For a place like Tuscarora, volunteer camp counselors make many of our youth camps possible during the summer months. Many of our counselors say the year starts and ends with their weeks at camp. However, counseling is such an intense week that some of the things they learn during that time tends to trickle over into everyday life. Here, we list 10 ways you can identify a Christian Camp Counselor in the off season.
1. You sometimes find them counting their friends
For a lot of camp counselors, it's the first time in their lives they have ever been responsible for another human being, let along five, or six, or seven! If those campers are small and tend to wander off, counselors find themselves counting kids over, and over, and over again. This is a hard habit to break and you may find them standing in the middle of a mall shouting, "One, two, three, four - where's five?!"
2. They know the value of a full night's sleep
Sometimes at camp there are real reasons you can't get to bed - a homesick camper, hallway prayer, or a late night dance party for example. But more often than not, camp counselors are having so much fun they don't want to put their head down and miss the opportunity to create more memories. You may find them joyfully exclaiming what an AMAZING night's sleep they got and how ready they are to take on the day.
3. You always find them with a coffee cup in hand
Because of all that lost sleep - many people start a pretty serious caffeine addiction while they're at camp. Throughout the rest of the year they suddenly need 3 or 4 cups of coffee just to make it through the day, and will come to camp the next year prepared with an extra large mug and a few tasty flavors of creamer.
4. They still use snail mail
If you're a counselor to small kids - you may not be able to keep in touch with them throughout the year via email or social media. This means pulling out the pen and paper like the days of yore. Everyone likes to get mail and it's a really great way to stay in touch with kids from year to year. Sometimes a camp counselor may get carried away though and start sending letters to every person in their life.
5. They know hand motions to every worship song
You can ALWAYS spot a Christian camp counselor during worship at church. This is because they are inevitably doing hand motions they learned alongside their campers. Once you've waved your hands back and forth, jumped up and down, and spun around to a song it's hard to worship any other way.
6. They complain about a lack of storage space
Every camp counselor has a small collection of themed t-shirts and costumes they've used throughout the years. You can quickly run out of closet space for your other belongings when you have several summers worth of stuff. They could get rid of it - because how many neon colored athletic shorts and bandanas does one person need? But it has too much sentimental value - and they like being the go to person for absurd accessories.
7. They're a kids' entertainment and activity expert
Counselors aren't just responsible for keeping their campers safe - they're also responsible for keeping them entertained. They always have to know a variety of games and activities that would appeal to a wide variety of kids and ages. Because of this - you can always count on an off-season counselor to be the first person at a party to gather their nieces and nephews into a game of Red Rover - or force their friends into four on a couch.
8. Feeling homesick even though they're home
Every counselor knows that their camp is their second home. So in the off season, you may find a counselor wandering around their house wishing they could turn a corner and find a room full of friends just waiting to make memories. It can be lonely, but it also makes their return the next summer even sweeter. They always have that place to welcome them back.
9. Being a walking billboard
It can be hard for an off season counselor to start sentences without using the phrase, "This one time at camp..." They made such great memories, that they want other people to do the same! They tell every parent they know about sending their kids away for summer camp so they can have the best experience of their lives - and maybe one day even be a counselor. You'll catch them posting throwback photos to their days counseling and making sure everyone in their life knows when registration for next summer is posted.
10. Lifetime Long Distance Friendships
Counseling isn't just a fun experience - it's a challenge. When you work hard at something alongside your friends - you build a bond that lasts forever. No matter how far apart they may live they stay connected through group chats and social media, and whenever they're reunited it's like no time has passed at all.
This is especially true of people who counsel at a Christian camp. Not only are they working hard - they're walking side by side to spread the gospel. They have the knowledge that God chose to call them to camp together. They know they were chosen by God to be friends. That's a bond that doesn't weaken over time.