- Help campers find their cabins, get settled and become acquainted.
- Learn the names of the campers in your cabin as quickly as possible. Get to know all of them and their interests. Make sure the campers feel welcome and part of the group the moment they arrive at camp.
- You may have to show campers how to make a bed, sweep the floor, or clean the area outside the cabin. Inform your group where to hang their clothes, wet bathing suits and towels, and where to put trash. Remember, you are setting the example.
- Be sure your campers know the location of the dining hall, prayer hall, recreation areas, health center and camp boundary lines.
- As soon as your campers arrive, have the cabin group do something together, such as a hike or tour of the campground to develop a group feeling.
- Help the campers in your cabin adjust to a “new” way of life—it includes new routines in living and learning together as a group. Discuss with the campers the camp schedule, rules, and expectations plus why they are important.
- Inform your campers what to expect for assemblies, meals, ceremonies, lights out and quiet. Tell them that attendance and appropriate personal behavior is expected at each event. For example, informing them that no one is allowed to hurt another camper, will make each camper feel safe. Your campers are more likely to remember and abide by the ground rules if they feel they are involved in the process of establishing them. Use creative ways of helping them think through and agree upon what rules of behavior would best allow for a safe and fun camp experience. Discuss the camp rules posted in their cabins and any additional rules the campers agree upon.
- Be aware of the health and safety of the campers in your group. Include enough rest and sleep, and make sure they are eating properly. Watch for signs of sickness, suggest clean and appropriate clothing, and promote personal cleanliness. Check for illnesses and injury, but don’t make a big deal over minor scratches. Report all illnesses and injuries to the camp medical staff.
- Help campers, especially the quiet youngsters. Some campers will shy away from new experiences and will want to stay with a familiar routine.
- Help campers enjoy the meal experience. Encourage them to try new or different foods.
- Work with your group as they plan their assigned jobs which may include a campfire program or other ceremonies. Don’t do this for them—let ideas and leadership come from the group.
- Stay with your group at bedtime. This is an excellent time to get to know your campers, their concerns, their reactions to the camp program, and to provide them with support. Understand that some campers will have fears, perhaps of the dark, water, bugs, or of new situations.
- The counselor should take necessary rest in order to perform with minimal stress.
- Practice good risk management strategies. These strategies will help prevent or reduce the likelihood of something happening that could cause physical, mental, or emotional harm to a camper. Remember, your goal is to provide a safe, positive, caring and nurturing environment. A camper will not have fun if they do not feel safe.
- A Muslim should do unto others as he/she would have God (swt) do unto him/her, ie with respect, compassion and forgiveness.
- Treat your campers with respect at all times, actively listening, responding, conversing with an open mind, and finding areas of mutual interest to discuss.
- Show campers you like and care about them and have fun while in their company. Smiles, greetings, sincerity, being fair, and simply doing things together are all a part of creating a respectful environment. This is the best way to reinforce positive behavior. “Each person must perform charity daily when the sun comes up: to act justly between two people is a charity; to help a man with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting up his belongings onto it is a charity; a good word is a charity; every step you take to prayers is a charity; and removing a harmful thing from the road is a charity.”
- Reinforce the Positive:
Encourage positive behavior and it will be repeated. Give little attention to negative behaviors and redirect them to something good.
Act out a scene which incorporates any of the rules and discuss it with the campers, asking them if they have any suggestions to prevent this.
Use Quran and Hadith for guidance and discussion.
For example: “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” “Fear Allah wherever you are, and follow up a bad deed with a good one and it will wipe it out, and behave well towards people.” Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h)
Make a game of it to keep it fun.
Test their memories at random times during the day. Offer a treat to someone who remembers a rule first. Campers should know there will be consequences to breaking these rules. Discuss possible and logical consequences to breaking these ground rules. Be conscious of the group momentum when the campers are trying to do something against the rules, mischievous or dangerous.