Junior Counsellor Program
Why this program?
We know that our campers are the ones who love camp the most and who are the most invested in getting involved when they are old enough. We love when former campers can come back and join us as volunteers or staff members. However, the camper experience of camp is very different from the staff/volunteer experience of camp so this transition can be difficult. We want to set our former campers up for success in getting more involved, so this program will give campers a chance to learn some of the skills required to be successful in a volunteer or staff role. It will also give Brigadoon staff a chance to see them demonstrate these skills in context, which will help us to help them grow and determine if they’ll be a good fit for a staff/volunteer role in future.
Who is eligible?
Campers will be eligible for this program the summer after they have graduated high school (also, the last summer, they are eligible to come to camp as campers). However, campers are welcome to finish their last summer as campers and apply for this program in the following year.
Participants may not attend camp as campers and complete the Junior Counsellor program during the same year.
Participants may not complete the Junior Counsellor program and apply to be a volunteer during the same year.
What are the program details?
This program will take place over a three-week period. It will include:
Week 1 (Training Week):
Participants will arrive for a training week where they will learn intensive skills in the areas of Youth Mentorship, Group Leadership, Behaviour Management, and Program Facilitation. They will learn how to care for campers and meet their needs in counselling and programming settings. They will spend their days in sessions learning these skills and have periods of hands-on practice where they can apply the skills learned in a group with younger campers under the supervision of a staff member.
Week 2 (Camper Care):
Participants will be assigned to a cabin group for the week, where they will build rapport with the campers and further practise the skills of working with children, caring for them, meeting their needs, and helping to deliver a meaningful and impactful camp experience. They will have regular check-ins with the Leadership Coordinator and get regular feedback on their performance in order to steadily improve these skills.
Week 3 (Program Facilitation):
Participants will be assigned to a program area for the week, where they will help with the prep, setup, cleanup, and facilitation of the program area, under the supervision of a staff member. Over the course of the week, they will take on progressively more responsibility in the program delivery. They will have regular check-ins with the Leadership Coordinator and get regular feedback on their performance in order to steadily improve these skills.
When does the program take place?
2023 dates will be announced soon. Participants must be able to attend during this week in order to complete the program. The other weeks of the program will be relatively flexible, depending on the spaces available and the availability of each participant.
When possible, we will try to avoid having participants join us for the week of camp they attended as campers (though we encourage staff and volunteers to come back to the weeks they feel most connected to).
Where will I stay?
Participants in this program will stay in the leaf rooms (or another designated room) in the cabins where the staff/volunteers sleep.
What about my medical condition/dietary restrictions?
Participants in this program will be responsible for the management of their own medical conditions. We will support dietary restrictions, but campers will store and administer their own medications and be responsible for managing any other treatments required while at camp. Please get in touch with us if you have questions about specific contexts.
What does the application process look like?
The application process will be as follows:
- Submit application (2023 date TBD)
- You will be contacted after you’ve applied to arrange an interview for the program
- After the interview, we will get back to you to let you know whether you have been accepted into the program
- We will confirm details, including which weeks will work best for both parties.
What about the Summer Leadership Program?
This program is designed to be the next step for those who have completed the Summer Leadership Program, though participation in that program is not mandatory to join the Junior Counsellor Program. Though many of the same skills will be covered, the Junior Counsellor program will explore those skills more deeply.
The Service Weeks of the Junior Counsellor program will look different than those of the Summer Leadership Program. In the Summer Leadership Program, campers split their time between participating in programs as campers themselves with their cabin group and spending time as a mentor with a younger group. In the Junior Counsellor program, participants will not spend any of their time as campers or with campers in their own age group but rather will spend the whole week working behind the scenes or in a younger cabin group.
Will I be able to volunteer or be a member of the staff team after having completed this program?
Completing the program will certainly make each participant more competitive in terms of being selected for volunteer or staff opportunities. We will have a chance to see the skills necessary to succeed in the camp context. As campers, we don’t have much opportunity to see those skills in action.
At the end of the Junior Counsellor program, we will give each participant an understanding of what we see as their strengths and areas of improvement and give them a recommendation as to what will be an appropriate next step.
Can I apply to be a Volunteer or Staff Member without completing this program?
You certainly can. However, former campers will be required to take a summer off between their last summer as camper and applying to join us as a Volunteer or Staff Member. Completing the Junior Counsellor program is a way to remain involved during that summer, to learn helpful skills that will help you succeed as a Volunteer/Staff Member, and help us see your strengths in context.
If you aren’t interested or available to do this program, we recommend that you find other volunteer or employment opportunities that will help you to build relevant skills that will make you a more competitive applicant in future years. If you would like suggestions for examples of activities and opportunities that we think would be helpful, please contact us.