Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged

Counselor in Training & Teen Leadership Programs – an inside look

The pre-teen and teenage years can be a tough and confusing time for children and parents alike. Right on the cusp of adulthood, yet not quite ready to handle the responsibilities that “real life” has in store for them.

Summer can be especially challenging as they are not quite at the age yet to take on a part-time job, but want to start getting work experience that goes beyond babysitting and odd-jobs.

“Counselor in Training” and “Leader in Training” programs are designed for middle school and high school students who feel they’ve grown out of summer camps and are looking for something a little more challenging.

Here are just a few advantages to teen leadership programs:

  • Learn how to write a Resume
  • Experience the job application process
  • Earn community service hours (if the camp is a non-profit)
  • Develop time management skills
  • Develop mentorship skills
  • Improve interpersonal skills

In addition to these advantages, many camps hire on their CIT’s and LIT’s as staff members when they are ready.

We asked Kevin Condon, the CIT and LIT program instructor at the Palo Alto Oshman Family Jewish Center’s “J-Camp” some questions about what he is doing for these young adults.

What’s the main focus of the CIT and LIT program?

“Responsibility. I really try to engender the kind of passion that will make them want to help out and be a good role model for the younger ones.”

What teaching methods do you use and why?

“In the morning I begin with something that I’ve noticed a lot of them need to focus on, such as confidence. I then ask questions about different leaders in our nation, our community, and then in camp. We talk about why they think this person stands out among the rest. We start to hone down on the specific skills and traits to identify and start emulating. Usually the group finds one person they really like, such as Steve Jobs, and they try and always think what he would do in every situation.

Honestly, the transformation is remarkable. Even though they don’t know what Steve Jobs would do, it gives them the confidence to use their good judgment without hesitation or mental reservation. They turn into responsible, professional, cooperative team members that, by the end of the program, are motivated to take initiative on experiences they can learn from. It truly is amazing.”

What is your best memory from being a CIT or LIT?

“I’ll never forget getting on the bus one morning to head off to Raging Waters. It was one of our last field trips and everybody was excited. Our bus had my CIT’s and LIT’s as well as the 4th and 5th grade groups.

While we were entering the bus I noticed my group whispering to each other. I became worried thinking they were going to pull some prank on the bus driver. To my surprise, they all sat down next to someone in the other group they had not met before and introduced themselves. Later they told me that they wanted to practice meeting someone they had never met before because, “that’s going to happen all the time.” I couldn’t help but reflect on how much they’ve grown!”

Where can I find Teen Leadership and Counselor-in-Training camps near me?

ActivityHero can help you find the perfect CIT or teen leadership program near you. Or look for summer camps near you and ask them about programs for teens.