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We Train You at Adirondak

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2024 Staff Training

Position Arrival Date Departure Date
Cabin Counselors June 16 August 16
Head Staff June 14 August 16
Ropes & Ski June 9 August 16
Swim, Canoe, Sailing, & Trip June 5 August 16
Support Staff June 2 August 16
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We Teach You How to Be a Camp Counselor

It’s exciting when camp counselors start pouring into Camp at the beginning of the summer! We begin facilitating a cohesive staff team months before they arrive, by creating a safe space for staff to connect on social media and by hosting game nights online. Our staff comes together from all over the world, one hundred strong, for the incredibly important job of creating the summer of a lifetime for our campers.

Our goal at Adirondack U is to bring new and returning staff and camp counselors into a cohesive unit, with a common understanding and commitment to our traditions.

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Ten days before camp begins we hold an intensive leadership training program called ADK University that every member of our summer camp staff must attend. This gives us an opportunity to teach our philosophies and equip staff with the psychological and practical skill sets needed for a successful summer. It also gives the camp counselor community an opportunity to bond so that when campers arrive there is, already, a sense of warmth and camaraderie.

Training Outline

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  • Trip Staff Training: hands on practice leading hikes and practicing emergency procedures.
  • American Red Cross Waterfront Certification: 38 hours of intensive, in-the-water training.
  • Recertification of Camp’s Lifeguards in CPR for the Professional Rescuer.
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  • History of Camp & Lake George Area.
  • Camp’s Philosophy and values we wish to impart to our Campers.
  • The Adirondack Spirit — weaving the 10 Commitments and Code of Honor into daily life at Camp.
  • Camp’s facility and equipment, organizational structure & daily schedule.
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  • All aspects of Water, Land, and Facility Safety, Emergency Action Plans, and Camp Community Policies.
  • Preventive/early response measures including first aid procedures and Health Care Protocols, led by our Health Director and consulting Camp Physician.
  • Fostering a sharp, conscientious, and thoughtful perspective in regards to all campers including their general health, common maladies, bug-bites, scrapes and scratches and what to do when they occur.
  • Guiding kids to eat right, not feel lonely or lost, and not miss home too much.
  • Creating a safe Camp environment where children feel supported emotionally, physically, and psychologically, with specific emphasis on Camp’s 10 Commitments of: leadership, creativity, cooperation, growing, independence, effort, courage, spirit, sharing, and responsibility.
  • Acceptable standards of camp counselor behavior both on and off our premises.
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  • Everything that needs to be known to be an outstanding Adirondack Camp counselor.
  • Learning how to balance an individual camper’s needs with those of the Adirondack camp community.
  • Fostering good sportsmanship through team activities and working with others.
  • Setting positive role model characteristics and behavior for others to follow when participating in Camp activities.
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  • How to promote and nurture a group of friends so close, they feel like family.
  • Troubleshooting, and how to deal with opportunities or issues that may arise including missing home, making new friends, bed wetting, and responsibility for one’s bed, trunk, and personal well-being.
  • Learning the special qualities of each and every camper through the use of Parent Confidential Questionnaires.
  • Managing camper expectations, goal setting, buddy building, challenges and achievements in an environment where children are free to be themselves.
  • Knowing and communicating with campers’ parents and laying the foundations for camper extensions and annual return.
  • Quiet times: Bedtimes, Rest Hours, In-between Activities, Before Breakfast, and the Health Center.
  • Learning to recognize your camper’s needs, goals, interests, and personal values.
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  • Getting organized for the season including setting-up, lesson planning, “special days,” and rainy day options.
  • Tricks-of-the-trade to make lesson plans successful including: role-playing, peer teaching, and peer-assessment prior to camper arrivals.
  • Teaching your activity effectively to accommodate multiple skill levels of beginners through advanced, diverse age groups, and varying attendance commitments in a coed activity environment.
  • Strategically planning your camper’s experience in your activity to begin at one level and advance to another, finishing every week at a higher level.
  • Incorporating the 10 Commitments into activities.
  • Enhancing lesson plans through the incorporation of other activities including trips outside of camp and Blue/White traditions.
  • Importance of daily, weekly and seasonal camper recognition including: awards, cups, emblems, Braves, and Eagles.
  • Stretching as camp counselors to examine areas for self-improvement and personal growth.