• Brit In The Six

Common Mistakes Made By First Time Counsellors



When you arrive at summer camp you are filled with excitement, and you come out all guns blazing. But, what you need to remember is that summer camp is a marathon and not a sprint. These are 9 common mistakes many camp counsellors make in their first summer on the job. I am laying it all out for you here, so you do not make the same mistakes (some of which I definitely did).


Calling home too much

When you arrive in a new environment, you try and grasp onto something familiar. Calling home and speaking to someone who knows you can be a comfort blanket, but do not get sucked in so much that you miss out on all the fun. Being in two minds between calling home all the time and kind of participating in camp life could really hinder your summer camp experience.


Being a recluse

I know for a fact that the summer camp atmosphere can be overwhelming, but take that leap and jump into the wild. Do not make the mistake of missing out because you are unsure, or missing out on a story because you did not want to look silly. Get out of your comfort shell, and embrace this adventure you signed up for.


Not having those comfort snacks

Now I know summer camps provide food, and too much of it at times, but there is nothing better than your favourite snack that you know hits the spot. For me, I pack tea bags from home, so every morning I can have a taste of home.


Don’t let time pass you by

Do not say I have got time to do that, because time flies by and you do not want to miss out on anything. I made this mistake personally, and actually did not get around to many activities my first year and definitely regretted it. Luckily for me, I have returned for many years and crossed those activities off my list.


Letting your ego get the better of you

Yes it is a job, however it is more than your usual 9-5. You are working and living in the same place. There is no need to zap the fun out of it, as after all summer camp is a place to have fun. So learn to laugh at yourself, and let go a little.


Not sleeping enough

You are trying to hold onto this experience with both hands but you could be burning the candle at both ends. Camps are designed to seize every day, but you need to let your body and mind recover with sleep. Make good choices and do not stay up at the campfire until 3am EVERY night and then be ready for the next day’s wake up.


Not staying hydrated

You are out in the sun all day, moving, playing and sweating. You need to make sure you are replenishing your body’s fluids so that you are healthy and strong for the long summer camp contract.

Doing something risky that could get you fired

You might look cool, but you are just booking yourself a one-way ticket back home. When your camp contract ends so does your summer, so do not make a mistake to make it end prematurely.


Not being contactable after the summer

You have just made friends from all over the world and the end of the season rolls around. People are asking how to stay in contact: social media handles, etc. But you are “too cool for that.” It’s not a problem, it's just that social media makes it easy to keep that connection all year long, not just the summer.