Points for the Successful Staffer

Some Points to Forget:

1. Forget all the mistakes campers have made in the past and help the offenders become good Christians.

2. Forget the uncomplimentary things you have heard about your campers. Start this week as though you have the best campers in the world.

3. Forget that you are underpaid.

4. Forget your TV set, your radio, etc.

5. Forget self. Apologise if you need to.

Some Points to Remember:

1. Remember that even the worst campers you have are probably the best their parents have.

2. Remember that you are an ideal in dress, grooming, mannerisms, and in your Christian standards.

3. Remember that being proud of your church is noticeable. You are its best advertisement.

4. Remember that words cannot be recalled. Their effects can be permanent.

5. Remember to be fair. Campers are quick to sense unfairness.

6. Remember to listen. Campers should have opportunities to express themselves.

7. Remember to be cheerful. A smile is contagious and good humour is a friend.

8. Remember to keep your temper under control.

9. Remember to be courteous.

10. Remember God is an ever present help. Pray without ceasing



1. Are they having a good time?

2. Are they getting to do the things they really would like to do and that would be good for them to do?

3. Is something bothering them? Have you found out what? Do you know what to do about it?

4. Do you like them and feel you are their friend?

5. Do they feel you really like them? Do they feel that you are their friend?

6. How are they getting along with the other kids in the cabin? Do they seem to feel that they really are part of the group?

7. How is their health? Is there anything for which you should take them to the Camp Nurse?

8. Are they having some experiences that will help them to feel closer to God? Are they getting to do some things that make them feel good about themselves? Are they getting to do some things at which they are good?

9. Do they need help in improving on some of their behaviour such as table manners, doing their share of cabin duties, or respecting the rights of others? Do you have a plan for helping them?

10. Are you being the kind of person they might look to as a good role model?

11. Do you need help from the Village Director in dealing with the speci c situation with this camper?


This is the most important day of the week! To you it means getting to know your campers and the beginnings of a weeks’ experience with them. To campers it means the ful llment of the hopes of many weeks of anticipation. Their rst impression, the way they are greeted and helped, in uences their attitudes for the rest of the week. To parents it means leaving their child in others’ care. The camp staff’s congenial, well-organised manner will put parents at ease.

Be ready to meet your campers. Stay in the cabin until all of your campers arrive. Have a sign on the door that includes the cabin name, welcome, your name, and your campers’ names. Make sure your ‘home away from home’ is neat and clean on registration day. Meet all parents, introduce yourself and find out their names. Make sure each camper has completed the registration process before his or her parents leave. Help campers choose bunks and aid their settling in.

Introduce campers to one another. Start them on common ground by planning something everyone can participate in, such as a tour of the camp. While waiting for other campers to arrive, have a little small talk and get to know them (they are a little nervous, too!). You want them to feel a sense of belonging. You all have a lot to look forward to.

At bedtime, especially with the younger campers, see that each one is comfortable. Give a reassuring smile or hug to each. If they are over-excited and nd it hard to be quiet, you might read, tell stories or talk quietly about tomorrow’s activities until they are drowsy.


Accentuate the positive! Camp does have rules but they need not be overemphasised. If campers are kept busy with constructive activities and plans, there will be few discipline problems. Campers will not need to seek attention in negative ways if they go to bed at night with the sense of having done something worthwhile.

If rules are broken, try to understand the camper’s needs that led to the breach. Have they had enough exciting activity to satisfy them, or have they had so much excitement that they’re over-tired, keyed-up, or tense? Have they been allowed to make enough noise or have they been quieted too much? Have they had plenty of positive attention or have they failed to receive attention until they do something wrong?

Have they been given time to themselves? Or has an enforced competitive spirit prodded them to achieve and excel every minute? Has there been satisfying relationship with at least one person (but preferably the whole cabin)? Or have there been ill feelings, rejection, jealousy, cliques? Try to deal with the basic cause of the breaches. Then you may not even need to discipline the camper(s) for what was done.

Many children labeled as discipline problems have legitimate reasons for misbehaving. You may never be able to determine the root of the problem. But even if you know the cause, you may
be unable to do anything about it. In that case, simply learn to listen, resolve not to be easily shocked, and accept campers as they are. Whether simple or compound, children’s problems should not be treated lightly.

Serious behaviour problems have many causes. Common hurts of children range from divorce in the family to child abuse. Children may have learned to cope with their problems in unrealistic ways, often blaming themselves for family situations. They may not function well in a group, either showing extroverted or introverted behaviour. Discipline problems may also result from chemical imbalances or nutritional de ciencies. Then too, people of all ages go through a sort of orientation process in a new situation such as camp. They ask themselves, ‘Will I survive?’, ‘Will I be liked?’ Until a camper recognises the appropriate behaviour of camp, he or she may cause problems.

