What Are the Skills of a Camp Counsellor? (With Examples)
Updated February 4, 2023
Being a camp counsellor can be fun and educational. These jobs are desirable to young adults and students because they allow them to earn money and develop professional experience. Knowing what skills are helpful for camp counsellors can help you gauge your suitability for this job and learn where you can improve. In this article, we discuss the skills of a camp counsellor, provide some examples, explain how to improve them, explore them in the workplace, and show how to highlight them in job applications.
What are the skills of a camp counsellor?
The skills of a camp counsellor help people plan and oversee activities for children attending a camp. Counsellors work at summer camps but may also find employment at other places, such as day camps, winter and March break children's programs, community centres, and places of worship.
For summer camp counsellors, outdoor skills are beneficial because they participate in and lead outdoor activities, including swimming, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, and cycling. Some camps revolve around specific activities, such as computers, woodworking, and sports. The participants are typically children, so skills relating to working and communicating with them are essential.
Examples of camp counsellor skills
Because camp counsellors have different strengths and camps offer various activities, they might have a wide range of skills. Working to improve some of them can help you in this role. Here are some skills you might need as a camp counsellor:
Planning creative activities can be an asset for a camp counsellor. Working with children often requires innovative solutions to challenges. Because they often have shorter attention spans, thinking of creative ways to keep them engaged can increase their enjoyment of activities. It's also key to keeping them safe while staying focused on the job. Camp counsellors can be creative when making up games, working on projects, and scheduling itineraries.
Camp counsellors are good communicators. They interact with their superiors, colleagues, campers, and parents. Clear communication is imperative, whether they're providing information to parents while their children are away at camp or working with other counsellors to plan activities.
Maintaining high levels of energy and enthusiasm can be challenging. Children are often very energetic, so successful counsellors can match that energy to get them involved and keep them engaged in activities.
Camp counsellors lead children through activities, instruct them on what to do, and plan their days. Practical leadership skills can give counsellors the knowledge and confidence to take charge of group situations. A good leader involves commanding children's attention, teaching them new tasks, and ensuring their safety.
Modelling good behaviour
Many camp counsellors are role models to their campers, so it's helpful to understand how to lead by example. Modelling good behaviour can reduce the chances of misbehaving and encourage them to listen to instructions more intently. Working with children means safety is a top priority, and camp counsellors who can model proper safety methods can help keep campers safe.
Organizational skills are beneficial because counsellors perform several tasks throughout the day. Camps are often exciting, busy environments, so strong organizational skills can promote positive experiences for campers. Maintaining a schedule that allows the appropriate amount of time for each activity helps a camp operate smoothly. Being organized is also fundamental to planning excursions, such as hikes and visits to attractions. These activities involve bringing specific materials, considering travel times, and deciding on meeting places.
Patience is essential in any job that involves working with children. For example, if several campers ask their counsellor questions simultaneously, it requires patience to stay calm and instruct them to ask their questions one at a time. Patience helps counsellors remain in control during challenging situations, which can help the children remain calm.
Counsellors often oversee large groups of children and, being responsible, provides guidance and instruction so that children stay safe. Many counsellors are young adults or teenagers, so they might learn different responsibilities for the first time. If you can act responsibly and dependably, you can demonstrate your value as a camp counsellor and earn the trust of supervisors and parents.
Effective camp counsellors can work in teams in various settings to plan and oversee different activities and teach teamwork skills to campers. They often work closely with other counsellors, so working together effectively is key to keeping camp fun and safe.
How to improve your skills
Improving your skills can make you a better camp counsellor and increase your chances of getting a job. Consider the following tips to improve your skills:
1. Talk to other camp counsellors
If you've never worked as a camp counsellor, try asking current or former counsellors for advice. You can do this in person, over the phone, or by e-mail. Ask them what skills they think are crucial to being an effective counsellor and some common mistakes to avoid.
2. Ask your supervisors questions
Your supervisors know what they're looking for in a counsellor. Many may have worked as counsellors themselves. It can be beneficial to ask them for informal evaluations of your work and whether there's any area where you can improve. Seek clarification if you're unsure about an instruction or rule.
3. Listen to your campers
Feedback from your campers can also be a good source of information. Understanding what activities they enjoy most can help you plan future events and show you what methods work best for gaining and keeping your campers' attention.
Camp counsellor skills in the workplace
Having camp counsellor skills is critical, but knowing when and how to use them is also important. Understanding how to show your skills at a camp can impress supervisors and help you do your job. Here are some ways you can demonstrate your skills in the workplace:
Prioritize safety. To ensure you're acting responsibly, ask yourself if the activity you're planning is safe. If you discover that it poses an undue risk, cancel or alter it.
Observe your campers. It can be valuable to pause occasionally and observe your campers. Modify your approach if they don't look excited or are unsure of what's happening.
Stay positive. Staying positive shows everyone you have the energy and enthusiasm to lead a group of children. Being positive in challenging moments also demonstrates your patience and resolve.
Ways to highlight camp counsellor skills
Knowing how to highlight camp counsellor skills in an application can increase your chances of getting the job. Here are some ways to highlight your relevant skills on your resume and during an interview:
Skills for resumes
Include a skills section in your resume where you can list ones useful for camp counsellors. Your experience section can also discuss how you used your skills in previous jobs.
Skills for cover letters
The job description might list some skills the hiring manager is looking for in candidates. You can increase your chances of getting an interview if you mention them in your cover letter and emphasize how your skills make you a suitable candidate.
Skills for interviews
During an interview, you may be asked directly about your skills. In your response, it's important to mention how you can use your skills to be an effective camp counsellor. You can also mention them when answering questions that don't directly involve your skills.
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