Week 3 has blasted off! We have 114 campers this week, and they’re having so much fun!
As you’re sitting at home anxiously waiting for weekly photos to be posted to Facebook, you may be wondering, What does my camper’s counselor do every day? Well, we’re here to tell you!
Cabin and tent counselors are responsible for their campers’ physical, emotional and spiritual well-being during the week. This means that they make sure campers get up on time for Morning Watch, go to their activities, eat nutritious meals three times a day, and go to sleep at a reasonable hour. But what else do they do?
- Every morning before the campers wake up at 7:30, counselors go to a divisional meeting or all-staff Bible study.
- They prepare and teach a small-group Bible Exploration lesson each day.
- They teach or assist in two or three activities, ranging from Crafts to Outdoor Cookery to Sailing (and more).
- They lead a cookout once a week by helping campers plan a meal and cook it over a campfire. Campers get very creative with their cookouts!
- They are in charge of their table during meal times, making sure that campers eat well, and they help lead singing during meals.
- They plan Cabin Time! Cabin Time is a chance for each cabin group to do an activity together. This can be counselor dress-up, making lanyards or friendship bracelets, planning for a cabin sleep-out at one of our lean-tos, or swimming (among other activities).
- They plan divisional evening programs, including two songfests and campfires a week, and help to plan one week of all-camp activities based on the theme for the week.
- They hold devotions every night, and at least two nights a week, they are on Divisional Watch until 11 pm.
- They do paperwork. From writing postcards home to taking attendance every day to checking off equipment lists, there is a lot of paperwork that comes with being on staff!
- In addition, all staff members are certified in CPR and First Aid, and many are certified in Lifeguarding or other activities like Archery or Riflery.
Whew! Does that sound like a lot? It does to us!
All staff members are vital to helping camp run, but the counselors are the backbone of Camp Cedarbrook’s operations. This year, we have 16 counselors; seven are returning counselors, and nine are new. They’re from all over the country – as close as upstate New York and as far away as Mississippi, Indiana, and California – and most are in college.
Because of American Camp Association Standards, we have maximum ratios for cabin and tent groups: 6:1 for 6 to 8-year-olds, 8:1 for 9 to 14-year-olds, and 10:1 for campers who are 15 and older. Our enrollment is necessarily limited by the number of staff we can hire. Next year, we have a goal of hiring four more counselors – one extra for each division. This would allow us to add 30 new campers a week!
We would like to hire more program and support staff as well. In total, we have 42 staff members, making our overall ratio 3:1. This would allow us to give our counseling staff more support and time off, since, as you just read, they do so much already. In particular, we would like to hire a Wilderness Trip Assistant and a Maintenance Assistant. This year, one of the counselors has gone on the Wilderness Trip every week, leaving the counseling team a member short.
And while no one works at camp for the money, we also want to pay our staff more. Higher salaries would ensure that new staff members turn into returning staff members and that our returning staff members keep returning.
What do you say? Want to take on the CEDARBROOK CHALLENGE? Want to invest in our staff so that they can invest in your daughters? We are looking for 50 new recurring donors to the the Next Generation fund. You can set up your donation here.