Summer Camp Staff Manual - Counselling


Camper Registration

Campers will process through registration immediately on arrival at camp. All campers do not arrive at the same time, thus some Counsellors will be assigned soon after lunch, while others will experience a time of waiting. During this waiting time the Counsellor may be assigned to a related or unrelated task. If no responsibility is assigned, please use this time to study the camp programme and remain in the close proximity to registration.

Camper Counsellor Assignments

The Counsellor may have all campers assigned simultaneously, or there may be a delay between assignments. Either way, proceed as follows with each camper:

  1. Introduce yourself and any other campers who you may have with you. Make the camper feel appreciated.
  2. Go immediately to the cabin and help the camper select a bunk, make their bed, locate their personal items (clothing on hangers, etc.). Check their clothes for markings to identify them. Next, talk in a happy positive way about the cabin. Describe it enthusiastically.
  3. Explore the camp area, locating restrooms, dining room, buildings, etc. Explain the camp rules in a positive way. Make it sound interesting, not restrictive.
  4. Win the camper’s confidence for yourself and for the camp. 
    Begin your Christian influence:
    a) Campers led to Christ will be won by Counsellor.
    b) Counsellor’s personal life will have a great influence.
    c) Teach them to know Christ for themselves - you will not be able to go with them after camp.
  5. After you have your full assignment, utilise remaining time before supper with a grand tour of the camp or if some activities are open, allow the campers to choose and play. (Let the majority rule all, all must stay together).
  6. Be a good listener.
  7. Co-ordinate all home calls with Boys’ and Girls’ Director and Secretary.
  8. Adorn yourself with a positive Christian attitude.
  9. GUARD AGAINST SUNBURN - (Campers Care Kit - "Slip, Slop, Slap" T shirt, Sunscreen, Hat).




  1. Responsible for the total well-being of each camper’s health, safety and mental, social, and emotional integrity.
  2. Minister to the spiritual development of these campers: that each may know Christ as Saviour and grow in every area of living unto Him.

Specific Tasks

  1. Responsible for a group of 8-10 campers 24 hours per day, 6 days per week.  At all times know location of each camper.  Never leave your campers unattended.
  2. Responsible for health, safety, and personal belongings of campers assigned.
  3. Welcome campers upon arrival.  Assign a bunk and introduce to other campers.
  4. Supervise assigned campers in all activities, all day.
  5. Supervise assigned campers in dining hall.
  6. Assist campers in the morning:  getting up, washing, etc.
  7. Be in cabin at all times that campers are there and enforce cabin discipline.
  8. Be prompt with group at all camp activities.  Sit in middle of and supervise assigned campers at all activities.
  9. Help campers write to parents and friends.
  10. Help campers select free time activities.
  11. Assist instructors during class time.
  12. Develop system of cabin cleanup involving all assigned campers.
  13. Do all that you can to help campers have a good time.
  14. Watch constantly for opportunities to help campers grow spiritually and socially.  Make opportunities to personally counsel with each camper.
  15. Become familiar with and obey all Camp rules and regulations; questions or disagreements should only be discussed privately with the Girls’/Boys’ Director.
  16. Report symptoms of ill health to the Nurse during announced sick call.
  17. Counsel with the Girls’/Boys’ Director regarding campers needs and refer for special needs.
  18. Lead daily cabin devotions both morning and evening.
  19. Never use physical punishment.  It might involve you or the camp in legal difficulties.
  20. Supervise final cabin cleanup, check lost and found with campers.
  21. Make a report of spiritual progress of campers for home church follow-up.  (See following page).


To Self: Make of yourself what you want others to think you are.

To The Director:

  1. Loyalty.
  2. Efficient, prompt, and capable handling of work.
  3. Energy and willingness to work.
  4. Co-operation and enthusiasm.
  5. Observation of all rules, including health and safety.
  6. Promptness.
  7. Cheerful spirit and friendly attitude.
  8. Good conduct, in and out of camp.
  9. Make no requests for special favours or privileges.
  10. Acceptance of training for job hired to do.
  11. Be a good advertisement for your camp — and for your Lord.

