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Qualities of a Good Camp Counselor

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Camp counselors ensure that kids have a safe, fun time at camp. They organize activities and comfort kids who feel homesick or have trouble fitting in with the group. Camp counselors must be patient, dedicated and fun-loving, so kids get the most out of their camp experience. As a counselor, you must possess character traits, such as kindness, generosity and strong leadership skills, so campers see you as a role model.

Caring, Sensitive and Encouraging

Effective camp counselors are good communicators. They affirm, encourage and interact with campers using sensitivity and compassion. They are welcoming, kindhearted and friendly, showing campers that they have their best interests in mind, according to Oregon State University's 4-H Youth Development Program. Effective camp counselors never yell at kids, order them around, demand that they accomplish tasks or punish them out of anger or frustration. As a counselor, you must take time to listen and respond to campers with gentleness and respect.

Self-Motivated and Strategic

Competent camp counselors are problem-solvers. They follow routines and keep everyone organized, but they are ready to change plans at a moment's notice. For example, a counselor must be ready to initiate indoor activities if canoeing and swimming get rained out. Or you might quickly order pizza instead of roasting hot dogs if the weather is too hot to build a campfire. Camp counselors are flexible and don't get rattled when plans change.

Detail-Oriented and Keenly Aware

Detail-oriented strengths are a must. Counselors must keep track of each camper's needs, such as making sure they are drinking enough water, eating enough food, making friends, maintaining healthy hygiene habits and wearing clean, dry clothes. They must ensure that there are sufficient supplies for activities, such as enough water balloons for water-balloon volleyball and enough canoes to accommodate all the campers. Counselors monitor sleeping quarters and take head counts to make sure that all campers are accounted for day and night.

Fun and Energetic

Successful camp counselors are lively and energetic. They may instruct campers in a wide variety of outdoor activities, such as swimming, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing and nature studies -- events that require high energy levels. Counselors make sure that campers don't get bored or lonely, and strive to keep them occupied with recreational activities. Some camp counselors specialize in specific activities, such as archery, music, drama, water sports or gymnastics, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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