Summer Camp Staff Information


Welcome to The Farm Camp Counselor Orientation page.  This is your introduction into Farm Camp practices and traditions.  I hope you will all take this information and apply it to your daily summer routine.

Your job as a counselor is extremely important. You are a leader, a role model, a friend, a colleague and a part of The Farm family. Every camper who sees you at Farm Camp will look up to you. Some campers will look at you as a big brother or big sister. To others you will be a teacher. Some campers may even view you as a type of parent or guardian. Most of all, you will be seen as a trusted friend who can be a source of caring, comfort, fun, and friendship.

Camp counseling is not always easy. It involves listening, sharing, guiding, and advising campers. It is helping them adjust to new situations, giving encouragement, and caring about each camper as an individual. The importance of camp counseling can often be found in the everyday, routine activities like playing a card game with a group of kids or having a catch.

Camp counseling is a combination of the tangible things you do for campers throughout the summer and your ability to help them to have a positive camp experience.  After camp is over and campers are in the middle of next year’s school year, they’ll often think back to the things you did for them and with them. It is a serious responsibility but one whose rewards will come back to you in many different ways for years to come.

Camp Directors

Little Farmer’s = Addy Rigdon, Elizabeth Geier and Jared Drexler

Day Camp = Casey Goodwin and Nick Arno

Youth Camp = Dave Ingram and Peter Cheney

After Camp = Caitlyn Collier

The Importance of Farm Camp Counselors

  1. A great counselor is the most important ingredient to a successful camp. To a large degree, the effectiveness of the camping program depends on the ability of the counselor to interpret the objectives of the camp to your campers through your actions and attitude.
  2. The camp program, schedule and activities are important, but no amount of programming will bring the campers close to having a successful summer if there is not a well-trained staff of counselors present.

Camp Counselor Responsibilities

We have various policies, procedures, counselor roles and responsibilities.  Below, are a few worth highlighting.

  1. Camp procedures, policies and problems should be discussed with the camp director, rather than with other counselors or CITs.
  2. Campers’ health problems or injuries are a personal matter and should only be discussed with persons immediately involved with the first aid or attention being provided and The Farm administrative staff.
  3. Be sure campers understand camp rules and health and safety regulations. Follow these rules and regulations yourself.
  4. Counselors are expected to participate in all activities and programs during camp. Volunteer your services to director for activities in which you have competence.
  5. Be friendly but never partial. It is easy to like the likeable, amusing and talented child, but do not neglect the quiet child; they have needs as well.
  6. Help campers uphold the traditions and ideals of the camp. This suggests never discussing the camp policies or personnel in an unfavorable light with any camper.
  7. Be with your campers or know where they are at all times.
  8. Work with campers to maintain a clean camp. Designate clean-up times for all campers to help make their area better.
  9. Enjoy the camp experience with the campers. Enter into their fun and joy of adventure. Help them feel like they belong to the camp and to the group.

Camp Counselor Job Description/Rules

It is important to have a sense of ownership in the camp you work in. The job description and explanations below outline the typical duties of a camp counselor.  A job schedule will be created weekly by your director and will be posted on the closet door.

  • Obtain and maintain CPR, and First Aid certifications.
  • Greet children upon arrival in camp with an enthusiastic “good morning”, “hello”, etc. This is the first impression for the day so it is essential you are energetic.
  • Always participate in games and other activities.
  • Maintain safety of children at all times.
  • Closed-toed shoes at all times.
  • No running across road, especially with children.
  • No piggy back rides, especially across roads.
  • No lap sitting.
  • If you’re looking over your shoulder for Ben or me, it’s probably not okay
  • Lead your group of campers in daily activities.
  • Attend all camp staff meetings on Mondays after camp.
  • Participate in tennis activity period every day.
  • Interact with children in the pool or on pool deck during swimming hour.
  • Help set up/put away all materials needed for various activities.
  • Make sure camp facilities are clean at the end of the day: empty trash, blow out shelter, put away games, etc. as the job schedule indicates.
  • Always treat CITs as equals.
  • Be aware of anyone or anything that might be ‘out of place’ (campers in road, strange looking person, unattended bags or packages, etc…)