If you need to discipline, use a gentle look, word, or touch. Never shame or embarrass a camper in front of others. Encourage the camper to want to do better. Use a ‘light touch’ when possible. Humor, when used correctly, helps change attitudes and eliminates embarrassment. When appropriate, have private talk. Don’t make this time a ‘trip to the principals of ce’ or an emotional scene. Reason, explain, request, express con dence in love. Use just enough discussion or discipline to produce results. Don’t plead. Be clear and rm. Never scold, lose your temper, shout or hit a camper. Your role in disciplining and helping children with problems is to build trust and to provide a listening ear.

Don’t use regular tasks as means of discipline because these are a normal part of living together. Working together can be a pleasure and privilege and must never be thought of as punishment. On the other hand, if the cabin group makes a mess the campers would certainly be expected to pick it up.

If necessary, privileges might be withheld. A cabin group might be kept in for awhile after quiet time if they’ve been slow in quieting down. They might have to use free time to undo the results of an elaborate practical joke. When possible, the counsellor should remain with the campers and undergo their loss of privilege with them. Supervision or some type of check-up system should be used if an individual camper or camper group must remedy wrongdoing.




• Usually an emotional problem sometimes physical.
• Change from home to camp.
• Will experience self shame. Does not need ridicule of other campers. • Let them know they can trust you not to treat them abnormally.
• Help them to build their own self con dence.
• Don’t baby them or mother them.

Things to do:

• Make sure they go to the bathroom before bedtime.
• Don’t let them drink anything after tea.
• If they do wet the bed, take their sleeping bag down to laundry when no other camper will notice.
• Protect the camper’s integrity. Don’t embarrass them!


Birthdays will be recognised by singing if you call it to the attention of the Girls or Boys Director.


• Craves attention.
• Seeks peer approval. Things to do:

• Redirect their energies in other directions.
• Don’t put them in an authoritative position unless its part of the cabin routine and all the other campers have the same opportunity.
• Stay around when they are in charge.
• Speak to them alone about the problem so you don’t embarrass them. • Praise them for right actions.
• Don’t tolerate violence.


Discourage the borrowing and lending of clothing.


• Firearms.
• Explosives.
• Knives.
• Playing cards.
• Matches.
• Cigarettes, drugs, narcotics, etc.

Is there no time for tears? There should be. You should anticipate that there will be tears. The child needs something, probably you. Plan to take them where they can be quiet, and let them cry. Stay with them if they want you to. Do not apologise for them. You probably cry at times and even Camp Directors and Girls’ and Boys’ Directors would like to. When the spasm is over, you may be told what the matter was, or you may not. Don’t pry; try to infer.

Camp Counsellor’s Book, p. 19 “If Bobby cries every time something goes wrong, he does it because he wants help and nds that tears bring you to his aid. So, tell him that when he feels like crying, all he has to do is call you and you’ll be there. Your expectation
is that gradually there will be no need for tears.”



• May be habitual.
• May be trying to put on a tough image.

Things to do:

• Don’t laugh, even if it is funny, because this gives them positive reinforcement.
• Explain that camp should provide an atmosphere for spiritual growth for the other campers.
•Encourage long term changes.


• Wants approval from peers.

• Little discipline at home.
• They think they’re “hot stuff”

Things to do:

• Remember discipline is “to make a disciple of”. • Always use reasonable discipline.
• Insist on obedience from the rst.
• Ask your Girls and Boys Directors for assistance.


• They easily get homesick if they are not kept involved.
• Some campers may be willing to help with a camp maintenance assignment.

Things to do:

• Use this time as an opportunity to get to know them well.
• Emphasise that you need to know where they are at all times.
• Have them help you move into the cabin and prepare it for the arrival of the remaining campers.
• Give them the responsibility of helping the other campers move in.
• Beware of this camper feeling like the counsellor’s pet for the rest of the week.


• Nearly every camper will miss home, but not all will demonstrate it.
• May be caused by an unstable home life resulting in the camper being afraid of what may happen while they’re gone.
• Camp may seem like the rejection of their parents to get them out of their hair.
• May be caused by not being used to being away from home.

Things to do:

• Recognise early signs.
• Keep the camper busy with camp activities.
• Beware of letting them spend time alone.
• Use diversion activities – responsibilities.
• Have a staff member they like talk to them.
• Discourage calls home.
• Try to establish a friendship with another camper.
• Don’t let homesickness get to be so bad that camp becomes a bad experience.
• Try to talk them into staying one more day, then talk again.
• Discuss it with the Girls’ or Boys’ Director.
No child has ever died of homesickness, but many think they will. It is very real to the homesick one. Don’t ridicule. To tell a boy that “boys don’t cry” is really rather silly.


• Keep eyes and ears open for things that cause anger.

Things to do:

• Restrain your own anger.
• Let the “heat of con ict” cool off before trying to solve the problem or to reason with the camper. Trying to solve the problem while the camper is “white hot” only creates more stress. We are not reasonable when angry.
• Remove the camper from the problem.
• Stay away from con ict.
• Separate physical ghts physically instead of verbally.
• Wait until the situation has cooled off before endeavouring to solve the problem with the camper individually.
• Decide on a reasonable punishment between you and the camper.


