Youth leaders coordinating activities at camp
Past campers or older youth can serve as youth leaders to facilitate activities for other youth during camp.
Youth participate in different camps during summer and at different times of the year. They are participating in an enriching experience and receiving the benefits of participating in camp. These benefits can carry over into school and other out-of-school time activities to prepare them for a successful future. There are some youth who attend camps for consecutive years and are recipients of the great benefits that camps provide as teens. They may be ready to serve in leadership roles in future camp activities. If you’re a camp director or a program manager at a camp facility, have you considered utilizing the skills of past camp participants or older youth in general to serve as a youth leader to facilitate activities for other youth in the camp?
Camp directors and program managers can start by checking with the potential youth leaders to gauge their interests in the type of activities they are possibly interested in coordinating during the camp. Michigan State University Extension suggest starting start with certain questions, such as:
- What are you good at?
- What do you love to do?
- What are your favorite classes in school?
- What classes do you excel or do well in?
- What are your talents?
- What are your hobbies?
Answers to these questions can lead to activities ranging from arts and crafts, music, sports and outdoor recreation, science, environmental education, team-building or any activity the youth leader feels a passion to teach or lead. Also, it may depend on the resources, structure and format of the camp for certain activities to happen. This can give a camp an advantage because there can be different enrichment activities each year with different youth leaders.
Getting youth leaders involved or recruiting for youth leaders can start as early as the application process for them to express their interest in serving as a youth leader and potential activities they would like to coordinate during the camp. It would also be good to have some type of training or orientation before the camp starts to teach them and give them time to prepare and practice for their activities.
Having older youth serve as leaders to plan activities gives them an opportunity to build skills for their future. They should be encouraged to keep a journal and record the skills they learn to use for a college application, scholarship application (if they’re interested in college) and a resume for a job and future career.
Give older youth the opportunity to create and lead activities to benefit their future, the camp and the youth they are serving.