Back this summer after a few years' hiatus, the Counselor-in-Training (CIT) Leadership Program is preparing a small group of teens to become Camp Montessori counselors. The CIT program provides a great bridge for teenagers who have matured beyond camper status but are not quite ready to supervise younger campers on their own.
They kicked off their program the week of July 1 with a three-day curriculum taught by CIT advisor and longtime Camp Montessori counselor Kevin DeCusatis. Together they reviewed what was expected of CITs as junior staff members, counseling skills and camper behavior management. During their initial weeks, CITs also learned how to safely lead campers to the Windybush pool and how to manage children on field trips.
CIT Angelina Szkotak, who hopes to serve as a full-time counselor next summer, says she's gained useful camper management skills in addition to learning the basic flow of each classroom.
"I've learned how to handle different situations and different conversations with children, and when to step in to address issues," she said.
For the remaining camp weeks, CITs will be interning in camp classrooms at all levels. Each week they are assigned to a new camp level, from Turtles (toddlers) to Dragons (entering grades 6-9). As they assist counselors in those rooms, they also make observations, which they capture in their weekly evaluation forms. Every Friday they meet individually with Director of Montessori Enrichment Tracey Gable to discuss their experiences, struggles and what they liked or didn't like.
"The CIT program is a great way to train new staff, teach them camp processes and procedures, and immerse future counselors in Camp Montessori culture," Tracey said.
Tracey is hopeful each CIT will successfully complete the program and return next summer as a counselor.