Getting acquainted and getting comfortable with each other is easiest to do at the very beginning of camp and sets the tone for the camp duration. Campers need the most support on the first few days of camp. How you deal with that support will establish your credibility with them for the rest of the camp. Follow the checklist on the previous page and you will do well.
On weekends, the camp has many day or weekend visitors. Teach the campers to say ‘salam’ and to be respectful and kind to all and to welcome them by offering any help they may need.
Teaching does not always require you to spell out what is good behavior. The campers are always watching you, so with every comment and action (or refraining from comment or action) you can make an impression.
Exercise: Bond with your campers individually. Make them feel that you care about them and take advantage of opportunities to walk together, talk over the bathroom sink while performing wudu or complete a task together such as sweeping the cabin. Always remain in visible areas when alone with a camper.
A counselor should concentrate on making each camper feel he/she is competent and contributing to the group and to the society at large. Try activities that build confidence like games, climbing or hiking, an obstacle course, giving a camper the responsibility of a certain role or task.
Exercise: Observe the group and how campers interact with each other and share your observations of them with your co-counselors and discuss which ones would benefit greatly from having a little responsibility and authority within the group. Never reveal or discuss any camper weaknesses with other counselors unless during general counselor meetings and when necessary in order to prevent or solve a problem.
Early Camper Departure
Make sure each camper informs you of his/her departure time and says good-bye to you and the rest of the cabin. Escort them and help to make arrangements for their luggage and pick-up or meet their parents if possible. When speaking with the parents, express your gratitude for participating in the program and give encouragement to them and their child to continue their good efforts. The counselor and campers should make the departure a memorable experience so that they always cherish these important moments.