International Counselors Contribute to the Camp CommunityPosted by Beigette Gill on July 23, 2017
Fernwood Cove is a special place with amazing counselors. Each counselor has their own beautiful background and story. Most American counselors are from outside of Maine. They travel from around the country to work at Fernwood Cove in a car, they obviously packed the car with the necessary tools like a 60 Gallon air compressor just in case they would need it. Others live close by and visit their friends and family on their days off. And then there are the people who traveled more than a thousand miles to America. All to work at Fernwood Cove. These counselors are from all over the world. Countries like Australia, England, Ireland, Columbia, The Netherlands, Croatia, Spain and Mexico are all represented at Fernwood Cove.
International Counselors Contribute New Perspectives
International counselors are so important to the community. With their unique differences these counselors teach the campers so much. And they contribute new perspectives while helping to build the inclusive community at Fernwood Cove. Often they teach campers about their home culture and native language. It isn’t uncommon for campers to ask international counselors what words mean or about the differences in their home cultures.
Mini Courses are full of international options that range from food, to sport, to dance and music. Bunks are decorated with flags from various countries. And weekly campfire often includes songs and stories that counselors learned when they were children. “Jelly on a Plate” vs. “Porridge in a Pot” came from an international counselor over ten years ago and remains a tradition of weekly Campfire!
Increased Global Awareness
One of the greatest contributions that international counselors give to Fernwood Cove isn’t material. Likewise it isn’t an activity. It is the internal personal growth that each person experiences by being a part of the diverse community at camp. Stereotypical labels related to religion, origin, race, and language quickly melt away. In place of these labels each person becomes a member of the Fernwood Cove community. We spend three and a half weeks developing relationships within bunk families and throughout activities.
Without the constraints and labels of the outside world relationships develop and strengthen with incredible speed. These strong relationships allow us to get to know individuals for who they truly are. Thus we are able to open our eyes and minds to greater acceptance. Greater inclusion. And greater understanding of the Fernwood Cove community as well as the outside global community. The global community of Fernwood Cove also ignites a desire to learn and grow. As a result campers and CITs often seek opportunities to give back to the global community. Everyone works to make their hometowns a bit more extraordinary each day. And international counselors often look to return to camp. Or they seek other international work and travel opportunities that allow them to share what they have learned at camp with the world.
Changed For the Better
Many international counselors come to camp for very personal reasons. At first they enter the summer with their goals of experiencing American culture and seeing a new part of the world. They quickly realize that their summer camp experience is about so much more. And quickly they begin to see the enormous impact their time at camp has not only on themselves, but on others. As the summer continues this impact grows so that each individual is positively effected. Many aspects of camp we can create by utilizing resources close to home. However we will never be able to recreate the contributions that international counselors bring from afar. In the words from Wicked, we have all “been changed for the better” through the magic they help create. And for this, we will be forever grateful.