Many of our campers look to their counselors as role models, and through their years at Camp Namanu decide that they too would like to become counselors.
The Counselor in Training (CIT) Program is designed to help campers make the transition to young camp professionals. During the 7 weeks (over 2 summers) that the CITs are at camp, they learn about what goes on “behind the scenes” that makes camp so amazing.
From teaching arts and crafts to coaching a young camper through feelings of missing home, CITs learn the ins and outs of being a counselor through observations, practice, and reflection.
Many of our current counselors have been going to camp since they were young and went through the CIT program. They are now providing the same amazing level of experience they had to the next generation of campers.
A few CITs shared what Camp Namanu, and what the CIT program has meant to them:
- “Camp Namanu has been my escape from reality. Camp is a place where I can let my hair down and feel comfortable in a social setting with people who I have never met. Ever year that I return to camp, what impacts me most is meeting new people, and building new friendships.” – Kyle, grade 10
- “The greatest experience I have had in a Camp Fire program has been my 9 years at Camp Namanu, but specifically last summer (2015) with my involvement with the CIT 1 program. Ever since I started camp in Blue Wing, the CITs were people who I looked up to immensely, and I knew I had to be a part of that program. When I finally got the chance to apply last year, I was so overjoyed to be accepted, and to join the program. I was excited to be able to step into a role where I could make an impact on someone else’s life while having fun at the same time. But I found something even more than that. Within the CIT program and from the staff at Camp I also found a community that was welcoming, accepting, and would make sure that you never felt alone.” – Bridget
- “I can’t remember many specifics about my first week at Camp Namanu when I was going into fourth grade, but I can tell you this: it was awesome. Something about camp and me just clicked – I adored being outside and having it be admirable to be weird, and funny, and excited. I loved sitting in the weavery and singing night songs and making our own food, and going on a smelly hike. Everything was magical, from the sparkling of the sun on the beautiful Sandy River to Mr. Skriggleboggle’s letters. Just this past summer (2015), I was a CIT 1 at Namanu. Everything is still magical, but now in other ways. I think when I was younger, the magic all came from really incredible staff members trying their absolute hardest to create that magic for me and my peers. It was still “magical” to see things just happen – the CITs lighting the trail up to Closing Fire, or the giant game of Capture the Flag in Pioneer. But over the past two summers as a Gear and a CIT, the magic has become less about other people creating it for me, and more about me creating it for the next generation of campers. It is truly amazing to create a wondrous week for a younger camper and try hard to have their experience at camp be as incredible as it was, and still is, for me.” – Iris
Our Blue Wing campers today will soon be CITs, and then may apply to be counselors with us.
Some of our CITs have gone on to become members of the Youth Advisory Committee to further their leadership roles with Camp Fire Columbia, and to share their voices in decision-making roles with the organization.
Each of our CITs, in conjunction with our Camp Staff, all share in a rich legacy of creating magical experiences that impact the campers (and each other) well beyond their time at Camp Namanu. Check out this video featuring a song written by CITs from 2015.