Hello! My name is Melissa Ruhlman, and this past summer I was the counselor of Cabin 7, (affectionately known as Castle 7 – home of the princess warriors)! I had one of the best summers of my entire life, and decided I might as well have another spectacular summer by coming back and being a counselor again this year! I’m more pumped than a bike tire.

The words that were said to me during each camp day last summer made a huge impact on my attitude, focus, and outlook on my role as a counselor. I could be highly encouraged or discouraged depending on the nature of what was said to me by campers or staff. In light of this, here are the top 14 things a counselor can hear at camp! Put these into practice and you will be a wondrous angel to so many exhausted counselors.

The top 7 things a counselor wants to hear from a fellow staff member: 

1.  I’m praying for you.   This was one of the most uplifting and helpful sentences that could be heard during a rough week of camp. I knew that the Lord was going to help me get through each day.

2.  You’re doing really well with your campers.   This made you feel so valuable; that God was using you to make a difference in some way in a camper’s life and someone actually took the time to notice.

IMG_48573.  Surprise! I got you a drink from Starbucks!   Usually this came at the exact time you needed some extra pick-me-up…..the middle of a scorching August afternoon at slingshots when all of your campers pleaded an arm and a leg to be able to go swimming with the other cabins.

4.  You look so awake!  This was so refreshing and surprising to hear, as long as it wasn’t just a sarcastic jab. It’s nice to know that even after a restless night, being a mom to 13 girls 24 hours a day, and having to act enthusiastic at all times, you still look great and happy to be doing it.

5.  You have mail in your box!  It is nice to be remembered, loved, and appreciated by your friends, family, and prayer partners! The letter or surprise in your box usually came at the exactly right time you needed some extra encouragement.

6.  Your team won!   FINALLY! You got an untradeable winner’s button, a pennant, and some pretty pumped up campers to send on their way home. All the completed verse cards, clean cabin awards, and tug of war victories were even more worth it now!

7.  Lights out is at 9:30 tonight.  Granted, this only happens during jr. camp weeks, but it was eagerly welcomed by us weary staff! Hello bed – I have missed you most of this summer!

The top 7 things a counselor wants to hear from a camper:

1.  Can I have your advice on something?  This is what I am there for. To gain their trust enough for them to open up to me about issues, questions, and problems in their life that they may not feel comfortable talking to others about. I loved being able to open the Word of God to show them truth and answers, as well as use my past experience and mistakes to relate to the situations they’re going through.

DSC_20352.  Can I say a verse to you?  This was music to my ears! Of COURSE you can say a verse! Hide God’s word in your heart any time that you want to! I was pumped to see their desire to learn the truth of the Bible, as well as gain some extra points for our team at the same time.

3.  I love you! This was usually a statement that junior campers said a lot. It was nice to know that they cared about you and let you be their stand-in mom for the week.

4.  You’re really cool.  If you want to gain some confidence, become a camp counselor. Your campers will make you feel like a million bucks…they don’t judge your craziness; they actually praise and imitate it!

5.  I want to have a relationship with Jesus. How can I do that?  This was the statement that began the most memorable conversations I had with campers last summer. To help them meet the Creator of the Universe who loves them so much was such a surreal and life-changing experience.

6.  I want to come back to camp again!  It was nice to know that they had fun, learned about the Lord, and liked it all enough to want to do it all over again!

7.  I want to start reading my Bible and going to church when I get home from camp.  This was encouraging since it was proof that they listened to the chapel speakers, paid attention during cabin devotions, and had a desire to strengthen their relationship with God after the spiritually charged week of camp!

Melissa Ruhlman
Camp Counselor 2013 & coming back as a counselor in 2014!