Our oldest campers are invited to join our Leadership Program, to offer support to other campers and demonstrate the values and behaviors that we embody at Experience Camps.
The goals of this Leadership program are to:
Provide age-appropriate programming geared toward the growth of our oldest campers
Provide opportunities for collaboration, problem solving, and goal completion
Offer self-directed camp experiences to allow campers to shape their week at camp
Give the oldest campers the opportunity to interact with and make a positive impact on younger campers
Allow campers to connect with and learn from ExCamps staff mentors and role models
Allow our oldest campers to still be campers and enjoy the fun and friendship of camp and receive the time to reflect on and share about their grief journey
Experience Camps LITs are expected to:
Serve as role models for other campers
Demonstrate kindness, compassion, sportsmanship, and the Experience Camps Core Values
Add value to the camp community through actions, words, and conduct
The Leadership Program consists of 3 years of gradual increases in responsibility.
LEADERS IN TRAINING - Year 1 (LIT1)
LIT1s are campers who have finished 10th grade. They live in cabins with counselors and engage in many of the same activities as the rest of camp, such as instructionals, College League, bereavement activities, and campfires. They are mentored by their counselors, who organize discussions and activities around leadership themes. By the time campers become LITs, they have already begun to demonstrate the support and compassion that unites our campers. Through this program, they are given the opportunity to build on that support structure, as well as to understand the impact that they can have on people at camp and outside of camp.
LEADERS IN TRAINING - Year 2 (LIT2)
The LIT2 year is invitation-only for returning campers who have completed the LIT1 year. As a LIT2, campers build on the the leadership themes established in year 1, and begin to have more autonomy at camp. They live in cabins without counselors, however counselors are assigned to the cabin to check in, offer guidance, and make sure everything is running smoothly. They also facilitate their own sharing circle, something that is typically done by one our clinicians. This gives them the chance establish the direction of their sharing, and to proactively guide their own journey through grief. LIT2s also begin to assist younger campers with oversight by Directors. The Leadership team continues to be a strong influence in encouraging the campers to use their experiences and grief to define their paths using positive choices.
GRADUATION & GAP YEAR
After the LIT2 summer, campers entering their senior year of high school will graduate from being campers. For those interested in going on to be ExCamps volunteers, a “gap year” will be required. This means taking a summer off before being being able to apply to be a counselor. A summer away from camp allows these young adults the necessary time to focus on their transition from high school to college or the workplace, and makes for an easier adjustment to being staff. We ask a lot from our volunteers, and want to set up our former campers for maximum success. Once the gap year has passed, prospective volunteers will apply to be counselors through our website. Former campers during this gap summer will still be connected through regular online video chats and a weekend retreat.
Following the gap year, the final year of the Leadership program is the Junior Counselor summer. This is the first year that former campers become counselors. They participate in staff orientation and live in cabins with campers. Junior Counselors teach instructionals, coach College League teams, and act in the same capacity as all of the other staff volunteers. Their evening activities are supervised by a member of the Leadership team, and they are given an extra level of attention in managing camper issues and scenarios.