I spent my summer doing a different kind of learning. Some would call it an outdoor experience but I call it a life experience.
I was a summer camp counselor at YMCA Camp Loma Mar. My camp name was J-Rod and I carried a frisbee or a ball with me just about everywhere. This summer was a big step in my development as a young adult. The learning curve was hard and there were no off days- except one where you would prep for the kids. I trained with a staff team of twelve to take care of other kids, handle hard situations, help children grow, and ultimately let kids have the most fun of their lives. I have to admit it was tough being the youngest one there but I knew I had a lot to learn so I kept an open mind and asked for help ALL the time.
I had a hard time communicating with people and a tough time understanding how rules went at camp, and I made a lot of mistakes; but at the end of the day I learned from that. I’ve grown to be more self-reflective and take responsibility. One thing I learned was: see it own it. Simply put, If I saw something that needed care then I should take care of it(if appropriate) without having to ask someone. I also learned that the best way to help youth is by asking them what they need and want, and trying to figure out what they think before we give advice.
I will never forget when one of my campers Jacob Ackiron said i was hands down the best counselor and that i tried hard at my job. He wrote me a note and I read it aloud to the whole camp. Having a cabin of nine kids was hard but all the little things they did made it all worth it. I worked from 7:20 Am to 10 Pm with an 1hr 40min break, and some stress was piling up. We were at line up and the site director said that he would dismiss the cabin that showed their counselor the most appreciation. Immediately the whole cabin dog piled me and hugged me, and soon after that we were one of the first ones to be dismissed. That made my day.
Now I will be taking that responsibility, communicaton, and initiative lesson into my new experience as a true CMCer.