Summer Camps, Deaf Awareness Month, Ideas?

I posted a video yesterday on YouTube, but completely forgot to post here so it’s linked below along with a blog post! These are my thoughts on summer camps and how they approach thank-yous at the end of these camps.

I’ve worked for summer camps for a long time, as long as I could, since I was 17, at some camps. So, this is a pretty important topic to me. Summer camps, to me, is a place where kids can discover who they are, really figure out their identity, meet other people like them, meet other people who have the same passions. So I believe summer camp is a very important part of kids growing up. I would encourage anyone to go to camp. Today, my focus is on the adults who work at these camps. I’ve worked for several different summer camps so I want to be clear, not all summer camps are like this. All of them have different ways of doing things, different processes. That’s fine, let’s put that aside. But I’m talking more about some specific camps that do this. Or rather, don’t do this.

What is this? I’ve noticed that some camps will do thank yous to directors, thank you to a guest presenter, or a “teacher” during the camp. “Thank you, thank you!” to all of those people, thank you to sponsors, thank you to…. Parents! Thank you to all of those, but one group of people that they frequently forget to say thank you to is the counselors. Counselors meaning the people who supervise the kids while they’re sleeping, supervise during the day, do and are responsible for the activities, watching the kids. Often, that group is forgotten. That group is pretty important for the camp to operate. Without that group, you would not be able to do this camp as well. Often, teachers don’t have the role of watching the kids during the day. That’s the counselor’s role. If there was no counselor, would the teacher be responsible for that, plus teach? No. Overnight, counselors watch the kids overnight. Without that supervision, would parents feel safe? No. Counselors become role models to these kids. These kids look up to the counselors! I’m not saying this to be egoistical or anything, it’s not that. It’s true, it happens. Kids look up to these counselors. Especially at d/Deaf camps. These d/Deaf children often grow up with no one to look up to. They come to this camp, and see a d/Deaf adult, “They seem to be doing their job well, oh, that means I can do this too. I have a future.” That is pretty big for d/Deaf kids, seeing someone they CAN look up to, and someone who is the same as them.

So, with all of that, when camps don’t give thanks to these counselors, that bothers me. Without them, the camp wouldn’t be a success. Without them, the kids may not want to come back the next year. Without them, the camp would be nothing. So… If you are a director of a camp, or upper-level staff, or on the board for a camp, keep this in mind when you run a camp. Remember to say thank you to the counselors. Seriously. They’re a pretty big part of summer camps’ success. You obviously can see this is pretty important to me. And it’s not like I’m saying this because I WANT to get thanks for this, no. Well, yes — really — honestly. I’m doing this because it would be really nice to have thanks for all of the work that we (counselors) do. Because… It is not easy. Some camps are not easy. I’ve experienced working at a camp for two weeks, with a team of four counselors (two male, two female). With twenty-four kids. And almost no breaks. Technically, we did have breaks, but we often didn’t take them because we couldn’t. And… It was not easy. (chuckles) Don’t get me wrong! I love it, the camps, I love working at these camps. But… It’s not easy sometimes. So, I think it is important for people in general — directors, board, parents, teachers — to remember that counselors are really important to summer camps. And remember to say thank you to them for the hard work that they do. For investing their time for kids that aren’t even theirs! Okay, that’s it for today’s topic.

September is Deaf Awareness Month! Of course, being me, I don’t have any plans for this… And I should! I do have a couple ideas for videos that I’ve had written down for a while that could apply to this month, so I might do those. If you have any specific things related to being Deaf that you want to know about or see in a video, let me know! (I’ll really appreciate it.)

ALSO. Ideas for any other type of video are welcome, I like getting input from others and including them. I was thinking I might like to try doing a guest blog on here from time to time… But maybe I should get better at consistently posting first? Let me know what you think. I miiiiiight have something out tomorrow, we’ll see. Later!

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