I can’t believe that my fourth week at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) is already almost over! During the first week of my internship, I attended three days of orientation where I learned in great depth about the role of the camp counselors. Although camp began the following week, my counselors in training (CITs) were not to come in until the third week of my internship. There are three camps at the JCC. With my CITs coming in last week, they spent their time at Camp Chaverim, which consists of campers from kindergarten, first, second, and third grade. My nine CITs were spread out in different bunks throughout Camp Chaverim. This week however, my CITs were placed in Camp Arye, the special needs camp. Not only has this week been an eye-opening week for the CITs, but for myself as well. Although I have a cousin who has Down syndrome, I have never spent time with special needs children who have a variety of disabilities. The CITs have been doing an extraordinary job with assisting the counselors in leading the special needs campers. During their last week at camp, the CITs will get the opportunity to select which camp they would like to spend their last week in. Earlier today, I was excited to hear two of my CITs say that they would want to spend their last week in Camp Arye.
My position as the CIT coordinator has so far been a great and humbling experience. Although I have had experience working with children, I have never assisted with mentoring and training children who would soon take on a leadership position. This week I learned what it is like to take on the role of being an efficient mediator, as I had to mediate for the CITs and the counselors who they were working with.