To Other Staff Members:

  1. Co-operation and assistance in their work.
  2. Respect for their privacy, equipment, etc.
  3. Friendliness, tact, patience, and loyalty.
  4. Avoidance of criticism of people, camp policies, etc.
  5. Open-minded attitude about favours.
  6. Sharing with them answers to prayer and results of their ministry.
  7. Avoid cliques; be friendly to everyone.
  8. Avoid competing with others for popularity among the campers.
  9. Demonstrate oneness and unity in Christ. "All men (and all campers) will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 12:35.

To The Parents:

  1. Notifies them in case of sickness, after clearing with Camp Director/Girls’ or Boys’ Director.
  2. Report to parents, if necessary; help campers to write home.
  3. Show interest in the child’s development and well-being.

To The Camper:

  1. Friendly and impartial to all, regardless of behaviour.
  2. Agreeable, firm, makes reasonable requests.
  3. Helps campers uphold camp traditions and ideals.
  4. Refrains from discussing camp policies with camper.
  5. Respects camper’s ideas and abilities.
  6. Is aware of camper’s welfare
  7. Enjoys camp experience with camper.
  8. Demonstrates exemplary conduct to camper.
  9. Corresponds with camper after camp concludes. 
  10. Show them a zest for life.
  11. Demonstrate to campers the abundant Christian life they hear about, but may have never seen.


After the Camp is Over:

The Counsellor who has remained close to his unit all during camp, doing his best to be a real friend, will find himself endeared to the group. Before the last day of camp, it would be nice to get the addresses and ages of all the members in your unit and occasionally write them a note or email them. If they have joined the baptismal class, a Counsellor can encourage them by letter to carry out their conviction. A card at Christmas is appreciated by the youth.  Being in the hero-worship stage; boys and girls appreciate any attention paid them by an adult whom they like and respect. The effort and time consumed on the part of the Counsellor will be rewarded and only eternity will reveal the results.

To Be A Camp Counsellor

You must be able:

  • To witness the dramatic trauma as junior eats a bite of apricots.
  • To wade through the cabin to your side of the room.
  • To await the weekend back rub in exchange for a week of 159 piggyback rides.
  • To hit the cool water after an hour and fifteen minutes of lifeguarding in the hot sun.
  • To look down into a pair of eyes, looking up, whose owner says, "Can I be in your cabin next year?"
  • To learn and find out just how much you didn’t know.
  • To find out you can actually do it and even enjoy working.
  • To take a shower in cold water.
  • To climb into bed at 12:45 am and suddenly remember your sheets are in the dryer.
  • To put a junior’s fork in the glass and find out it won’t let go.
  • To fight the temptation to tell monster stories.
  • To take time out of a Bible study to spell "missionary" for a junior.
  • To walk back to your cabin in soggy shoes.
  • To sit on a piece of sticky chocolate pudding.
  • To hear at 2:00 am, "I gotta go to the bafroom".
  • To pray with your fellow Counsellor after a good day and also give thanks to the One who deserves it.
  • To sit on the beach and let the waves splash thoughts to think about into your mind.
  • To look back on a week of camp and want to do it over again.
  • To find your cabin door locked and reach for your pants’ pocket only to realize you’re wearing swimmers.
  • To not want to waste one of the most fantastic summers, ever, sleeping, but knowing you need it anyway.
  • To hear your camper say, "Am I your brother now?" and remain happy, cheerful and loving.

By Marty Dehnam
Junior Counsellor
Sambica, 1977

Used by permission of: Christian Camping, Int., Somonauk, III 60552 1978 issue.

The Counsellor’s Relationship To The Daily Program

Line Call

Line call is essential to a well-ordered camp. There are good reasons for this. It is necessary to get the campers all assembled in one place in order to carry on activities. Checking up on attendance and promptness is facilitated by line calls. Every unit captain is called upon to report for his unit at every line call, indicating whether all are present. This prevents campers from becoming separated from their units and may forestall some unfortunate experiences.
When the whistle blows, the captain should be at the right of each unit. Every Counsellor should be standing behind the unit — as specified by Summer Camp Director/Girls’ or Boys’ Director. There are to be no exceptions to this unless the Counsellor is excused by the Summer Camp Director/Girls’ or Boys’ Director. This order of things lends importance and dignity to what otherwise might seem of little significance. When there is a tendency for some campers to become dizzy or faint when standing still at length, the Summer Camp Director/Girls’ or Boys’ Director or the person in charge should always exercise caution not to keep the youth on the line longer than absolutely necessary.

