“The Counselor In Training program strives to impress upon participants skills that relate directly to working as a camp counselor, as well as skills that can be used in everyday life. This is accomplished in a fun and supportive environment that encourages growth as individuals and as a team” – CITs
The quote above is a mission statement that was created by Lake Stockwell’s counselors in training (CIT) and it gives a brief glimpse into what the CIT program does for campers. All three of our camps have a five week long CIT program and while each program differs in various way, they strive towards the same goal. They work to create a fun, educational experience that will endow their campers with the skills that will make them the next great generation of counselors. The CIT directors work to not only instill the four core values of honesty, caring, respect and responsibility within their campers, they also develop programs that teach such skills as teamwork, communication, and leadership.
To help foster these skills, each program organizes various activities that allow the campers to gain invaluable insight into what is like to be a counselor. One activity is called Behind Closed Doors, wherein the CITs act out scenarios that can occur at camp. For example, in one scenario a fight has broken out between campers and they must intervene. After the scenario is over, they debrief to see what they did well and what could have been done better. Another way in which they gain leadership skills is by running their own programs. Over at Ocky, the CITs created Major League Kickball, which is like regular kickball but uses different twists such as using a different type of ball or running the bases in the opposite direction. At Matolly, the CITs created a program called, Make Your Own Superhero, where the campers create their own comic books! Another major way the CITs build skills is by shadowing different groups. It gives the CITs a chance to gain the experience of working as a counselor while observing other counselors to see what they do and how they handle situations as they arise. The further into the program the CITs go, the more they shadow. For Ocky and Matolly, they even have the opportunity of shadowing groups overnight!
In addition to all this, each CIT group works to complete a service project for their camp. For Stockwell, the CITs are renovating the nature cabin. Over at Matolly, they are hanging up hammocks and making fire pits, creating an area known as Chillage Village. Lastly, at Ocky, the CITs are working to build a bench and potentially dedicate it to someone on camp. While it may seem that the CITs have a lot of work to do during their program, they still fit in time for regular camp activities. They still go swimming, play land sports, and go out on the inflatables. They even get to go over to the challenge course to experience the high and low elements!
At the end of their program, they undergo a final evaluation wherein the CIT directors review their experience and the evaluations they have received from groups the CITs shadowed. If a CIT passes the program at the overnight camps, then they may return to be junior counselors. For the day camp, if they pass, then they may return for the rest of the summer as volunteer counselors. If you ask most counselors who have gone through the CIT program, they will tell you that it does prepare you for being a counselor, but more importantly, it gives you long lasting memories and lifelong friends.