We receive over 750 applications every year for only 25 staff positions. This means that we can cherry pick the most experienced applicants who will be great role models. Our staff all attend a group assessment and also do a one-to-one interview. During this, we focus on hiring applicants that are kind, caring and empathetic. You can be the best tennis player in the world but unless you are happy to put your arm around a homesick camper or able to keep being patient and funny after a tiring few days, you won't be in with a chance of being hired at Camp Cooper.
Before staff start working at Camp Cooper, they go through an intensive 6-day staff training programme. During this they go through some of the following staff training sessions:
- An introduction to Camp Cooper
- How to be a Superhero Counselor
- How to inspire creativity
- Learning campfire & dining hall songs
- The importance of praise / positive feedback
- How to deal with challenging behaviour
- How to deal with homesickness
- Elective activity planning
- Site tour
- Teambuilding / icebreaker games
- Managing risks and safety
- Cabin activity planning
- Daily schedule
Most importantly though, staff training is a time for staff to understand the values and ethos of working at Camp Cooper. We ensure staff are bonded together and are ready for the summer adventure that awaits them.
Looking After a Cabin Group
The most important aspect of a staff member's responsibility is that they look after the pastoral needs of 8-12 children. Each cabin group will have 1-2 counsellors look after them during their stay at Camp. These counsellors will be the ones to greet your camper when they get to the cabin and will get to know your camper on an individual basis. They will find out what they like, don't like, what their eating habits are like, if they sleep well in new settings, what activities they like to do, whether they make friends easily or can sometimes find it hard. The counsellor will speak to their campers multiple times during the day to see how they are doing and will notice if they are having a hard day or having an issue with something. The counsellor is the go to person for the camper and will always be on hand to help deal with a problem or simply be a sympathetic ear to listen to a problem.
The Counsellor will be the one to wake their cabin group up in the morning, sit with them during mealtimes, run a creative activity for them, be with them during the all-camp activity and ensure everyone is happy and well as they go to bed. In this role, a counsellor acts in different ways depending on the situation. At times, a counsellor can be the camper's best friend, they sometimes can act as a parent figure, they can be a mentor, sometimes they can be more like a teacher, at times they can be the camper's cheerleader and sometimes they can be more like a sibling. The Camper-Counsellor relationship is unique and requires the counsellor to be able to act differently based on what is happening. A counsellor needs to be able to be fun, creative and silly but at the same time, they are a positive role model who can deal with any problems and issues and will ensure your camper is safe - both emotionally and physically at all times.