When I first started working as a counselor, people would ask me, “What do you do as a counselor?” I would innocently respond with “I play with kids.” I didn’t know how to articulate what I did each day, especially when I was in high school. This would lead to friends and other employers thinking it is a joke job or easy job. For people that are currently working in youth programs, we all know that this is a very challenging job, and you learn so much about yourself in the process. I have included some professional skills you can highlight so your staff know how to articulate what they do. This is important for young professionals looking for their next job. It is also good for them to see how many skills they can continue to learn if they return back to camp or your program.
Professional Skills Include…
1. Active Listening – You demonstrated empathy and understanding through your attentive presence.
2. Time Management – You prioritized tasks to meet the needs of large groups of children. You are helping them navigate their day from 7:00am to 6:00pm.
3. Pubic Speaking – You developed and innovative and fun ways to engage an audience of 2 to 300 people.
4. Management Skills – You were responsible for the physical and emotional safety of children and worked to build community each day.
5. Creativity – Youth programs can be unpredictable and you had lots of chances to adapt to unexpected situations, innovated programming, and nurtured the artistic expression of campers.
6. Lesson Planning – You independently planned and lead programs about art, athletics, character development, and more for youth of all ages.
7. Interpersonal Skills – You contributed to a positive youth program culture by interacting with staff, campers, and parents from diverse backgrounds. Keep using those skills to help us recruit more amazing staff for this Summer.
Even as professional staff, it’s good to reflect on what you actually do each day. It may surprise you! I have added this to the youth programming section in the Resource Zone. Check this out for more awesome ideas to make your youth program 1 percent better.