Morning Devotions

Every Counsellor is expected to lead out in morning devotions with his/her campers. This will be held by units prior to flag rising. The Counsellor may lead out in a chorus or give an explanation of the Morning Watch text or go over a section of the Sabbath School lesson and then have prayer. A good goal for a unit is, "Read the Bible every, and meet Satan in Christ’s way."
Campers should be taught to assume reverent attitudes in prayer at all times. There are several ways in which prayer can be conducted to make it attractive to the camper. The main thing is that the children learn to talk to our heavenly Father. If one seems especially shy or reticent about praying aloud, he/she may be encouraged privately.

Stay Ahead Of The Campers In The Daily Program

The Counsellor must stay a jump ahead of the campers. When the rising bell blows, Counsellors should be fully dressed, toilet completely performed, bed made, and belongings arranged in the demonstration of inspection standards. Then at the sound of the bell he/she is ready to wake up any sleepyheads, greet their charges, and get them off to a cheerful day. Keep alert and ahead of the campers in the entire day’s program.

Table Etiquette

We may rough it and put up with simple living at camp, but it is no place to let down on table manners. As in everything else, Counsellors set the example. Campers are hearty eaters, and no attempt on the part of the Counsellor should be made to limit servings unless it is because of limited supply or where the camper is obviously overeating to the detriment of his health.
All should eat dessert together and be excused simultaneously.
Counsellors should see to the observance of dining hall rules and procedures.

Sabbath School Lesson

The Counsellor should see that their unit never fails in the daily study of the Sabbath School Lesson while at camp. Campers can be encouraged to form this habit if it has not been acquired already. The best time is during the first few minutes of rest period, when the Counsellor can discuss a portion of the Sabbath School Lesson with his/her unit. The Counsellor may find some other time to be more advantageous, the important thing is to develop the daily study habit.

Evening Prayer

At night when the campers are getting ready for bed, their Counsellor should be with them. When ready, the group must be quieted down for prayer. A good practice is for the Counsellor or one of the campers to offer audible prayer, and then all remain on their knees for their private prayers and quietly slip into bed as they finish. And youth, from the smallest to the largest, appreciate having the Counsellor go around saying goodnight to them individually, and saying some little word to them. Some children are accustomed to having this done at home, and so it may offset homesickness.

Rest Period

The Counsellor must be in the cabin or with the unit. This should be a good hour for the camper. It need not be a time of strict, harsh, silence. A good plan is to allow writing, reading, soft talking, or small handcrafts for the first half hour, then total rest for the last half hour. It should be quiet enough so that if someone wants to sleep, they will be able to.

Pointers For The Successful Counsellor

Some Points To Forget

  1. Forget all the mistakes campers have made in the past and help the offenders become good Christians.
  2. Forget the uncomplimentary things you have heard about campers. Start this week as though you have the best campers in the world.
  3. Forget that you are underpaid.
  4. Forget your TV set, your radio, etc.
  5. Forget self. Apologize if you need to.

Some Points To Remember

  1. Remember that even the worst campers you have are probably the best their parents have.
  2. Remember that you are an ideal in dress, grooming, mannerisms, and in your Christian standards.
  3. Remember that being proud of your church is noticeable. You are its best advertisement.
  4. Remember that words cannot be recalled. The wounds they cause can be permanent.
  5. Remember to be fair. Campers are quick to sense unfairness.
  6. Remember to listen. Campers should have opportunities to express themselves.
  7. Remember to be cheerful. A smile is contagious and good humour is a friend to cultivate.
  8. Remember to keep your temper under control.
  9. Remember to be courteous.
  10. Remember God is an ever-present help. Pray without ceasing.

First Day

Remember to learn your campers’ names immediately. Inform them of what you expect and take a real interest in getting them set for the week. Show them how to make their beds neatly. Be friendly, pleasant and expectant that you will have fun and adventure together.
Remember to begin developing a pride and group spirit in your cabin. Do special things together - an exploratory hike, an adventure.


Remember that you can do much to foster interest in the camp nature program and learn on your own.
Try some of these suggestions:

  1. Mark off 1 metre square on the ground. Write down everything observed. An earthworm? Where does he live?What does he eat? Do birds really eat him? See the naturalist for answers
  2. Now, look as far away as you can. Find something between themselves and the horizon to talk about or tell about. What makes clouds? The difference between trees at the top of the hill and the bottom? What can we learn?
  3. Listen and watch at dawn or dusk, what is different about night sounds and day sounds?
  4. Learn to see and hear with your campers. Ask the Nature Department for more ideas.


