Skills that Last a Lifetime from the 2021 CIT Program
In summer 2021, the first step in becoming a Camp Ondessonk staff member is embarking on a two-week journey through the Counselor in Training (CIT) Program. Although still considered campers, these 15-year-olds begin to learn what it takes to be a camp counselor by developing their leadership skills and learning about themselves in the process.
CITs participate in a multitude of activities, including ground based initiatives, a survivor challenge, service projects and facilitating at activity areas, all while getting in touch with their own personal leadership style.
Co-CIT Director Michael Steele comments on the change he sees in the CITs throughout the week: “My favorite part about being CIT Director is seeing the growth that the kids have had. We have our campers for two weeks, and just watching the change in the kids from that first Sunday to that last Saturday as they grow more confident in their abilities, as they open up, as they connect as a group… it’s why I wake up in the morning, and it’s why I love working at Camp.”
Not only is being a CIT about learning the ropes of working as a camp counselor, but it also provides a unique environment for making close-knit friends.
“My most impactful moment of the CIT program was in the first week, all of us made friendship bracelets in the middle of the woods on our overnight. It was more of a bonding experience than you’d think it was,” current CIT Dominic said.
Another CIT, Lee, had a similar experience: “We stood around the campfire at our overnight and sang, and it was just a really fun moment. Everyone was just so close and so happy. It was a great… great time.”
Within just two weeks, CITs have a newfound confidence and skillset, along with new friendships that will last a lifetime.