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Adirondack U

When camp counselors start pouring into camp at the beginning of the summer, it’s exciting! Our staff comes together from all over the world, one hundred strong, for the incredibly important job of creating the summer of a lifetime for our campers. We start by hiring the best people possible, and then channel that wonderful energy with a dynamic orientation.

Summer camp counselors in staff t-shirts

Our goal at Adirondack U is to bring new and returning staff and camp counselors into a cohesive unit, with a common understanding and commitment to our traditions. Adirondack’s Leadership Staff and Senior Mentors lead the way, guaranteeing that activity standards and leadership principles are firmly anchored. The traditions and lore of Adirondack are at the heart of our training for summer camp counselor positions, and at the end of every summer, camp counselors tell us that they too have had the summer of their lives.



  1. Trip Staff Training: hands on practice leading hikes and practicing emergency procedures.
  2. American Red Cross Waterfront Certification: 38 hours of intensive, in-the-water training.
  3. Recertification of Camp’s 47 Lifeguards in CPR for the Professional Rescuer.

Module I: Philosophy and Orientation

  1. History of Camp & Lake George Area.
  2. Camp’s Philosophy and values we wish to impart to our Campers.
  3. The Adirondack Spirit–weaving the 10 Commitments and Brave’s Code of Honor throughout daily life at Camp.
  4. Camp’s facility and equipment, organizational structure & daily schedule.

Module II: Creating a Safe Place

  1. All aspects of Water, Land, and Facility Safety, Emergency Action Plans, and Camp community policies.
  2. Preventive/early response measures including first aid procedures and Health Care Protocols, led by Anne Lapeikis, Health Director and Dr. Alison Tothy, consulting Camp Physician.
  3. Fostering a sharp, conscientious, and thoughtful perspective in regards to all campers including their general health, common maladies, bug-bites, scrapes and scratches and what to do when they occur.
  4. Guiding charges to eat right, not feel lonely or lost and not miss home too much.
  5. Creating a safe Camp environment where campers feel supported emotionally, physically, and psychologically with specific emphasis on Camp’s 10 Commitments of: leadership, creativity, cooperation, growing, independence, effort, courage, spirit, sharing, and responsibility.
  6. Acceptable standards of camp counselor behavior both on and off our premises.

Module III: Setting The Example

  1. Everything that needs to be known to be an outstanding Adirondack Camp counselor.
  2. Learning how to balance an individual camper’s needs with those of the Adirondack camp community.
  3. Fostering good sportsmanship through team activities and working with others.
  4. Setting positive role model characteristics and behavior for others to follow when participating in Camp activities.

Module IV: Cabin Life

  1. How to promote and nurture a group of friends so close, they feel like family.
  2. Troubleshooting and how to deal with opportunities or issues that may arise including missing home, making new friends, bed wetting, and responsibility for one’s bed, trunk, and personal well-being.
  3. Learning the special qualities of each and every camper through the use of Parent Confidential Questionnaires.
  4. Managing camper expectations, goal setting, buddy building, challenges and achievements in an environment where children are free to be themselves.
  5. Knowing and communicating with campers’ parents and laying the foundations for camper extensions and annual return.
  6. Quiet times: Bedtimes, Rest Hours, In-between Activities, Before Breakfast, and the Health Center.
  7. Learning to recognize any and all aspects of your camper’s needs, goals, interests, and personal values.

Module V: Activity Life

  1. Getting organized for the season including setting-up, lesson planning, “special days,” and rainy day options.
  2. Tricks-of-the-trade to make lesson plans successful including: role-playing, peer teaching, and peer-assessment prior to camper arrivals.
  3. Teaching your activity effectively to accommodate multiple skill levels of beginners through advanced, diverse age groups, and varying attendance commitments in a coed activity environment.
  4. Strategically planning your camper’s experience in your activity to begin at one level and advance to another, finishing every week at a higher level.
  5. Incorporating the 10 Commitments into activities.
  6. Enhancing lesson plans through the incorporation of other activities including trips outside of camp and Blue/White traditions.
  7. Importance of daily, weekly and seasonal camper recognition including: awards, coups, emblems, Braves, and Eagles.
  8. Stretching as camp counselors to examine areas for self-improvement and personal growth.

Total Hours: 80 (over 10 days)

Questions New Counselors Ask

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