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Ondessonk Leadership Program-CIT LIT

Camp Ondessonk Counselor In Training CIT teen summer camp

The Ondessonk Leadership Program is a progression that begins at age 15 with the CIT-Counselor in Training program to the Leader In Training program at age 16.  Each program in the progression is designed for older campers who want to use their camp experience to grow socially and emotionally at camp and beyond.  Campers in each of these sessions spend time at camp learning skills that will last a lifetime.  The experiences gained through the Leadership Program may be used to move into staff positions at camp if the camper desires, or may be done with the intention to use the skills learned at camp elsewhere throughout their lives.

During the course of the program, campers have the opportunity to learn about leadership styles, communication techniques, and have the opportunity to share and identify their own ideas and values.  The goal of the program is to focus on the leadership qualities of compassion, self-awareness, integrity and hard work while also developing confidence and life-long friendships. 

Camp Ondessonk Summer Youth Camp HandicraftsCounselor In Training (CIT)

The CIT program is a two-week leadership development session designed to prepare participants for possible future counselor positions.  Participants in the CIT program return home more open-minded, self-aware, and motivated to give back to their family, school, and community.

Ages: Applicants to the CIT program must be 15 years old by May 30, 2019.

Cost: $789

2019 Dates:

  • Session 1 & 2 Coed June 2-15 
  • Session 2 & 3 Coed June 9-22 
  • Session 3 & 4 Coed June 16-29
  • Session 4 & 5 Coed June 23-July 6
  • Session 5 & 6 Coed June 30-July 13
  • Session 6 & 7 Girls July 7-20
  • Session 7 & 8 Coed July 14-27
  • Session 8 & 9 Coed July 21-Aug 3


Register for CIT

General Program Information

The first week of the Counselors-In-Training Program will consist of programming designed to assess and improve one’s leadership and team skills. During the first week of the program, CITs will begin building their team and will also be assigned to “major” in an activity area where they will concentrate on developing skills related to that particular activity area.  During the second week of the program, CITs will live in a unit and assist a Unit Leader throughout the day. Because CITs are technically campers themselves, they are never left solely in charge of campers.

 Application and Selection

The selection process for each applicant begins with program registration (see registration link above). Camp Ondessonk will then send each registrant a detailed application and program information. To officially apply and gain admission, applicants must submit a CIT application and references. Applicants not accepted will receive a full refund.  Please contact our Camping Services Director, at 618-695-2489 ext. 104 for more information. Applications will be reviewed in mid-March. Since you have plenty of time to complete this application, prepare it well. Your selection as a CIT will depend heavily upon the quality of your application and the strength of your references. It is the responsibility of the CIT to ensure references are sent to Camp Ondessonk. Camp Ondessonk is not responsible for letting CIT’s know that they are missing reference forms. CIT applications received after mid-March will be reviewed on a space available basis only.

Weekend Duties

On Saturday between weeks 1 and 2 of the program, CIT’s may leave camp with a parent. Those that stay between weeks will have the opportunity to swim or hike and relax before the second week of the program.  No laundry service is available between weeks for campers.

What to Bring

Pack enough clothing for two weeks. You may need additional clothing/footwear/towels/etc. to be successful within your selected major.

Leader In Training (LIT)

The LIT program is a multi-week program for potential staff members to experience multiple program and service areas and to have responsibilities within a camper unit while receiving mentorship and guidance from more experienced camp staff.  LITs are not paid staff, but do not pay for participation in the program.  All LIT applicants must be 16 years old by May 30, 2018.

Ages: Applicants to the LIT program must be 16 years old on May 30, 2018.

Cost: There is no cost for this program. 

2019 Dates: LITs are at camp for a 4 or 5 week “half”.  First Half is June 2-June 29; Second Half is June 30-August 3, 2019.  All LITs are required to attend Staff Orientation (May 26-June 1, 2019) unless they have a school conflict.

General Program Information

The LIT program is like a counselor internship.  They volunteer their time for approximately 5 weeks of the summer and work in multiple program and service areas.  LITs are invited to attend staff training week along with all paid staff.  They are assigned to a camper unit and have responsibilities within the unit, but never alone.  Each week LITs work in a new area.  This allows them to discover new strengths and determine the best fit for them if they were to apply as paid staff in the future.  LITs receive frequent feedback and have weekly group sessions along with one-on-one sessions with the Head Counselor.  Often, campers do not know which counselors in their unit are LITs and which are not, so the potential for impacting a camper’s experience is very high.

Application and Selection

LIT applications can be found on the employment page of the Camp Ondessonk website: http://Ondessonk.com/employment.  They become available when staff applications are posted, which is typically in November.  LITs must complete an application and 3 letters of recommendation.  All LITs will be interviewed prior to their selection in Late February or Early March.  It is not a requirement to have participated in the CIT program or Teen Leadership Camp to apply as a LIT.

Weekend Duties

On Saturdays, LITs are off.  They must have written permission from a parent or guardian to leave camp during their off periods.  LITs that remain at camp do have access to meals and laundry between sessions.  One Saturday during the summer will be assigned to each LIT for a weekend duty.  LITs are able to request that they are not given weekend duty on certain weekends.  Weekend duty may involve working in the office, riding on the bus with campers departing and arriving at camp, or supervising layover campers.  Just like duties during the week, LITs are never given a supervision duty without an over-18 staff member accompanying them.

Apply to be a LIT (Application available November 2018)


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