Big Camps were fun because there were a lot of kids to meet, and there were lots of interesting smaller groups to interact with.
Small Camps were fun because everyone knew each other and there was a real sense of community.
But after 10+ years of working at summer camps, I prefer working at the smaller ones.
What Happens Behind The Scenes At Big Camps
I found at one particular “big” camp with 80+ kids per day, the owner had to hire a lot of camp counselors. Some of these counselors were incredible. They were great with kids and a pleasure to work with.
Other counselors were just “ok,” without much spark or personality. You could tell that because the enrollment fluctuated throughout the week, the owner probably had to make some concessions on the quality of counselors just to make the counselor-to-camper ratio was manageable.
Another thing I discovered was that the counselors themselves formed smaller cliches.
I particularly remember one such cliche led by a veteran counselor along with his posse who had been working at the camp for years before I joined. They were great with the kids, but changed their personalities when in the company of just counselors.
They walked around like they were the “cool” kids because of their experience at the camp. It didn’t matter if you had spent as many years working as a counselor as they had, you were still the “new guys” to them.
They looked down on the new counselors, and were only occasionally helpful.
I didn’t like it, but at the same time, I had a great time making friends with the newer staff and more friendly seasoned counselors.
That summer was fun, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the sheer number of counselors seemed to get unruly. Plus the counselors changed every day. On Monday there might be 50 kids and 8 counselors, but then on Tuesday 40 more kids joined and with it more counselors.
The owner would call these counselors at 10:00pm the night before, desperate to see if there were people available to accommodate the large group.
It was unstable, to say the least.
I did my best to give my all to each day of camp. I cheered as loud as I could during the camp games and songs. When it was my turn to lead an activity, I’d think of new and creative alternatives to keep kids engaged.
Meanwhile, other counselors just seemed to coast by. They would lead their activities, but without much enthusiasm or creativity.
I thought it wasn’t fair to the kids. We were all paid about the same, but these guys put in a lot less effort.
I thought, “If I was in charge of a camp, it wouldn’t be this way.”
Counselors have to be a tight-knit group so the camp feels united. It helps create an atmosphere where all of the kids know each other and feel truly appreciated.
Counselors can adjust the lessons to suit the group at hand. They can improvise on the fly to make each day memorable.
This is a core value of our summer camps in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks and Torrance. Each location has a Lead Counselor and 1 or 2 Assistant Counselors, depending on enrollment. Last summer, everyone knew each other well and friendships formed among st the counselors as well as with the campers.
By keeping each camp at around 20 kids, I like that everyone knows each other.
When a parent calls us, or has a question, we can relay information to the camp quickly and easily.
Do you prefer a camp that’s smaller and more personalized?
If you do, you’ll LIFT Enrichment’s camp.
Btw, our early-bird discount ends in 2 days! Save up to $30 for each week of camp!
Locations: Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks and Torrance
Dates: Jul 24-28, Jul 31-Aug 4, Aug 7-11, Aug 14-18
Day/Times: Monday-Friday 9am-12pm (half day) or 9am-3pm (full day)
This sale ends Wed, April 19th and it’ll be the last discount of the summer.
If you have any questions, you can call us at 310 890-8704 and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.