Where do I start? Camp Buckskin has been in my life for the last two summers where I have worked as a counselor. Those two summers have simply been the BEST two summers of my life. You definitely learn how to laugh!!
I must be honest, I was very nervous and anxious once I decided to head over to camp from England. The nerves soon stopped and the fun began, pretty much instantly. It is very rewarding when working with the kids, watching them work through problems and develop as a person – learning all the time. The children can be challenging, but they just need some guidance in most cases and to provide that is a brilliant opportunity whilst having the most amount of fun. There will be some ridiculous stories that you will have from camp!
I have learnt how to deal with very difficult situations and the behavior management techniques not only apply in the small world that is Camp Buckskin, but out in the real world too. I have been able to use the tools and resources gained from the pre-camp training and transfer them into my profession.
In my role as Head of Nature Studies in the second year, it allowed me to work on my management and leadership skills, so it provided a huge learning experience. If I am going to be part of a small department in Physical Education, I need to make quick decisions, adapt and change, work as a team and able to cope with a wide variety of personalities and Camp Buckskin has given me a big confidence boost.
Through camp I have made some life-long friends and you meet so many new people that are absolutely fantastic to be around. I could happily talk to these people 24/7! Camp Buckskin also confirmed my decision on my career choice. I definitely want to work with kids and am looking to become a teacher.
When I decided to work at Camp Buckskin for the summer, I was excited but I really had no idea what to expect. As it turned out, I learned more this past summer, compared to any other job or class I have had. The staff training made sure that every staff member was prepared professionally, mentally, and allowed the staff to grow together before the children arrived. As a cabin counselor and canoeing instructor, it was fun to learn about the children and help each child work towards their goals in a variety of environments. While at times the work could get pretty stressful, the constant support from supervisors and other staff members made for each tough experience to be something to learn from, for the camper and staff member. I left Camp Buckskin with a variety of new skills and I am eager to apply them to my future career in adolescent psychology.
I have found that I can’t stop talking about my time at Camp Buckskin. My friends may be sick of hearing all the stories I have to tell, but the truth is I want everyone to understand what an enormous impact this summer had on me. Working at camp was the most challenging thing I have ever done. There were times I wanted to cry, but there were so many more times that I laughed. The staff were some of the most amazing people I’ve met, and the kids always managed to surprise me in so many ways. I know I won’t forget a single one of the girls in my cabin. It was incredible to watch them grow and make so much progress. One of the girls who originally did not want to be at camp told me she couldn’t wait to come back next summer. I told her I felt the same exact way.
My summer at Camp Buckskin was the experience of a lifetime! While working at camp, I was challenged and supported everyday. Even on my most trying days, I still had a great time. Working with kids with learning disabilities was incredibly rewarding, but the relationships built between staff are amazing. Some of my best friends now are people I met at camp. I can’t wait to come back and experience camp for another summer.
I first came to Camp Buckskin in 2000 as a counselor. It was the summer between my first and second years of graduate school. I was planning to be a social worker in the child welfare field and thought that a special needs camp would be a good place to pick up some hands on experience while having some fun. At the time, I had no idea how much experience I would obtain and how “hands on” it would be! My experience as a counselor in 2000 and 2001 has proven to be invaluable in my current job as a county child protection social worker.
The pre-camp training taught me about clear and natural consequences, limit setting, timeouts, conflict resolution, team building and the importance of follow through, among other things. The children’s arrival gave me an opportunity to put these concepts into practice and develop my skills in these areas, as well as an understanding of what it is like to live with 10 special needs children 24/7. These weren’t things they taught in social work school, but have proven to be instrumental to my job. As a social worker without my own children, sometimes people are skeptical about my knowledge about children — how can I know what they need or are going through? I frequently draw on my experience at Camp Buckskin when I talk to biological, foster, or adoptive parents. I can understand the challenges that they are experiencing, and I can offer practical suggestions, sympathy and support because I have been right there in the trenches too.
Camp Buckskin also helped me develop other professional skills. I sharpened my ability to make decisions quickly and learned how to truly be part of a team. I learned how to plan lessons that would engage children as well as teach them effectively as a nature studies activity head. I learned that humor can be the most effective tool for dealing with a difficult situation. Most of all, I developed confidence that I could survive and thrive in a challenging, but rewarding environment — which is what I now need to do every day to be successful in my career.
I have worked at Camp Buckskin for two summers now, and they have been the two most amazing summers of my life! Working with the kids is really rewarding. Before coming to camp I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do career wise, now I am going back to school to become a teacher. Also I made some really good friends, most of which I keep in regular contact with and even visit. They are friends I know I will have forever as we have shared the joy that is Camp Buckskin together.
My reason for first heading to camp was because I suggested it to my 19 year old niece and thought I should take my own advice. I love working with kids and like to think I have a positive impact when I do but was really unsure of what to expect heading to Camp Buckskin. The great thing about the whole camp deal is how quickly everybody bonds together. After a few days into our precamp training people from all over the U.S and the world, most not ever meeting each other before, came together to form a tight nit team. The need for this closeness would become known to us all over the next few months. Relying on each other for support, guidance, and just someone to talk to was an amazing part of the experience. When heading to camp I was told,” expect to work harder than ever before, get less sleep than you should, and make some of the best friends you will ever have. Well, I can tell you now with experience that was all true, especially about the friends. 2004 was my second year at Camp Buckskin and it’s a long way to go for a New Zealander just to work at a camp. So it goes to show that Camp Buckskin is so much more than that when along with myself, nearly half the international and U.S staff from 2003 returned to camp excited to catch up with each other, work with some great kids, and learn more about ourselves, what we can endure, what we can teach to others, and what we can learn from others. Working at Buckskin has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, I love it.