Counselors-in-Training & Junior Counselor Programs
Girl Scouts of North East Ohio
Girl Scouts who are interested in working with younger girls and building their leadership skills can participate in Girl Scouts of North East Ohio’s Counselors-in-Training (CiT) and Junior Counselor programs. These programs are available to Girl Scouts in high school, known as Seniors or Ambassadors, who are interested in mentoring younger girls in a resident camp setting. CiT I, CiT II, and the Junior Counselor program are a succession of lessons that teach girls the skills that can help them become camp counselors. All three Counselor programs are fun and challenging leadership courses for young women interested in leading girls in the outdoors. Each participant must be prepared to work as a responsible member of her team, live in a rustic environment for an extended period of time and put the needs of younger campers first. The skills taught in these programs provide a valuable foundation for future academic and work-related choices, and are especially useful to young women interested in giving back to the organization and becoming camp counselors for Girl Scouts of North East Ohio summer camps. CiT I is a 2-week program where girls stay overnight at camp and learn how camp is run, explore leadership roles, and learn characteristics of different age levels of campers. The girls role-play, leading camp games with their CiT group and learning concepts such as easing shy campers into activities. They begin to learn about safety procedures at camp and build strong relationships with their fellow Girl Scout CiTs. Girls learn what the Camp Director’s expectations are of them, and how they fit into providing a great camp experience for younger girls. They learn how to identify bullying among girls and ways to handle that situation. CiT II acts as a second year program for girls who complete CiT I, and lasts 3-weeks. There is an overview of what was learned during CiT I, and then girls get to shadow camp staff, seeing first-hand how others lead activities and handle conflict. Girls have the opportunity to visit another camp so they can see how other camps are run, as every Camp Director does things differently. Depending on availability, this may be another Girl Scout camp, a YMCA camp, or another local ACA accredited camp. This exposure to a new environment give the girls new tools and perspectives on how to handle situations that arise at camp. The Junior Counselor program is available to girls who are under 18 (and thus unable to become a Camp Counselor) and have completed the CiT programs. This program is a culmination of all the training. Girls spend the entire summer at camp, performing the basic duties of a Camp Counselor. According to Girl Scouts of the USA’s camp guidelines, depending on campers’ ages, there must be a specific ratio of adults to children. Girl Scouts and ACA guidelines define an adult as 18 years of age or older, so the Junior Counselors do not count for ratio. However, they are an enormous help with keeping girls engaged and safe. As the Junior Counselors are functioning as camp staff, they are paid a small stipend for their time. This opportunity is viewed as a “first job” for many girls, and is especially relevant for girls who want to go into education. Even in a field where they aren’t working with kids, the CiT and Junior Counselor programs teach girls how to communicate effectively with others, solve problems, and be confident enough to take the lead.
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