Counselors In Training learn leadership skills by doing at summer camps
BEDFORD, NH – When it comes to being a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™, the girls progressing through the Girl Scout Experience as counselors in training are leading the way. This year’s class of CITs, as they are known, made a presentation to the leadership team of directors of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains on July 25, and shared some of their experiences.
Molly Tatlock told of an experience they had at Camp Farnsworth, where they went into an area new and unfamiliar to them to camp and test their outdoor skills. They had trouble getting a fire going, but eventually had success. When they woke the next morning, they could hear far-off campers at Hanoum Dining Hall’s singing porch by Lake Abenaki, and responded to the song with their own chorus. Meghan MacDonald added that hearing them sing got them excited, but said, “We were hearing their echo (over the water), and it was a big echo-y mess! Everyone was laughing!”
Most have been going to Camp Farnsworth for many years and are eager to hone their leadership skills. CITs shadow more experienced staff and participate in discussions about how to help younger campers, provide positive role models, and plan activities. All agreed that doing such work requires an open-mindedness and willingness to take on leadership roles. Being kind, cooperative, and just being determined to see things through helps, they said.
It also requires a sense a humor. Sometimes campers will go through multiple bottles of sunscreen in a day, or make a fairy house sprinkled with yellow “sand” that turns out to be pollen (with the expected results).
“I just really love the atmosphere and working with campers,” said Blake Ellis.
The girls try hard to provide positive role models and live up to the expectations of the job, said Delaney Reynolds, CIT director for Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
This year’s class of counselors in training include Athena Anthos, of Boscawen, NH; Braileigh Booker, of Weare, NH; Katelynn Budzyn, of Naugatuck, CT; Blake Ellis, of East Wakefield, NH; Jayleigh Genest, of Concord, NH; Erika Ingersoll, of Concord, NH; Meghan MacDonald, of Bedford, NH; Glenna Ricard, of Windsor, VT; Molly Tatlock, of North Ferrisburgh, VT; and Clemence Frety of France.
Getting girls outdoors is a huge component of the Girl Scout Experience. Camp is one way many girls take part in Girl Scouts, whether through day camp or resident camp. Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains offers camp for girls entering kindergarten through grade 12.
Girls in 9th through 12th grade can participate as a counselor in training or barn leader in training or aide. Camp aides, those in 9th and 10th grades, get to take the next step in their Girl Scout leadership journey. Aides practice skills in leading an all-camp and in program areas – waterfront, adventure, crafts, nature, woodshop, and in the horse barn. They participate in camp program areas as a unit, and plan an overnight to practice their outdoor skills.
Girls in grades 10-12 progress a step further towards a goal of becoming a summer camp staff member. The four-week program for counselors in training and barn leaders in training follows a written curriculum focused on camp and outdoor skills, practicing new leadership skills, and working with campers in all areas of camp. All participate in camp as well, learning to work as a team on the ropes course and planning an overnight to practice their outdoor skills.
Outdoor experiences in Girl Scouts provide opportunities to discover, connect, and take action in ways that build courage, confidence, and character. They increase girls’ understanding of the natural world and shape them into leaders who are conscientious about the world around them. Getting girls outdoors is one of the four pillars of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, along with STEM, life skills, and entrepreneurship, and is part of the one-of-a-kind leadership development program just for girls.
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.