You may be wondering what to look for when hiring camp counselors. Here are a few admirable qualities to look for in a college student aspiring to be a camp counselor...
Teachable spirit: This is the number one quality essential for developing your summer staff. Having young and energetic people to fill your camp will not be enough if they are not willing and open to learning from you and others around them. College students that fit this mold will exude a humble, yet confident, character.
Energetic: Campers explode with energy when they get to camp and the fire does not burn out until the car ride home at the end of the week. High energy college students are essential to have around and stay one step ahead of those clever and fun loving campers.
Selflessness: Learning how to serve others and your campers will make the camp environment a pleasant one to be part of. When you have a staff with college students whose primary purpose is to be with campers 24 hours a day 7 days a week and not to find that perfect someone from the other side of camp, you can't go wrong. How do you know if they are there for the campers? Simple... Ask why they want to work at a camp. Their answer should reflect a passion to work with children in some capacity.
Creativity: Finding new ways to have fun in unique situations is what camp is all about. When the schedule is changed last minute, or a situation changes, you want to be able to rely on your staff to pool together thoughts to create a new and still exciting way to go through the camp day or activities. This will also help them feel ownership over the activity and they will feel more a part of camp life.
Beyond reproach: You want your staff to have a maturity level that is beyond reproach. Trustworthy, honest, and having the best interest of the camp and the campers in the forefront of their mind is how you want you counselors to approach every situation. Parents trust their prized possessions in their care. Knowing you would trust them with their own children is a good sign that parents will also feel confident placing their trust in your staff.
Finding these characteristics can easily be done during an interview, either in person or over the phone. When interviewing a perspective counselor you can learn as much about their answer as you can from the way they answered it. Body language and tone of voice can reveal many things. Potential questions when interviewing college students might include:
1) Tell me a bit about yourself.
2) What attracted you to our camp?
3) What are two strengths that you feel relate to the job you are applying for.
4) What is your greatest weakness?
5) Can you describe a time in which a situation was changed and you had to make light of the circumstances.
In addition to questions you pose to the applicant, describing hypothetical situations and asking how they might handle the situation is essential to see their train of thought and how they might handle questionable situations.
Answers to these questions might also reveal how they view the chain of command. In addition to written applications and personal interviews, references are an invaluable resource to use. Previous employers and character references may give light to good and bad characteristics that written work and personal interviews might not.
There are many other admirable qualities that are not mentioned here but will add to your camp environment in a positive way. These are just a few suggestions we have of what characteristics to look for in college students and how to find them.