Aside from the campers and the counselors, there is another special group of people that is very important to the success of summer camp: our CITs or Counselors in Training.
In my role as the 2016 summer writing intern, I sought out a few Counselors In Training one Thursday afternoon to hear from them about the experience. After an idyllic morning splashing around with some of Primitive Pursuits’ youngest campers at the creek, three CIT’s had a moment to sit down and take a well deserved break. Each had different relationship to Primitive Pursuits, but all clearly shared a tremendous sense of enthusiasm for what they were doing.
Vicki’s engagement had begun just his year when she attended Coyote Camp at the beginning of this summer. She shared that she took to the skills and “way of life” quickly. Today was only her second day of being a CIT, but it was clear that she already loved it.
Wallace and Zoe had both started attending Primitive Pursuits Camps when they were younger, Wallace at six and Zoe at ten. Each had begun the CIT program the previous summer and were thrilled to come back for another year.
The three of them explained that they have two very important jobs: to be liaisons between the young campers and the counselors, and to assist the counselors with ensuring the safety and free-form fun of each and every one of these energetic campers.
The CIT program is designed for ages 13-16, a group that seems to be perfect for both the serious and more playful sides of this role. Zoe and Wallace recalled when they were campers and how they always thought the CIT’s were more laid-back and fun because they have fewer responsibilities than counselors, and could participate in all the games and activities alongside campers.
“It is more important for us to appear as their friend than as their teacher”,
At the creek that day Vicki, Zoe, and Wallace splashed in the water and found crayfish to show the younger children, but were also ready to pack up bags and lunches and help with any logistics when it was time to leave.
The teenagers admitted that running for hours with these active young campers can really drain their energy, but they all agree that it is well worth it. They also told me they felt teens keep coming back to Primitive Pursuits both because they passionately believe in the mission of getting more kids outside and have a lot of fun being a part of it. The ability to explore the woods and learn useful and interesting skills continues to interest them, and they want to be able to pass that gift on.
Vicki added,“I think it is important for kids to know that there are more fun things they can do besides watch TV!”