We believe that Summer Camps contribute uniquely to the growth and development of the kind of persons we hope our campers will become. We want to encourage them to be capable of good judgement, to establish firm beliefs, to gain new and warm friendships, to learn to work effectively and play with their fellows and to make worthy contributions to the communities to which they belong. 

Camping has lately been considered as a most vital adjutant to a child’s growth and development and ranks in importance with his schooling. It is also considered to be a very valuable growth experience for Counsellors. The following suggestions will be helpful to all Counsellors who desire to be a real guidance and direction to their boys and girls:

  1. Be ever mindful of the necessity for "fun". Happy campers seldom become problems.
  2. If you are teaching a new skill, be thorough, but use an informal, friendly manner rather than a dry, bookish one.
  3. Campers do not really enjoy slovenly, careless standards of conduct and they will soon lose respect for a leader who tolerates such laxness.
  4. Recognize that a request gets better response than an order. However, when an order is found necessary, it must be enforced.
  5. Give praise freely, when deserved, but if used too often or for mediocre performance, it loses all value.
  6. Avoid nagging and excessive fussiness about detail. Such tactics incline to take the heart right out of people and make them stop trying. Never resort to sarcasm.
  7. Foresee an impending problem and avert it if you can. If Johnny is chanting the disagreeableness of spinach, do not wait until the whole table is lamenting their pet dislikes, but quietly remind Johnny, "We talk only about pleasant things at the table." Or, "I’m sure glad we got pizza to go with the spinach".
  8. Avoid public scenes whenever possible. A bawling out before others hurts camper’s pride and makes him react by: 1) giving up and crawling off to stop trying or 2) growing resentful and intent on revenge. Give the erring camper a chance to "save face" by seemingly ignoring his misdemeanour in public.
  9. In dealing with temper, the main thing is that you remain calm yourself. Take the child away from the anger-provoking situation, let anger run its course, and when he is ready, let him return to the group. Plan a time later on to discuss emotional upsets with him, but don’t let him feel that they are unnatural or make him different from the others.
  10. Never Use Physical Punishment. It seldom brings about the desired result. It might involve you or the camp in legal difficulties for any physical or emotional damage that ensues.
  11. Understand and use the force of group pressure and group opinion. There is danger in letting campers entirely rule themselves, for they can be cruel and go to extremes of retribution when judging each other. This is why it is imperative that every Counsellor be with his unit at all times.
  12. The best Counsellors will be with their unit in all of its activities as much as possible.
  13. Use disciplinary measures sparingly and only when you are convinced that it is in the best interest of the child and not out of spite or in an effort to save your own pride. Punishment is so easy to administer and gets such quick and sure results (outwardly, at least) that it is often misused. The superior Counsellor handles his group so skilfully that disciplinary problems seldom occur. Always inform the Summer Camp Director/Girls’ or Boys’ Director of disciplinary measures contemplated.

All of these things cannot happen over night, but if the Counsellor is aware of the opportunity, even a little bit of progress in any of these areas will prove valuable to the camper.

One thing is absolutely imperative, and that is for the Counsellor to remain with the camper at all times. You cannot leave the campers to do a job and then go off some other place to enjoy yourself or to do something else. They will expect to be with you and you will expect to be with them. As you enter, together, into all activities, working together, playing together, and praying together, you will achieve these high objectives that have been set forth. If you fail in other area, do not fail to lead the child to a closer relationship with Christ and His church.
Should problems occur within the cabin, they should first be brought to the Girls’ Director or Boys’ Director, then to the Summer Camp Director.   The Camp Pastor will endeavour to counsel with as many members of all cabins as is humanly possible. The names of those who are not baptized should be brought to the Camp Pastor so that he will have a chance to visit them and work with them in a special way.

Camper Health

Out of necessity, we must be very strict in the matter of the health of the camp. Nothing else can so thoroughly spoil the camping experience. Take any camper to the nurse who is in need of any sort of medical attention. (Telling him/her to go is not enough). It isn’t advisable for you to administer any first aid (unless you are away from the camp on a hike), since the nurse is in camp for that purpose. Strive at all times for cleanliness around and in your cabin. Urge campers to deposit paper and scraps in the receptacles provided. Stress very strongly the importance of using the toilet facilities in the interest of camp sanitation.

Necessary Items

  1. Knowledge of the physical condition of each camper - study your medical forms! (You will be given a computer printout listing all medical conditions of your campers).
  2. Do not hesitate to take campers to the nurse.
  3. Check elimination and cleanliness of each camper daily. Rest period is a good time.
  4. Sleep, sleep, sleep, we all need sleep! Listlessness, apparent laziness, irritable dispositions, etc, usually indicate insufficient sleep.
  5. Keep your cabin clean and orderly - filth breeds disease.
  6. Chaffing - the campers’ woe! Be sure to tell your campers why they must dry themselves thoroughly. Keep lips covered with salve. Watch for campers developing it and treat them.
  7. Blisters - When your campers are getting dressed, check carefully for blisters. They should not be ignored.
  8. Beds - Check each camper’s bed to see that it is made properly.
  9. With younger children, the change and excitement may cause elimination problems. Be sure all is well in this area. A problem here can cause actual illness.
  10. For girls, sanitary napkins are available from Nurse. Some girls may have their first period at camp. Advise on sanitary measures, explain the matter and lessen possible embarrassment. Call on the Camp Nurse if you are hesitant.
  11. Medicines should be turned in to the Camp Nurse or
  12. Doctor for dispensing. If they are given to you to administer, be certain you are faithful. (Pick medicines up at staff worship each morning).

Some Things To Ask Yourself About Each Camper In Your Cabin

  1. Is he/she having a good time?
  2. Is he/she getting to do the things he/she really would like to do and that would be good for him/her to do?
  3. Is something bothering him/her? Have you found out what? Do you know what to do about it?
  4. Do you like him/her and feel you are his/her friend?
  5. How is he/she getting along with the other kids in the cabin? Does he/she seem to feel that he/she is really a part of the group?
  6. How is his/her health? Is there anything for which you should take him/her to the nurse? Eating? Sleeping enough? Cleanliness? Bathing? Sores? Changed clothes?
  7. Is he/she having some experiences that will help him/her to feel closer to God?
  8. Is he/she getting to do some things that make him/her feel good about himself/herself? Is he/she getting to do some things at which he/she is pretty good?
  9. Does he/she need help in improving some of his/her actions such as; table manners, doing his/her share of camp work, respecting rights of others, etc? Do you have a plan for helping him/her?
  10. Are you being the kind of person he/she might use as an example?
  11. Do you need help from the Summer Camp Director/Girls’ or Boys’ Director regarding ways to help this camper?

Tips For Counsellors

How To Handle Some Typical Camper Problems

Bed Wetting

Usually an emotional problem - sometimes physical.

  • Change from home to camp
  • Will experience self-shame - does not need ridicule of other campers.
  • Let him/her know he can trust you not to treat him abnormally.
  • Help him/her build his own self-confidence.
  • Don’t baby him or mother him.

Things to do:

  • Make sure he/she goes to the toilet before bedtime.
  • Don’t let him drink anything after evening meal.
  • If he does wet the bed, take sleeping bag down to laundry when no other camper will notice.


Birthdays will be recognized by singing if you call it to the attention of the Girls’ Director or Boys’ Director.


  • Craves attention.
  • Seeks peer approval.

Things to do:

  • Redirect his energies in other directions.
  • Don’t put him in authoritative position unless its part of the cabin routine and all the other campers have the same opportunity.
  • Stay around when he is in charge.
  • Speak to him alone about the problem so you don’t embarrass him.
  • Praise him for right actions.
  • Don’t tolerate violence.


Discourage the borrowing and lending of clothing.

Contraband Items

  • Firearms
  • Explosives
  • Jewellery and excessive makeup.
  • Knives
  • Playing cards
  • Matches
  • Cigarettes, drugs, narcotics etc.


