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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.  Watch this video about the CIT program.

Ages: Applicants to the CIT program must be 15 years old by May 30, 2021.

THIS IS STRICTThe reason is that to be a Leader-In-Training (LIT) next year, applicants must be 16 years old by the same date in order to be eligible for hire as a counselor in 2021. And to stay compliant with American Camp Association staff age standards, there can be NO EXCEPTIONS for the LIT birthday cutoff.

Cost: $824

2021 Dates:

  • Session 1 & 2 Coed May 30-June 12
  • Session 2 & 3 Coed June 6-19
  • Session 3 & 4 Coed June 13-26
  • Session 4 & 5 Girls June 20-July 5
  • Session 5 & 6 Coed June 27-July 10
  • Session 6 & 7 Coed July 4-17
  • Session 7 & 8 Coed July 11-24
  • Session 8 & 9 Coed July 18-31
  • Session 9 &10 Coed July 25-August 7

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 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.

 Registration and Activity Selection

The selection process for each CIT begins with program registration (see registration link above). After registration, CITs and parents should look at their Campwise accounts to find additional program information.  On their Campwise Forms page, there will be an online form called “CIT PACKET” which will include short answer questions to complete.  In addition, CIT applicants must download 2 reference forms to give to adults.  This application process, including references, is not competitive.  CITs who register for a space in a session will get their space as long as the remaining paperwork is completed.  The application and references are a professional portion of the program which helps CITs practice applying as staff, which they will need to in the future, and also is helpful in identifying adults who are able to be good references for them in the future. Please contact our Camping Services Director, at 618-695-2489 ext. 116 for more information. It is the responsibility of the CIT to ensure references are sent to Camp Ondessonk. Current status of all paperwork can be viewed on each camper’s Campwise account. CITs who complete their registration after the beginning of April are less likely to get first choice of activity area.

Weekend Duties

CIT’s stay at camp for the full 2 week program, including over the weekend.  Parents that must check their camper out over the weekend should check out on Saturday and return on Sunday by 11, although this is not recommended. On Saturday CITs will have the opportunity to swim or hike and relax at camp 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 activity area.

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, 2021.

Ages: Applicants to the LIT program must be 16 years old on May 30, 2021.

Cost: There is no cost for this program. 

2021 Dates: LITs are at camp for a 4-5 week “half”.  First Half is May 30-June 26; Second Half is July 4-August 7, 2021.  All LITs are highly recommended to attend training (May 26-29, 2021) unless they have a school conflict. Those unable to attend the May training will be required to complete online training by TBD.

General Program Information

The LIT program is like a counselor internship.  They volunteer their time for approximately 4-5 weeks of the summer and work in multiple program areas, and they are assigned to a camper unit and have responsibilities within the unit, but never alone.  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 send in 3 completed reference forms available on the employment page.  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 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 LITs will be assigned 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 2020)

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