I had the joy of working at the Concordia Language Villages for the second half of the summer. I was a camp counselor (it makes me cringe to type that because it was so much more than just being a camp counselor) in the French village, Lac du Bois. Everyone should check it out, it is without a doubt the coolest place I’ve been in my entire life. So with that, here are five life lessons I learned from working at Lac du Bois.
- It’s okay to not have all the answers: just know who does.
I figured this out quickly when suddenly I was thrown into a leadership position somewhere I’d never been before. From the villagers to my fellow counselors and their equally endless questions (although frequently more productive from the counselors), someone always needed information. If you don’t have the answer, make sure you can point them the someone who knows.
2. Teaching is a two way street.
Why do people go to school to be teachers? Because not everyone is born with the talent. You can be a professional in any field, but if you can’t explain it to someone else well enough to be replicated then it means very little in teaching. The greatest part of teaching is the relationship you create with those you teach. That was a huge lesson I learned this summer in how to learn and grow with the people I taught. You learn and grow together, although often in different ways.
3. Sharing is important.
Share everything. From ideas to games, activities, and crafts to food (and in my case, linguistic advice), next to nothing should be off limits (other than, you know, germs and gross stuff like that). Your co-counselors are the people you will be closest with this summer, and they will be the greatest resources for you when you have nothing to do after your outdoor activity is rained out or when a girl in your cabin gets lice. Even if they can’t fix it, they can help and commiserate knowing that you would do the same fore them. (And really, it’s more fun to share princess goldfish than to eat them alone.)
4. Always have a back up plan or a lot of enthusiasm!
As in life, camp is frequently a big show of fake it ’till you make it. It’s fast and fun, and normally you barely know what’s going on. It is exactly that which brings me to the point of always making a plan. It will help you enormously. That being said if you don’t have a plan, have a lot of enthusiasm!
5. Remember why you’re there.
Sometimes it’s hard to feel appreciated when you’re woken up at 3am because someone is homesick, or when a villager asks you if you can do something fun like the other groups. I won’t lie, it’s hard, it’s moments like those that make you cherish a villager asking if you’ll lead an activity again because someone said it was inspiring the week before or when you’re told that someone’s favorite part of the day is that you danced with them. You learn, above all, that every moment is a treasure.
Have you have been a camp counselor? Share your stories in the comments below!