• They may be on medication.
• Most “normal” kids are somewhat hyperactive. • They, especially, need much rest.

Things to do:

• Keep them from hurting themselves.
• Don’t try to wear them out. You will wear out before they do. • Try to keep up with them. It’s good for your heart.


• They may be on medication.
• Most “normal” kids are somewhat hyperactive. • They, especially, need much rest.

Things to do:

• Keep them from hurting themselves.
• Don’t try to wear them out. You will wear out before they do. • Try to keep up with them. It’s good for your heart.

• Often they feel like they aren’t one of the crowd.

Things to do:

• Introduce them to the rest of the cabin by name.
• Show them that you are glad that they are here.
• Help them make friends with other campers of common interests.
• Give them cabin responsibilities.
• Have another camper show them some of the things that have happened at camp so far.


Things to do:

• Make sure you set a proper example.
• Be positive about the food. If you are critical so will they be.
• Have campers wash up before meals.
• Enter the dining room quietly.
• Expect the child to eat well and they probably will.
• Encourage your campers to try some of everything, but do not insist on such.
• Camper should take only what they can eat, guard their nutritional intake.
• Encourage meal time etiquette.
• Suggest that the counsellor pour all drinks.
• Each camper should clean up what they spill.
• Campers should understand that it is not funny to waste or spoil food.
• Select campers to collect forks, spoons, knives, plates or glasses and take them to dish wash.
• Campers should be selected to clean the table.
• Make meals a special time for pleasant conversation.
• Shoes must be worn.
• Food remains in the cafeteria. When taken out, it draws ants and rodents and makes the camp cleanup more dif cult.
• Keep decibel level down by talking in a soft voice yourself.


  • Didn’t want to come to camp.
  • Often the camper feels that they have been mistreated.

Things to do:

•The counsellor must always show a positive attitude toward the camper or staff and be supportive and participate in everything themselves. We teach by example.
• Have the camper try everything and be involved.

• Find out why they are negative and remedy the situation if possible.


• Tries to get approval from peers.
• Pranks are not done alone.
• They believe pranks to be part of the camping experience.
• Counsellor should take pranks in fun, maintain a good attitude and refrain from getting angry and/or yelling.
• Pranks that tend towards vandalism should not be tolerated and should be reported to the Girls’ or Boys’ Director.

Things to do:

• Try to be aware of any planning going on.
• If you, the counsellor, are with campers at all times, pranks will not have an opportunity to develop.


• The counsellor usually needs it most.
• The entire unit must remain quietly within the cabin during the whole rest period.
• Require it to be quiet enough for someone to sleep if they want to.
• Require campers to remain on their own bunks.


• Extremely sensitive.
• Maybe put down at home a lot.
• Low self image, insecure, little self con dence.
• Doesn’t have ready made group of friends at camp.
• May feel out of place if they are a non Adventist or from out of state.

Things to do:

• Give responsibilities.
• Praise them for what they do.
• Treat their quietness as normal. Asking them if something is wrong all the time may make them uncomfortable.
• Be aware of cabin mates attitudes toward them, assure that they aren’t picked on but guard against over protectiveness.
• In conversation, ask open ended questions stay away from yes/no questions try to draw them out.
• Consciously try to include the quiet as they are likely to need the most attention.


• General prevention is important. • Clean hands and face.
• Jackets at camp res.
• Wear shoes at all times.

• Eat properly.
• Drink plenty of water. • Get plenty of rest.

Things to do:

• Have others do special things for them.
• Tell kids at beginning of week to come to you any time they are sick or hurt. • Make sure they get medication regularly. It’s YOUR responsibility.
• Take precautions against contamination spreading to other campers.


• Trying to get counsellor’s approval.
• Usually has inferiority complex.
• Gets satisfaction from seeing others punished.
• Demonstrates ‘holier than thou” attitude toward other campers.

Things to do:

• Minimize – Avoid dramatising your response. (i.e. “I’ll keep my eyes open” or “I’m already aware of it”).
• Try to be ahead of their reports.


• Usually a bright kid with misdirected potential.

Things to do:

• Keep away from rude, vulgar or malicious teasing.
• Refrain from letting the teasing get out of hand or being the primary conversation of the cabin.
• Make sure harmless teasing does not lead to cutting remarks, malicious teasing, or “chopping” another person.


• There will be personal inspection during the breakfast line call.

Things to do:

• When cleaning the cabin, request that they pick it up, put it away, and not lay it down somewhere.
• Peer pressure against sloppiness is acceptable within reasonable limits. • Emphasise room inspection grades.

• Make sure your part of the cabin is clean.
• Get all of your campers out of the sack at reveille.
• Hands and face must be washed before every meal.


• Misdirected sense of adventure or direction.
• Counsellor must know where every camper is at all times.

Things to do:

• Wander with them if possible, but NEVER be wandering with them alone.

• Let them go where they want within obvious limitations if they ask you rst.
• Let them get in the habit of asking permission.
• If a camper cannot be found, report it to headquarters immediately, any time of day or night.