Alright, this is going a bit far. I just read an article about a dad that keeps an eye on his daughter with a drone as she walks to school. Are you kidding me! George Jetson even dropped his kids, Elroy and Judy, off at school. He did have a robot for a maid, which is not a bad idea. I won’t even venture toward counselor robots! I used to think that my children should all ride the bus, mostly because I had to ride it myself into high school, until I inherited an old chevy truck. My wife had other ideas and we drove our children to school and she was right. It was a great time to chat and spend time with them as the day begins and you help set the tone for the day with them in those few minutes. It’s good bonding time and they grow up too fast and soon are driving themselves (prayers forward).
This prompted my thoughts about camp counselors and spending time with children and getting to know them in their time with us. It’s essential and I’ll tell you why. Supervision is key in the camp setting. As you know, campers are not allowed to roam about Gwynn Valley without a staff member present. Staff are ever present going to and from all activities and the cabin. On the theme of supervision, visualize three circles that overlap one another forming a sort of a triangle.
The first circle is Understanding Me! What type of counselor do I want to be. There are lots of distractions at camp but campers are our primary focus and staff should put camper needs ahead their own. Whenever staff have down time, not off time, it’s important to actively supervise your campers. Staff should be engaged with them, playing with them and watching over them. We coach and guide with quality. There are going to be times when campers need what we call unstructured free play, but staff should have eyes and ears on during those times.
The second circle is Understanding Environment! This means knowing the physical space where you supervise. To really do a good job of supervision, you need a line of sight and line of sound. Ideally you need both but there are times that you can’t have both and you need sound and your listening antennae up. That means supervising (listening) during bathroom, shower and at changing areas. We encourage staff to pay attention to transition times between activities and other times, down time and of course night time (have a bag of tricks, entertainment and games handy).
The third circle and most important is Understanding Others! Of course this is understanding the camper, their perspectives, who they are, where they come from, their needs and seeing how their personality fits into the cabin/activity group. What campers need to know is that a staff member is interested in who they are and gets to know that child while they are here. Staff get input beyond howzitgoin? This is easy in a 24/7 residential setting. We see very similar behaviors most of the time that you as parents see at home. I’ve said this before, but our job is to partner with you as parents and uphold the character and behavior standards that you expect at home. And… we do have that cool advantage, because camp staff are 99% cooler than parents.
So take those three circles and intersect them as described above and what you get in the middle is a great leader, a star staff member, and one who is well respected among campers and other staff. It’s not an easy job, but when you’re doing your job well, it can be the best job in the world. So…..drones aren’t such a bad idea because every counselor is a drone here at Gwynn Valley. Looking forward to seeing you soon.