How Cosby Impacts Lives: Transition from Camper to Staff
By: Rebekah St.Cyr
Camp Cosby is such a special place to everyone involved.
“Cosby feels like my second home,” Jack said. Jack was a Cosby camper for ten years and a staff member for one year; Jack says his favorite memory from camp was his first summer when he stayed for three weeks unexpectedly for mini bike specialty camp.
Camp Cosby is more than just a camp- it’s a family. Cosby campers and staff travel from all over the world to join the special family. What keeps the family spirit alive is campers continuing to come back year after year. Your time at Cosby does not have to end when your camping days are over- many campers use the tools they learned to become a part of Cosby staff.
Troy University senior, Elise was a camper for eleven years before transitioning into staff and this summer will be her sixth summer on staff. Elise said, “I have learned how to go from a follower of a crowd to a leader at Cosby.”
At Cosby the transition from camper to staff comes naturally. Campers learn how to become leaders from the very beginning. Campers are given responsibilities such as cabin chores and choosing their activities- these responsibilities allow them to grow as individuals and gain more self-confidence. Cosby staff sets great examples for campers on how leaders should act.
This summer Elise will be Cabin Life Director, which is her “dream job” at Cosby. Elise gives credit to her amazing counselors for being the reason she continues to return to Cosby summer after summer.
Maddy, a former Cosby camper of five years is about to start her second summer on staff. Maddy said, “my whole role as a staff member is – to pour into the lives of the kids that pass through those gates.”
Cosby campers are in an environment where they are encouraged to be themselves and put themselves Third in every situation. “I AM THIRD” is the motto at camp: God first, others second, ourselves third.
Maddy said the most important thing she learned from Cosby was the motto- Maddy said, “it taught me to fall in love with the Lord and his plans for me, but then to recognize that my earthly role is also to put others before myself.”
Cosby counselors are leaving Cosby better than they found it from constantly picking up bendos to leaving lifelong impressions on campers- these counselors are making a difference.
Maddy said, “I want people to remember to put others before themselves and remember that even if you have accomplished something great, don’t forget to lend a hand to the person behind you. And don’t stop smiling while you do it.”
Camp Cosby is an experience that is a gift to everyone involved. Cosby staff is doing work that matters. Cosby teaches campers and staff to always be Third and these campers who grew into leaders are doing exactly that.
Cosby holds a special place in every camper and staff’s heart. This special place gives Cosby campers and staff the courage to shine bright in any situation.
Camp Cosby's progressive program fosters each camper's development from rising first grade through high school graduate. The later years of camp are focused on relationship building, being role models and leadership development. Keep reading to learn how our Adventure Village (ADV), Leader in Training (LIT) and Counselor in Training (CIT) Programs have positively impacted the following individuals.
Sam S., (2017) C.I.T. said the teen programs at Camp Cosby have given him lifelong friends, better leadership qualities, and confidence to work with children.
“I got to learn how to become a positive role model to campers,” Sam said. "I learned how to relate to children.”
Teens hoping to be in the LIT or CIT program must apply, interview and have references. Click here to learn more about these programs that develop leadership, communication and teamwork skills.
Camper’s in rising grades 8th – 10th are in ADV. When a camper is in ADV they are given more responsibility than the rest of camp. They learn their responsibility to themselves, others and camp. ADV campers go through leadership courses, act as role models for the rest of camp and assist with daily tasks in ADV. Teens in ADV affectionately call it their part of camp "The Point."
“The Point” allows campers to have a camp community of their own and which builds a camp culture fit for teens.
When a camper is a rising 10th grader, they are given the option to either join ADV or apply for the L.I.T. Program. To qualify for the L.I.T. program, the camper must be 15 by May 20 of the current season, submit an application, 1 letter or recommendation, be able to communicate their leadership skills and experience and interview. Within a week of their interview, the LIT will learn if they have been accepted into the program. This year's program is from July 1st thru July 21st.
L.I.T. space is limited.
Through applying for the L.I.T. program, campers begin to learn the application and interviewing process. This benefits them in the years ahead as they apply for camp and other jobs.
To learn more about the L.I.T. program, click here.
Alyssa Wright,2016 L.I.T. said the program taught her how to be more independent and confident in herself.
“Camp has not only taught me leadership skills but also to set goals outside of camp, which have both benefited me spiritually and socially,” Wright said.
Once the camper is accepted into the program, a parent/guardian must register them for camp to reserve their position.
In the L.I.T. program, campers begin to learn how to care for themselves while leading others. They do this through leadership lessons led by the Teen Directors, hands-on experience, debriefing, running camp store, assisting with activities and through assisting with activity sign-ups. Every C.I.T. and L.I.T. activity is intentionally planned to develop leaders. When assisting with activity sign-ups the CITs and LITs learn to follow instructions, improve their listening skills, work on written communication and learn how each role at camp directly affects everyone.
The Counselor in Training aka C.I.T. program is similar to the L.I.T. program but it is for four weeks instead of three and the C.I.T.’s are allowed more leadership and responsibilities than the L.I.T.’s.
Elise Robinson, long time Cosby camper, and 2018 Cabin Life Director said the CIT Program was by far the best month of her life.
“I found my absolute best friend and future bridesmaid from that summer — I formed connections with people I can’t imagine my life without now,” Robinson said, “by the end of week one we were all laughing together, crying together, and supporting each other.”
Elise said she learned a lot about herself that summer. “Cosby has become who I am as a person and I would not have it any other way,” she said. “Being a CIT, you see first hand how much of an impact the staff has on the campers and how hard they work to make camp the best.”
“Being able to work in the cabins with the kids (When I was a CIT), be a leader at activity sign-ups, and help run the daily activities, I learned skills that I can use as my current position as Cabin Life Director. Getting to learn about bully sighting/prevention and homesickness made me feel like I was achieving my dream of knowing what it was like to have leadership at camp.”
Cabe Sulhoff, also longtime Cosby camper and 2018 Activity Staff Director said the summer he was a CIT camper was one of the most valuable experiences of his life.
“The relationships I built, the responsibilities I was given, and the memories I created (that summer), make up a great deal of what I am today,” he said.
The programs introduce campers into bettering themselves by helping others, Alyssa Wright said.
“It teaches the campers lifelong qualities such as hard work ethic, patience, dedication, and most importantly how to be a leader and when to be a listener,” Wright said. “In both programs, campers learn how to come together with people from different backgrounds to set a positive example for today’s youth.”
For more information on villages, age groups, etc. you can visit Camp Cosby’s website.
Hey Cosby Family,
During this time of year we are out and about quite a bit talking with families about the benefits of sleepaway camp. We invite you to bring your friends to see us at camp fairs and other events in town. Check out the Cosby calendar to see when we will be in your neighborhood. Come out to see us at these events and get a Cosby prize! We look forward to seeing you real soon!
The Cosby Team
What a great Winter Camp we had this December. