Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Camp Lakota Lessons

I have been going away to sleep away camp every summer for the past 10 years. I now work at a sleep away camp in the Catskill Mountains. This summer will be my 3rd year as a counselor. It is a great experience for me. Working at a camp really helps me become comfortable working with children of all ages. I look over children of ages ranging from 5 to 16 years old. I coach a variety of sports such as soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, dance, and swimming. It is my passion to teach children to live a healthy life, and while at camp I believe I emphasize a healthy life style to campers, counselors, and the rest of the staff. 

I started a running elective for campers that are 13 and older, and also counselors who would like to run as well. This has become one of my favorite activities at camp. I never really liked to run distances before, but this run is around our beautiful lake that is a “cross country” like run. It has many different running conditions including pavement, hills, woods, fields, etc. This run became extremely popular especially on girls campus because it was a fun way to stay in shape, and also brought all of us closer together. It was an accomplishment to finish this 3 mile run every day within an hour long period! By the end of the summer it was so good to see some of the girls faces when they saw how much they progressed from day one. By the end of the summer, the girls who started day one had cut their times down to finishing 3 miles in under 45 minutes!

Between coaching, and just being around children all day I really learn a lot more than I thought I would as a counselor. Children of different ages work in a variety of ways, and you have to cater to the specific needs of the different age groups. For example, my first summer as a counselor I was in a bunk with 10 year olds. They liked to play games, run around, and be physically active without a fight. Last summer I was in a bunk with 14-15 year olds and it was like pulling teeth with them to actually play their scheduled activities just because they wanted to give their counselors a hard time. You really learn to pick your battles with each age group. Although you may not think that this is important to be a teacher it is! Students of all ages are going to give you a hard time, and you have to find a way to get them on your side otherwise they are going to continue to be hard to work with.

Camp has taught me so much throughout the years. I cannot imagine my summers without it. Even once I graduate, and become a teacher I plan on continuing my way up the ladder at camp over the summer. "We live 10 months for 2." Camp Lakota Summer 2012!

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