Tom Sawyer Camps

Summer Camp Counselor

June - August 2019 • La Cañada Flintridge, CA

What I liked

I am an IES major so this is just another way to gain experience with children of all ages in a more fun way. Although a lot of my fieldwork observations for my college courses require me to be in the classroom, this is another way for me to engage with children of all ages. Gaining this experience with interaction and discipline can be applied to my future goal of being a classroom teacher. Along with that it didn't feel like work! Whenever someone asked me about my summer job I told them that I was getting paid to rock climb, windsurf, and go on high ropes courses, all while hanging out with a great group of kids and working with some of my best friends. I honestly would have been fine doing my job without getting paid and most of the time I forgot I was.

What I wish was different

I wish it lasted longer than it did. But in a more serious note, the staff is very close together, including my supervisions. This can then lead to tension between senior veteran members and their newly appointed supervisors. Not everyone agrees sometimes as how to handle certain situations. The supervisors, or directors end up making the final call but Senior counselors sometimes feel as if they have better judgement or experience. There is also a lot of joking around that goes on and at times could come at inappropriate times. Sometimes a supervisor is frustrated with their staff or simply having a bad day and getting jokes from their staff never puts them in a good place. Ends up making staff meetings and relations awkward. Also since it is a small staff, and everyone is very social, it can sometimes feel like a gossipy toxic, and dramatic environment. I love the light heartedness that is camp but at times people need to be more professional to avoid this unnecessary conflict.


I would say that there is no such thing as a 'bad kid'. Sure you may have a kid in your group that isn't the best at listening or needs to be disciplined more than other children, that doesn't make them a bad kid. The piece of advice I would offer is that try to see the best in people and be more empathetic towards your friends, family, or students if you are an aspiring teacher, like me. People have lives outside of the small increments that you interact with them. Most of the time when a child is acting out at camp, it is due to things at home or other factors playing in. They just need to be heard, they just ned to know that you are there for them if they need someone to talk to. Give them jobs, make them feel as if they are an important part of the group, They are used to being labeled as trouble makers at school and home, camp is a place for them to be themselves and have fun while doing it.
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