Explanation of Daily Assigned Counselor Duties

  • Camp Schedule – A full camp schedule can be found HERE
  • Camp Special Events Calendar – A list of weekly special events can be found HERE
  • Swim Team – (All Camps) Counselors assigned this duty should become familiar with the swim team members, some new campers may confuse practice with regular swim time or swim lessons. The counselors are responsible for walking the campers to the pool for practice at 8:45 and returning them after practice at 9:45. Little Farmer’s need to have a counselor pick up campers at 9:35.  Always have a written list of campers with you and do not forget to pick up the campers from the pool!
  • Trash Duty – A dumpster is located at the end of the upper parking lot. Trash should be taken out daily and new bags placed in the cans. Please consolidate trash into as few bags as possible.  The replacement bags need to be tied so they do not fall down into the can when trash is thrown into them.  All counselors should collect trash around your camp area throughout the day, this is not the role of trash duty.
  • Tennis Time – All counselors and CITs are required to participate during tennis time. This typically involves throwing tennis balls to the campers and playing silly games on the tennis court.  One tennis professional will be present to organize campers on courts.  Please make sure campers are well behaved and safe while on the tennis court.
  • Lunches –Please put the lunches in the fridge in the morning and take them out at the beginning of lunchtime. Lunches may need to go to pool if double pool day is on the schedule.
  • Water Coolers –Before camp starts, two coolers should be filled with ice and water. The counselors assigned this duty will also need to fill the coolers as needed on hot days.

Food for Thought

  1. Counselors need to be leaders, you got this position for a reason.  We expect you to participate in all activities and be a leader when your director asks.  The more you get into the spirit of camp, the more the campers will feed off of your enthusiasm.
  2. Each camp will be offering COW’s (counselor of the week) awards for the best counselor or CIT in each camp, each week.  COWs will receive a Farm Camp t-shirt and 2 free slices of pizza on Friday for winning.
  3. During check in and check out, we would like for everyone to put their best face on for the first 30 minutes and last 30 minutes in the day.  When you walk past a parent or camper, we would like everyone to smile and say hello.  The simplest hello and smile tend to go a long way.  It makes parents feel comfortable dropping their children off and it makes the campers feel comfortable to be left with you.
  4. After Camp Counselors: We ask that you plan on being present for 4 of the 5 days.   The after camp director will assign your days off on Monday or the Friday the week beforePlease email me requested days off if you already have conflicts in the summer.
  5. SAFETY FIRST!  The Farm always strives to make our facility safe for both campers and counselors.  Please think before you act.  Be on the lookout for emotional and physical safety for both you and your campers.
    1. Emotional Safety:  Campers and other counselors bullying and belittling campers.
    2. Physical Safety: We are at camp to make sure the kids are having fun, not to dominate in sports! When playing games during camp, we ask that you always use your best judgment with your level of intensity.   Exerting 100% effort in dodge ball is never necessary!
  6. New Swim Bands for pool time: All campers will be required to wear a swim band during swim time.  We encourage campers to wear bands at all times so we know who is in camp but this will not be required (yet). We will have 3 different colors.
    1. WHITE: Swimmer must stay in the shallow end, deemed a non-swimmer.
    2. BLUE: Swimmer can swim anywhere (passed badge test) but no high dive.
    3. YELLOW: Swimmer can swim anywhere (passed badge test) AND high dive.

Emergency Procedures

We never wish for an emergency to happen, all we can do is prepare ourselves in the case something does happen.  Below are a few scenarios to bring to your attention.

  • Active Shooter Emergency – We have contacted University Police and they have given us a strategic plan.  In the case of an active shooter on property, we will blow a whistle in 5 short blasts.  If you hear gunfire or the whistle blasts, you will take campers in small groups to the woods surrounding the property.  Every counselor will be responsible for gathering no more than ten campers within their close proximity, then leading their group to the nearest entrance to a wooded area along the outside perimeter of the main property.  The plan is to spread out as much as possible, not to clump together with other groups of campers.  You are to walk quickly at least 50 yards into the woods, get low to the ground and remain there until you hear 3 whistle blasts in succession.  You may hear multiple whistle blasts as we move around the property to ensure all groups can hear the blasts.  Be sure to keep your group of campers calm and quiet.
  • Severe Weather Emergency – Timing is of the upmost importance during an inclement weather threat.  The shelters are NOT a safe location during a thunderstorm.  When we alert your group of inclement weather, please have your campers move with haste (with bags depending on time of day) to the following locations.  Youth Camp will go to the loft of the clubhouse, Day Camp will go to the main room of the clubhouse and Little Farmer’s will go to the yoga room in the main building.  If your camp is at the pool during inclement weather, please go into the locker rooms and remain there until you have been instructed to leave.

Farm Camp Schedule and Routine

There is no such thing as a typical day at Farm Camp.  We have our routine schedule, but every day will have alterations from swim team, diving, tennis lessons, special events, weather advisories, and other various factors.

