The word communication is thrown around a lot at school and as we grow up. Communication is one of the key transferable skills that every employer emphasizes the importance of; at camp you will see just how important it is.
Communication at camp isn’t just about talking to a group or people, it is just as important for a camp counselor to communicate efficiently with campers and staff. When considering how you are communicating with campers it is important to remember each child is unique and he/she will have their own personality, so tailor your responses with that in mind.
Most employers when talking about communication are referring to face to face conversation and written communication, however, camps often use some more forms of communication. Fire gongs, walkie-talkies, air horns, bugles, whistles and hand signals are just some of the other methods that might be used at camp. Each camp has slightly different procedures and protocols when it comes to communication so they will make sure you understand them all by the end of staff training.
One thing you will come to realize very quickly at camp is that kids love to mimic and impersonate their counselors. Campers are like sponges; you will be surprised what they take in. As a role model to the campers you want to be a positive influence on them; sarcastic comments can be something that a child reflects on long after you say it, so remember you must be on your A-game at all times at camp.
When a camper looks to be challenging you by refusing to do something then the way you communicate with them can make or break the situation. The simple wording of how you instruct a camper on what you would like them to do can mean the difference between the responses “yes”, “no” and “I don’t understand.” Make sure you never talk down to a child. Making something that would normally be seen as a chore into a game can be done in most cabins and will make your life as a counselor a lot easier.
Communication is a major component at camp. If you keep things in and don’t ask for help or speak appropriately to others your time at camp won’t be as fun as it could be. Take a second to think about how you want to communicate what you need to communicate. After all, it is hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube after it is out.