burton, Summer Camp Teen Director
There are many reasons why camp is magical, but for this post I’d like to focus on just one. Today, I am reminded that camp is magical because it is a place where 16-year-olds not only recognize that camp provides amazing experiences, but then turn around to help provide that experience to younger campers by becoming Counselors In Training, or CITs.
What could be more heartwarming? And with all the work the CITs this summer have put in so far, it’s no surprise that I’ve been getting compliments about them all session. They’ve bonded over an intense 3-day, 2-night canoeing and backpacking trip on the Delaware River and Appalachian Trail. They’ve planned and run a Talent Show. They’ve earned Red Cross certifications in CPR, First Aid, and AED use. Just yesterday, they completed the same week of staff training that Camp Mason staff complete every summer before campers arrive.
They’ve been busy, and their hard work shows as I walk around camp. Here, the CITs huddled together with day campers, sharing tips on how to run a Talent Show. There, two CITs are proud to show me their gloved hands and a camper with a freshly applied band-aid to a scraped knee. They shine with confidence and excitement to be in the leadership roles they have just stepped into, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.
This Friday, they will begin the final phase of the CIT Program; they will move into their assigned junior cabins to experience what it is like to be a counselor. They’ll have a huge support system comprised of their co-counselors, their Village Leaders, the CIT Coordinators, and myself to guide them along the way. They’ll gain experience that they can refer to later when searching for jobs. We’re hoping, of course, that they will be searching for jobs at Camp Mason, where they can keep the magic going.