Seth’s Pet Peeves

My role as director is to make sure camp is running as smooth and as safe as possible.  I go from camp to camp throughout the day looking at camper/counselor interactions and ratios, confirming campers are where they are supposed to be, ensuring counselors are doing what they are supposed to do and acting appropriately, and doing my best to make sure campers are having a positive camp experience.  Throughout the day, I inevitably see things I wish I didn’t.  Below, are my top 10 items I would like to change.

  1. Engage with campers as they come in.  Not a great first impression to parents and campers seeing counselors standing around talking to each other at check in time.  Please spread out and invite campers over to play with you.
  2. Help your director.  The camp director is not the only voice in camp.  Don’t be afraid to lead activities and show leadership and initiative.  This also goes for cleaning up and quieting the group.
  3. Discussing appropriate topics in front of campers and encouraging appropriate discussions.  This is mainly an issue in Youth Camp.
  4. Having the right number of counselors with campers.  Often times, I will see one counselor taking campers to the bathrooms or campers on the field with no counselor in sight.
  5. Dressing appropriately.  This mainly means closed toed shoes and appropriate clothing for the day.  Please don’t wear jeans and a sweat shirt when it is supposed to be 90 degrees and humid.  This is also for pool dress code.  Only wear swim suits that would be appropriate in a family pool setting.
  6. Tennis Time.  Please make sure tennis time is organized and safe.  The tennis professional is there to instruct the activity, counselors are there to ensure campers are being safe and listening to instruction.  You are also not there to scrimmage each other, rather play with the campers.
  7. ‘Crafting’. This includes lanyard making, drawing and making bracelets.  You are always encouraged to do these activities WITH campers, just not by yourself.  This especially includes while walking to and from activities.  This time should be spent making sure your campers are safely getting around the property.
  8. Lounging around.  You are always welcome to rest and sit down when you need, but please do not take up residency on a lounge chair at the pool or under a tree while campers are playing on the field.  You are there to engage with the campers.
  9. The Counselor Table is not for congregating around.  The counselor table is a home base for the director and for holding your items.  Counselors and CIT’s should be spread out at all times.  I also encourage you to eat lunch with the campers.  We are here to engage with and entertain campers, first and foremost.
  10. Using your cell phones and smart watches.  It is difficult to watch the campers when you are on your phone.  I encourage you to put away your phone at the beginning of the day and don’t look at it until the last camper has left.

6 Performance Standards for Farm Camp Staff Members

  1. Be responsible for your time at work
    1. 8:00 on Mondays and 8:15 Tuesday-Friday
    2. Stay entire day. 4:15 pm on Monday and 3:30/5:30 rest of the week.
    3. Work full weeks, 5 days a week or 4 if working after care.
    4. If you cannot work a day or an entire week you were assigned, you must find a replacement. Counselor contact lists have been provided to you.
  2. Wear camp appropriate clothing while at work
    1. Staff shirts every Monday
    2. Closed-toed shoes, shorts, camp appropriate bathing suit.
  3. No technology at camp!
    1. Cell phones may not be used during camp hours except for emergencies
    2. No checking, posting or updates of social media status during camp hours
    3. No video or audio devices unless approved by Ben or Seth
  4. Think safety at all times.
    1. Think before you act and look for unsafe activity.
  5. Help each other out.
    1. Daily duties are individual but sometimes lending a hand can go a long way.
  6. Tell a parent something their child did at camp that day
    1. Choose a different camper to praise each day.

*Volunteer credit for high school in lieu of payment

Final Thoughts

  • Double check your schedules to make sure you are aware of weeks you were assigned.
  • If you need coverage for a day or two, please use your counselor contact list to find a replacement. Your days of work are your responsibility!
  • Please know, my door is always open. I welcome any suggestions, camp or personal concerns and feedback on my own performance.
  • I look forward to working with you all this summer!


All camp staff members are required to read through the information in the links provided below. 

FSRA Policy For The Protection Of Children, Youth; And Adults With Developmental Disabilities

FSRA Bullying Policy and Prevention

Social Networking Policy for Employees


Mandatory Farm Employee Quiz

Please read through the FSRA Policy For The Protection Of Children, Youth; And Adults With Developmental Disabilities, FSRA Bullying Policy and Prevention, and The Social Networking Policy for Employees. Once you have read through the 3 attachments, take the online quiz. You must get 80% of the questions correct or better to avoid an in-person orientation. All quizzes must be completed before your first day of employment.

Take the quiz HERE


Farm Camp Quiz

Please read through the summer camp orientation notes and answer the questions below. You must get 80% of the questions correct or better to avoid an in-person orientation. All quizzes must be completed by June 1st to be considered for in-person orientation exemption. This option is only available to returning Farm Camp counselor staff. You must have served a minimum of one year as a counselor, CIT employment does not count.

Farm Camp Quiz, click HERE