Is there no time for tears? There should be. You should anticipate that there will be tears. The child needs something, probably you. Plan to take him/her where h/she can be quiet and let him/her cry. Stay with him/her if he/she wants you to. Do not apologize for him. You probably cry at times, and even Summer Camp Directors would like to. When the spasm is over, you may be told what the matter was, or you may not. "Don’t pry; try to infer." — Camp Counsellor’s Book, p.19.
If Bobby cries every time something goes wrong, he does it because he wants help and finds that tears bring you to his aid. So, tell him that when he feels like crying, all he has to do is call you and you’ll be there. Your expectation is that gradually there will be no need for tears.

Dirty Jokes Or Stories And Swearing

  • May be habitual
  • May be trying to put on a tough image.

Things to do:

  • Don’t laugh, even if it is funny, because this gives him positive reinforcement.
  • Explain that camp should provide an atmosphere for spiritual growth for the other campers.
  • Encourage long term changes.


  • Wants peer approval.
  • Little discipline at home.
  • They think they’re hard — “hot stuff”.

Discipline is: “to make a disciple of “

  • Always use reasonable discipline.
  • Insist on obedience from the first.
  • Ask your Directors for assistance.

Early Arrivals

  • ­He easily gets homesick if he is not kept involved.
  • Some campers may be willing to help with a camp maintenance assignment.

Things to do:

  • Use this time as an opportunity to get to know him well
  • Emphasize that you need to know where he is at all times
  • Have him help you move into the cabin and prepare it for the arrival of the remaining campers.
  • Give him the responsibility of helping the other campers move in.
  • Beware of this camper feeling like the Counsellor’s pet for the rest of the week.


  • Nearly every camper will miss home, but may not demonstrate it.
  • May be caused by an unstable home life and campers afraid of what may happen while he’s gone.
  • Camp may seem like the rejection of his parents to get him out of their hair.
  • May be caused by not being used to being away from home.

Things to do:

  • Recognize early signs
  • Keep camper busy with camp activities
  • Beware of letting him spend time alone
  • Use diversion activities — responsibilities
  • Have a staff member he likes talk to him
  • Discourage calls home
  • Don’t let homesickness get to be so bad that camp becomes a bad experience.

No child has ever died of homesickness, but many think they will. It is very real to the homesick one. Don’t ridicule. To tell a boy that boys don’t cry is really rather silly.
Try to engage interest in camp activity. Keep active in the group situation. Try to talk him into staying one more day and then talk again. (If he is adamant, talk with your Girls/Boys Director about a possible solution).

Try to establish a friendship with another camper.

Hot Tempered Camper

  • Keep eyes and ears open for things that cause anger.
  • Refrain your own anger
  • Let the "Heat of conflict" cool off before trying to solve the problem or to reason with the camper. Trying to solve the problem while the camper is "white hot" only creates more stress — we are not "reasonable" when angry.
  • Remove camper from the problem
  • Stay away from conflict
  • Separate physical fights — physically - instead of verbally.
  • Wait until situation has cooled off before endeavouring to solve the problem with the camper individually.
  • Decide on a reasonable punishment between you and the camper.

Hyperactive Camper

  • They may be on medication
  • Most "normal" kids are somewhat hyperactive
  • He, especially, needs much rest.

Things to do:

  • Keep him from hurting himself, i.e., pillow fights, obstacle course, etc.
  • Don’t try to wear him out — you will wear out before he does.
  • Try to keep up with him — it’s good for your heart.

Late Arrivals

Often he feels like he isn’t one of the crowd.

Things to do:

  • Introduce him to the rest of the cabin by name
  • Show him that you are glad that he is here
  • Help him make friends with other campers of common interest
  • Give him cabin responsibilities
  • Have another camper show him some of the things he has seen in camp so far.

Meal Problems

Things to do:

  • Make sure you set a proper example
  • Be positive about the food - if you are critical - so will he be.
  • Have campers wash hands before meals
  • Enter the dining room quietly
  • Expect the child to eat well and he probably will
  • Encourage your campers to try some of everything, but do not insist on such.
  • Camper should take only what he can eat, guard his nutritional intake.
  • Encourage meal time etiquette.
  • Pass - reaching is discourteous
  • Suggest Counsellor pour all drinks (when a drink centre is provided, campers should go one table at a time to eliminate crowding.
  • Each camper should clean up what he spills
  • Camper should understand it is not funny to waste or spoil food.
  • Select campers to collect forks, spoons, knives, plates or trays and deposit them in the proper receptacle.
  • Campers should be selected to clean the table.  Sponge off and dry table and benches.
  • Make meals a special time for pleasant conversation
  • Shoes must be worn
  • Food remains in the cafeteria - when taken out, it draws ants and rodents and makes the camp clean-up more difficult.
  • Keep decibel level down by talking in a soft voice yourself
  • Entire cabin must be finished with the meal before dismissal by the host/hostess.
  • Check the duty board at every meal.

