By Linda Stalvey
I remember my daughter’s first year at All Arts & Sciences Camp at George Mason University. Brynn begged me to let her stay overnight. “Let’s try commuter first, and if you like the camp, you can go residential next year,” I said with my wise mom hat on. After all, she was only a rising second grader!
That first night when I picked her up, she railed at me that she’d miss all the fun by not spending the night. Okay, she was right, she could have handled it.
It was the start of a love affair with camping that has survived into the teen years and, instead of wilting away, is thriving. This year is her last as a camper at All Arts & Sciences Camp, but she has her heart set on the Counselor-In-Training (CIT) Program for 2008.
All Arts & Sciences Camp
All Arts & Sciences Camp (AA&SC) is a program of the Division of Continual Learning at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. In addition to its home campus, AA&SC travels to four mid-Atlantic campuses, including George Mason University (that will be replaced by the University of Maryland in 2007), William and Mary, Virginia Tech and North Carolina State University.
The campers get to experience life on a college campus, food in college cafeterias and life in the dorms. In addition to the regular camp activities, AA&SC campers choose two courses. The topics make me wish I was an eligible camper: Forensic Medicine, Cartooning, Stage Make-up, Art in Architecture, Flavor Chemistry, Marine Science, Sports Science, Pottery Wheel, Auto Design and more. There is something for everyone. These kids have fun and learn something too.
The camp started in 1991 and its first CIT program was held in 1995. Many of the camp’s staff, including director Kisha Carmichael, are alumni of the camp and/or CIT program. The CIT program has become so popular that Carmichael can only accept 60 of the 100+ applications she gets yearly, about 10 per campus. As with any job, successful candidates are interviewed and provide references. The purpose of the interview is to know the individual and get a feel for what he or she can bring to camp and what one can gain from the experience. The CIT program will also fulfill 40 or 80 hours of community service depending on whether the individual is CIT-1 or CIT-2.
The CIT programs offer teens a wonderful opportunity to learn and apply leadership skills in a graduated format with supervision and feedback. It’s a challenging but rewarding opportunity for those motivated to pursue it. For UNGC, it has a homegrown staff in a continual feed. A win-win situation for sure!
By Brynn Stalvey
To me, camp is a great way to make new friends and become more outgoing. I know that every summer camp is different, but they all seem to aim for one set of ambitious goals: to have fun, be safe and, maybe, learn a thing or two while at it.
My camp, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro’s All Arts and Science Camp, manages to accomplish all of these things. It offers me a chance to make friends and enjoy two-hour-long classes of my choice (two per day), a sports activity and a look into the lives of the world’s greatest motivators.
My favorite part of camp is the Counselors-In-Training (CIT) program. The way my camp works it, there are two different levels of CITs. The first level is CIT-1. This is a one-week program that costs $300 (which is half the cost of a residential camper’s fee).
In this program, CIT-1s take part in setting up and assisting with daily recreation and evening concessions. We attend leadership classes in the morning and have other assignments in the afternoon. Typical assignments include shadowing a counselor or administrative staff member, assisting with a colony group, working with a classroom instructor, helping with evening entertainment or distributing supplies. CIT-1s also have a free period each day.
We are expected to participate in every phase of camp, from registration through the closing program. We must be healthy and physically able to perform the jobs assigned to us. We are supervised by, and report to a CIT Coordinator.
To me, it seems like a great way to begin transitioning into the working world, not to mention it looks amazing on a college application!
If I do an exemplary job at being a CIT-1, I will be invited back to become a CIT-2 – the final stage to becoming a full-fledged camp counselor.
In the second stage of the program, I can work at camp for two weeks as a co-counselor and receive pay for my efforts.
In this phase, I will attend classes during the morning and be assigned to various camp tasks throughout the week. It’s more intense than CIT-1 and a truetest of my counselor skills.
Obviously, I’m hoping to make it to this stage.
Brynn Stalvey is a CIT-1 at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro’s All Arts and Science Camp and is motivated to graduate to CIT-2 next summer. She took the time to write this article between high school homework assignments, which means we’re positive she has the work ethic and attention to detail to be a great counselor. Good luck, Brynn!
Linda Stalvey is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Parks & Rec Business, who gave up Washington, D.C., public relations to indulge her passion for parks, the environment and outdoor activities in Medina, Ohio. You can reach her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.