Do you have what it takes to be an excellent summer daycare or camp counselor? For example, you may have an outgoing personality and excellent communication skills. In addition, you may be good with children of all ages and have leadership abilities.
However, this could also be the most challenging job you will ever have, and it will teach you a lot of amazing things. But you could be better, and the list below gives you some great suggestions on how to turn your summer daycare or camp counselor experience up a notch and make it the best time for everyone involved.
1 – Have Your Priorities Straight – The Children Come First
You probably haven’t had to look after anyone other than yourself for most of your life. However, this summer, that will change. You will become the person all the young campers will turn to for various problem-solving reasons. Here’s how you make them understand that you have got their backs:
Wake up before the campers. This early rising gives you time to physically and mentally prepare for the day. Then wake everyone else up in a way that sets a fun and upbeat tone for the day.
Make daily connections with each participant. Ask how they are doing, if they need anything to make their experience better, or anything else to show you care and listen to their answers.
Keep conversations with other counselors about the camp or summer daycare. Campers who hear things about your plans away from them make them think you don’t like being there.
Write encouraging notes to campers on those days when they need a bit of support. It shows you care and that you are paying attention when they need to survive summer camp.
2 – Give Their Parents A Good Impression
Although meeting with parents may feel awkward and seem like part of the job that isn’t all that important, you must remember that parents are leaving the most crucial part of their lives in your hands. They are putting trust in you although they don’t know you. So the least you can do is make an effort to impress them as it will reduce any anxiety they may have. Here’s how to do that:
Practice good personal grooming at all times. Take daily showers and look neat, tidy, and clean. Look them in the eye. They will notice the work you put into it.
Focus the conversation on their child and ask things related to them. For example, ask what they hope their child gains from camp and if there are new skills they would like their child to pick up. Remember your conversation. If you get another chance to speak with parents, follow up on the things discussed, which shows you were paying attention to them the first time.
3 – Be A Five-Star Employee
If you have the right attitude about work and a solid work ethic, you will receive great comments in your evaluation at the end of summer daycare or camp. In addition, if you are seeking letters of recommendation for future job searches, being the best camp counselor you can be will help you secure these all-important documents that can help you build your future. Try these tips:
Impress your camp director by asking the right questions. Is there anything else I can do? How can I become a better camp counselor? Simple questions that can lead to great answers.
Be flexible in your goals. There is nothing wrong with seeing yourself as the camp director one day, but you have to remember that you must work your way up to that point over time.
4 – Plan The Ending First
Before your first day at camp, ask yourself this: How do you want to be remembered by your campers, co-workers, and employers? Then, when you have an answer, you are happy with what can be achieved, write it down and refer to it often. This note should help you stay on track and focused on why you are there. For example:
Work with your fellow counselors and camp director to create a fun and productive work atmosphere that keeps everyone focused on why they are there. Use it to keep grounded and in control.
Connect with a fellow camp counselor or the camp director to act as your accountability partner. Have them call you out when you stray from your overall camp counselor goal.
5 – Do Not Skip The Self-Care
It is quite a juggling act watching over campers and staying mentally and physically healthy. But it would be best if you found ways to keep yourself in good shape at summer camp. Self-care will help you stay strong, but it will prove to be something you will need from time to time to keep your head in the game. Here are a few tips:
Start with the right amount of sleep. It will be tempting to stay up all night visiting, but rest will be more important to you now, considering you have campers looking to you as an example.
Stay away from alcohol. Even if your camp does not have an alcohol policy, don’t use that as an excuse to let loose. Your reputation is at stake, as is your job, believe it or not.
Find your happy place. Find something or somewhere to help recharge yourself. Use it when you need it, and you will stay sharp.
Becoming a summer daycare or camp counselor who stands out takes extra work but is worth it. All you need to do is apply some effort and concentrate on a few key things. The list above should give you some valuable insight into ways to reach your goal.
Being a summer daycare or camp counselor is an essential job as you will be responsible for making a camp experience interesting for participants. In addition, by showing you care about how their summer goes, you will exhibit good quality traits that can help lead you to bigger and better things in the future.
Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool.