“Counsellors and counsellors-in-training (CITs) are absolutely adored by the younger campers,” says Catherine Ross of the CCA. “And we train them to deal with some pretty major situations — keeping kids calm if they spot a rattlesnake or dealing with kids with anaphylactic allergies — so we rely on talented and responsible young people to make everyone’s camp experience a good one.”
Paul Rekai, a 15-year-old from North York, Ont., is looking forward to starting his four-week CIT training program at Onondaga Camp in Minden, Ont., this summer. Rekai says his camp experiences have been amazing. “To continue going to camp and have just as much fun, and to eventually get paid for it? It doesn’t get any better!”
Charlie Cooper-Simpson, a student at the University of Toronto, worked as a counsellor for three summers at Camp Bellaleo (since closed) just outside of Fergus, Ont. After that, Cooper-Simpson, who attended the camp from the age of seven, worked as its program director and assistant director.
“I’m not sure that I would have survived living in residence at university had I not been forced to live in extremely close quarters with other people at camp,” says Cooper-Simpson. “And I learned that having a job and earning money doesn’t have to mean doing dull, menial work.”
Depending on the camp, CIT programs may be subsidized by the camp itself or paid for by parents.
Programs can range from a few weeks to an entire summer, with employment usually commencing the following year. If your teen is interested in pursuing this route, it’s a good idea to chat with the camp director to confirm whether placement as a counsellor is guaranteed.
Being a camp counsellor isn’t exactly a lucrative gig, but considering living expenses are paid for and there are usually minimal opportunities for spending money, he could end up with a decent haul by the end of the summer. Plus, the addition to his resumé will be invaluable.