GIVING BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY
Counselors in Training
As 14-year-olds, campers can apply to be CITs or Counselors in Training. In the interview, they are asked about their internship experiences. Together, we make a decision about where they will be happiest, most effective and best for the community. CITs receive a small stiped for their work and do not have to pay for camp.
Our CITs are incredibly valuable to us as they understand best what it is like to be a camper at Hayground, what they got out of that experience and what they want to give back. Their job in their first year is simple (but not easy): be the ultimate camper. Be open to everything. Be a great role model. Observe your elders. And begin to shape your approach to working with kids.
Gators are our oldest campers. They are 13. And they are almost ready to be staff members. During their Gator year, they get a chance to be both campers and counselors. Part of their week is spent playing and hanging out with the their friends and soaking up their last year of being campers at Hayground. The other part of their week is spent interning. They spend time working under our incredible Head Counselors all over camp. They are asked to intern in at least five different areas of camp so that they have some perspective on where they believe they will contribute best in their CIT year. In 2017, 12 of our 14 graduating Gators became CITs. And they did a fantastic job.
We believe that this transition - from Gator to CIT - is one of the most important services that we provide. During this time, there is a paradigm shift where young people begin to think in terms of others and move away from thinking purely about themselves. It is no longer, "What do I want to do? What is going to be good for me?" It is now, "What is best for the community? How can I make this better for everyone?"
We have defined the Gators as their own group because we believe that these young people need to be surrounded by others who are going through the same evolutionary moment.
And we dedicate a small team of counselors who help to coordinate internships, process experiences and prepare Gators to become CITs.