Archive for category Camp Staff
Given its unique residential structure, it’s not difficult to see that sleep-over camp can offer young people a growth experience to be matched by nothing else. A few years ago, a parent called to book her daughter on to Centauri. While I forget her exact words so many years later, her reason for sending her child away to camp is something I have never forgotten. She told me that her daughter was a lovely person in the process of becoming a teenager – forming opinions and ideas that were very much her own and rejecting the priorities of her parents, as all young adults must. The mom went on to say that she and her husband had realised there was little that they personally could do to guide their daughter at this point in her journey to adulthood – with the notable exception of one thing. They could find her role models whose influence would be positive. Individuals who would provide the guidance that all teens need, at a time when the influence of their parents may be waning. The mom went on to ask a million questions about Centauri, before booking her daughter for the entire summer. Her family was a part of our camp for many years to follow.
The wisdom of this mom that stays with me, long after I have forgotten what she looks like or even her first name. And of all the reasons for sending a child to a sleep-over camp, this still ranks among the best in my view… assuming that a parent takes the time to make sure the camp they are choosing will offer the positive role models they are looking for.
So just how do we choose our arts program staff?
The staff who make up a summer camp’s leadership are absolutely essential to whatever that camp stands for – and that’s why we have a clear and uncompromising philosophy when it comes to hiring the program directors who run our arts camps! Here’s what we look for. The essentials. No ifs, no buts! Think of any program director at Centauri, and you’ll see what I mean!
1. They must be good people. Notice how this comes first, before anything else? They must be outstanding role models. People of integrity. Someone we’d be proud to leave in charge of our own daughter. They must also be positive, life-affirming, giving and fun-loving. After all – we’re a camp, too!
2. They must be skilled teachers, able to inspire and enthuse young people, and talented in the passing on of knowledge. They must be willing to grow and learn as teachers, meeting the needs of each person as an individual, whatever their ability and challenges. They must be willing to plan in detail before camp, and adaptable enough to throw plans out the window if the group needs something different. Notice how this comes second, and before arts credentials? That’s because I’ve met plenty of arts professionals who don’t make good teachers. Teaching passion and ability is essential.
3. They must be active in the arts, with a wealth of proven knowledge and skill to pass on to our campers. This is carefully worded. Most of our program directors are arts professionals. Most of them are graduates of top notch arts programs in universities. Most of them have years of experience behind them. ALL of them are knowledgeable and skilled.
4. Our program director team in every session must be ‘balanced’. Plenty of ‘tried and tested’ returners our campers already love, but always a few carefully-chosen new people to infuse our community with fresh ideas. Plenty of very experienced and highly respected professionals, but also some younger professionals who can bring up-to-date knowledge, inspiration and hope for the future of the arts. Most of these younger professionals have been trained, in part, by us. They understand what the arts mean at Centauri – community, personal discovery, collaboration and so on. And they are also excellent role models for our older campers, showing just what ‘making a living’ in the arts really means
Julie’s new web site is now live at www.juliehartley.ca
The new site is still growing, but already has information on her poetry, articles, plays, workshops and storytelling. Check it out!
Julie has posted 2 new articles on our web site at
The first article is Overnight camp: The seven best ways to prepare your child.
giving new camp parents some great tips on how to help with overnight camp transition.
The second article is “It’s Not a Real Job!” How Camp Counselling Prepares you for the Real World
giving a great argument why being a camp counsellor is the perfect way to learn skills for jobs in the “real world”