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Cameron Smith / Her Campus

Things I Learned from Being a Camp Counsellor

For three years in high school, I spent my summers working as a camp counsellor, one year at a day camp and two at an overnight camp. During this experience, I learned many valuable lessons and skills that have continued to help me in my everyday life. 

1. The importance of putting down your phone

Ever since I got a cell phone in middle school, I have been addicted to it. I am constantly checking my texts and various forms of social media. When I worked at camp, specifically overnight camp, I no longer had the option to go on my phone. The phone service was sketchy at best and we were not allowed to be on our phones around campers. Although it was challenging at first, I eventually came to appreciate just being able to take in my surroundings and spending quality time with the people around me.  Once I learned that it actually was possible for me to spend less time on my phone, I try to continue doing this to limit my screen time and enjoy everything around me. 

2. Working and communicating with other people

At the camp I worked at, there were other counsellors of all ages and from various countries and backgrounds. Because of this, I ended up working and becoming friends with people I usually would not have had the opportunity to even meet. Being able to work effectively with individuals with so many different views and experiences allowed me to improve on my own communication skills and also learn from the other individuals. 

3. How to make any situation seem fun

When working at an overnight camp especially, the campers would often not want to do “boring” activities such as cleaning the cabin. In these situations, I would have to act enthusiastic and be creative with making games out of the situation to ensure that everything got completed. From doing this, I learned how to apply these skills to my own life and be more positive when doing activities that I don’t necessarily want to do. Although it’s not always possible to enjoy doing everything you do, trying to look at it a different way has helped me finish tasks without looking at it as much like a chore. 

4. How to step outside my comfort zone

Growing up, I was always pretty shy and liked keeping to myself. However, once I started working at camp, I constantly found myself in situations where I would have to be in positions in leadership or in situations where I would have to be louder through leading cheers and other activities. I would also find myself constantly meeting new people, and as a result, having to start conversations. Although uncomfortable at first, I was able to get used to putting myself out there, and I found that it actually helped me become much more confident in myself. 

These are only a few examples of lessons I learned at camp that I have found applicable in my daily life. I hope that some of these things I have learned from my camp counsellor experience will help you too! 


Erin O'Rourke

Wilfrid Laurier '22

Erin is a fourth year Psychology Major with a Minor in Statistics.
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