Negative Camper

  • Didn’t want to come to camp.
  • Often camper feels that he has been mistreated

Things to do:

  • Counsellor must always show a positive attitude toward the camp or staff and be supportive and participate in everything himself. We teach by example.
  • Have the camper try everything and be involved.
  • Find out why he is negative and remedy the situation if possible.


  • Tries to get approval from peers.
  • Pranks are not done alone
  • They believe pranks to be part of the camping experience.
  • Counsellor should take pranks in fun — maintain a good attitude and refrain from getting angry and/or yelling.
  • Pranks that tend towards vandalism should not be tolerated and should be reported to the Summer Camp Director.

Things to do:

  • Try to be aware of any planning going on.
  • If you, the Counsellor, are with campers at all times, pranks will not have an opportunity to develop.

Quiet Time

  • The Counsellor usually needs it most.
  • The entire unit must remain quietly within the cabin during the whole rest period.
  • Require it to be quiet enough for someone to sleep if they want to.
  • Require campers to remain on their own bunks.

Suggestions for rest period options:

  • Rest
  • Read or tell a story
  • Colour books or crafts
  • Write letters
  • Books may be checked out from the office.
  • Sing or play the guitar
  • Play story tapes

Shy And Withdrawn

  • Extremely sensitive.
  • May be put down at home a lot.
  • Low self-image, insecure, little self-confidence.
  • Doesn’t have ready-made group of friends at camp.
  • May feel out of place if non-Adventist or from out of state.

Things to do:

  • Give responsibilities.
  • Praise him for what he does.
  • May be gaining more than you think; you’re his example.
  • Treat his quietness as normal; asking him if something is wrong all the time may make him uncomfortable.
  • Be aware of cabin mates’ attitude toward him, assure that they don’t pick on him — guard again over protectiveness.
  • In conversation, ask open-ended questions — stay away from yes/no questions — try to draw him out.
  • Be careful to include the quiet, who are likely to need it most. It is easy to always to include the "winners"
  • — They probably need the attention less.


General Prevention:

  • Clean hands and face.
  • Jackets at camp-fires.
  • Dry shoes at all times (except to bed).
  • Eats properly.
  • Drinks plenty of water.
  • Get plenty of rest.

Total Isolation from Cabin Activities Unnecessary:

  • Have others do special things for him
  • Make a crafts gift/Nature item from hike
  • Tell kids at beginning of week to come to you any time they are sick or hurt.
  • Make sure he gets medication regularly - it’s YOUR responsibility
  • Take precautions against contamination spreading to other campers


Trying to get Counsellor’s approval.

  • Usually has inferiority complex
  • Gets satisfaction from seeing others punished
  • Demonstrates "holier than thou" attitude toward other campers.

Things to do:

  • Minimize: Avoid dramatizing your response. (i.e. I’ll keep my eyes open" or "I’m already aware of it").
  • Try to be ahead of his reports.


Usually a bright kid with misdirected potential.

Things to do:

  • Keep away from rude, vulgar or malicious teasing
  • Use discretion in teasing the teaser
  • Refrain from letting the teasing get out of hand or being the primary conversation of the cabin.
  • Make sure harmless teasing does not lead to cutting remarks, malicious teasing, or "chopping" another person.


There will be personal inspection during the breakfast line call.

Things to do:

  • When cleaning the cabin, request that they pick it up, put it away, and not lay it down somewhere.
  • Peer pressure against sloppiness is acceptable within reasonable limits.
  • Emphasize room inspection grades.
  • Make sure your part of the cabin is clean.
  • Get all of your campers out of the sack at reveille.
  • Hands and face must be washed before every meal.


  • Misdirected sense of adventure or direction.
  • Counsellor must know where every camper is at all times.
  • Wander with him if possible — NEVER lose sense of adventure.
  • Let him go where he wants within obvious limitations if he asks you first. Let him get in the habit of asking permission.
  • If camper cannot be found, report it to headquarters immediately, any time of day or night.
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