A few summers ago at camp a friend of mine made up a new game called, yep you guessed it, ‘Outside the Box‘. It’s a great game and one you can play pretty much anywhere you are, with anything you can find – essentially you give the kids a box or crate full of a few items and objects and they have 20 minutes to come up with a brand new game that utilises all of their items. You can do it with just a few kids, or have a whole group and split them into teams – this is always fun when you then get the teams to try out each other’s games and vote which one is the best (top tip, children LOVE prizes). For this game, the kids have to work together and use their imaginations to come up with a fun and new way to use a very random group of items (think tennis balls, bats, cones, helmets and maybe even a yo-yo) and turn them into something with rules and structure and scoring system… it’s no easy task.
So why on earth am I talking about a random game we play at my camp, I hear you ask?
Well, over the next few weeks you’re all going to be heading out to camp, some of you for the very first time (you may even be at camp already!), and I wanted to try and instill in you an idea of what it is to be a camp counselor, and how your perspective on, well, pretty much everything, is going to change this summer. This funny little game, ‘Outside the Box‘, sort of applies to the entire way you can be an incredible counselor. Whether you are at a crazy-rich, private camp and you have the most amazing facilities, or if you’re at a camp where you could perhaps do with some new equipment, you are always going to need to utilise what is around you and what you have to hand, so you can teach and entertain at the same time, so you can make this summer a positive experience for everyone, campers and staff alike. It doesn’t always have to be fancy, it just has to work for what you need it for. And it has to be fun!
Every day at camp is going to be different. No two campers are the same, and every situation is going to need to be handled differently. One of the most important skills you’re going to learn this summer is how to think on your feet and solve problems, something that, even years later, when summer camp is a fond but distant memory, you will still be using in everyday life.
You are going to need to think outside the box this summer (aha, see what I did there?), always remembering that your main role this summer is to make sure your campers have an incredible time. So go out there with great ideas and new suggestions, think about how you can do something differently, or what you can change to make your activity stronger, or just one camper’s experience better.
Be imaginative, be creative, be awesome.