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Being a Counselor
The core of the Special Camp for Special Kids program is the unique bond formed by campers and their counselors. During each camp session, every camper is paired with one counselor, who is their "mentor" or "buddy" for the week. The program's one-to-one camper-to-counselor ratio provides an extraordinary atmosphere, which fosters cherished friendships. Campers look to their counselors for inspiration, education, support, and love. Being a counselor at Special Camp can be a life changing experience.                                                                                          
                             

Demographics

Counselors come from around the country, with a large percentage from Orange and Los Angeles Counties. In 2010, the average grade level for our counselors was 11.12, and each counselor averaged well over a year of experience in the program. Applicants must be high school age or older to apply. Most of our counselors are high school students, although some college students and professional adults participate as well.

Applying

Prospective counselors can apply to volunteer for one or two sessions of camp (pending availability). The position is solely volunteer-based, which allows many counselors to use the hours they dedicate at Special Camp toward the community service requirement at their school, church, or organization. After completing a Counselor Application, it is mandatory that prospective new counselors interview with a member of the Special Camp staff. The interviews are coordinated by the Executive Director. Experience is not needed to be a counselor. It is strongly recommended that each applicant be able to articulate why they wish to serve as a counselor at Special Camp and what they hope to bring to their fellow counselors, their camper, and the entire Special Camp Family. For Summer of 2016, applications were available beginning January 1, 2016 and can be obtained here.

Counselor Training Seminars


If accepted, new counselors are required to attend one of the counselor training seminars. The one-day training seminar is an intensive workshop intended to provide counselors with necessary information and skills for being a counselor, as well as an opportunity to learn more about the disabled community. The workshops offer both "hands-on" learning opportunities and informative educational lectures.

Guest speakers and workshop leaders include camp staff, camper parents, campers, returning counselors, psychologists, medical personnel, and special education teachers. The seminars explore interpersonal styles, leadership skills, values and ethics, safety procedures, life with a disability, and what it means to be a counselor.

Many counselors come into the program knowing little or nothing about disabilities. Often counselors are timid about interacting with a child or teenager with a disability. The campers' parents and the Special Camp staff realize that many counselors have fears and anxieties. One of the fundamental goals of the program is to break down the stigma attached to the disabled community and to provide a valuable learning experience for both the campers and the counselors.

Honor Code
The Special Camp for Special Kids Counselor Honor Code has been established to collectively affirm the standards that bind our volunteer counselor community together.

 

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