Breaks between camp sessions are always a time to recharge and mostly sleep getting ready for the next session but it also gives you a chance to think back over the session and how it went. We have just finished our second session of the summer and tomorrow our 3rd group arrives. It is always exciting starting a new session because you don’t know what the kids are going to be like and it is never like the last session. It is always a new experience. This job is probably the hardest thing you will ever do but there is something about it that keeps bringing people back for more, whether it is that hug you get off a fellow counselor telling you ‘you got this’ or seeing a camper get on the climbing wall even though they are scared of heights or the little thank yous you get along the way, it is one of the most rewarding jobs you will ever do. It may not seem like it at the time but when you think back on the day or the session you will see why you put yourself through it.
I won’t lie and say my past 2 sessions have been easy because they certainly haven’t. Starting at a new camp always comes with challenges as you have to get to know new people and their style of work and also how the camp runs, what you can and can’t do and I feel like for the past 2 sessions that is what has been happening for me. We have been going through a teething stage and I am hoping we are finally out of it now. Each of my first 2 sessions brought with them different challenges from campers to personal problems but I got through it. My first session was spent with the most amazing Co in Thumper who was just the best. We worked so well together and our different styles of counselling just meshed so well together to make it an amazing session even if we did feel like the world was falling around us as we tried to navigate our first session at camp when nothing really goes to plan. Session 2 came along and I was soloing which brought it’s own challenges and caused me to slightly doubt whether I was cut out for this job. Being the only counsellor that the campers had meant I felt like I was always nagging them, I had to be the good and the bad guy and it was hard to try and find that balance. I had a great adopted Co in Finn who would try and help where she could whether it be sitting at our table for meals or being with the girls on my breaks. I got through the week with the help from all my fellow counsellors who were amazing and their support kind of helped me out of my funk, they helped imensley even if they didn’t know they were doing it. From watching my cabin when I wanted to change to just giving me a hug when they saw I was having a bad day, they were amazing.
As the title of this post suggests at camp the emotions are just always flying, I think it is a combination of lack of sleep and always trying to be positive for the kids that when the day ends it all comes out. I don’t think I have ever cried so much in such a short period and over the smallest things. As I said I was having doubts about whether I was cut out for this job during my first session and then during my second session which meant that any little thing that happend caused me to go off. I am an emtional person anyway so I just automantically go to crying, even though I hate it. I am the type of person who goes off and cries by myself and doesn’t like to talk about it which frustrates some people who I know are just trying to help. These emotions frustrated me because I knew I could do it, I have done it before but yet I still had this niggling feeling inside me. I spent many nights staring out at the crashing waves just crying my emotions out. I had some great crying buddies in TicTac and Thumper who were always there if I needed anything. I got through it though , I let it all out and I started the next day anew.
I am not writing this to scare anyone away from being a camp counsellor, it is one of the best jobs you will ever do and you will meet the most amazing people (you know who you are <3) but camp emotions are just something you should know about. Just from the nature of the job you will become more emotional at the smallest things and just know that it is okay and you can do it. Help your fellow counsellors out because you are all a team. Give someone a random hug ( try get to 15 a day) , tell someone they are doing a great job, ask someone if they are okay or need help, tell someone you will watch there cabin for 5 mins so they can go outside and get some air/scream/dance about. Even doing something as small as this can make someones day at camp and can cause a bad day to turn good. You are all a team and need each other to make the summer great!!
So to any of my fellow counsellors who are reading this just know that you are awesome and are doing a great job, even though it may not feel like it all the time, you are killing it.