The Counselor in Training (CIT) program at Camp North Star offers our oldest campers with a meaningful transitional summer from camper to staff member. Our CITs have just completed 11th grade and will become seniors in high school in the fall. The main objective of the program is to prepare our CITs to apply and be offered a position to join our staff the following summer.
Each CIT lives in a cabin with younger campers of the same gender so they learn how to be a successful cabin counselor and positive role model for their campers.. One of the counselors in that cabin becomes the “mentor” to the CIT and offers guidance throughout the summer. During the program day, our CITs spend half of their day attending classes as a camper in activities that they choose within our elective program. The other half of the day is an opportunity to receive hands-on training as an instructor or coach in areas they hope to teach as a staff member.
The most valuable part of the program are the workshops led by our CIT Director. They give our CITs essential guidance in areas that include safety and supervision, youth development, behavior management, conflict resolution and homesickness. These are all necessary skills to be an outstanding and effective staff member at Camp North Star.
There’s also plenty of fun weaved into the summer for our CITs. They work as a team to plan and implement several evening activities and special events. They have an important role in Eco Challenge and World Games. Weekly trips are planned exclusively for our CITs. Last summer two of their favorites were a drive-in movie and going to The Escape Room in Portland.
The combination of guidance, training, mentoring and fun, gives our CITs an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They walk away from the summer with valuable skill development and growth as a leader having experienced responsibility in a new way.
We are fortunate at Camp North Star that so many of our campers return year after year to their summer home in Poland Spring, Maine. Many of our campers look forward to becoming CITs and eventually joining our staff when they are college students. For the 2017 camp season, we are excited that 5 CITs from last summer are joining our staff this year. It’s very rewarding for the directors to watch our campers go through the rite of passage from camper to CIT to staff member.