Camp Half Moon in the Berkshire Mountains since 1922, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

How Massachusetts Summer Camp Counselors Become Summer Parents at Camp Half Moon

An interesting article written in the New York Times by Michael Thompson last year, details how counselors can become more of a parent than parents can. And he is correct. While your children love and respect you, it is at camp that they find a different position on authority, often making counselors more of a disciplinary than a mom or dad. “College-age students possess a completely different kind of authority than do parents,” says Thompson, “and they put it to good use, getting children to set tables, make beds, keep track of their clothes, take showers, take turns and, more important, take risks and accept challenges that would melt parents into a puddle of anxious empathy. These young adults often teach complex, challenging life-and-death skills: sailing, horseback riding, rock climbing, whitewater kayaking and survival techniques. They also teach character and community, caring and sacrifice. And they do it all in an environment free of electronics: summer camp.”

At home, children get tired of hearing the same droning commands. They are not interested in your discipline because there is nothing behind it that motivates them; no reward or ultimate goal. When a younger person, or someone who can be seen as a role model, guides them, they are more likely to want to impress them or to ‘fit in.’ Now of course, parents are role models too. But there is something to be said for CITs who possess the ‘cool factor.’ An older kid is more likely to get the job, and even more, done. Counselors make the perfect summer elders, because they create special connections with campers, and help to get done all the chores that you could not bear to nag your child another minute to do. Campers love you Mom and Dad, but they love their Massachusetts summer camp counselors too.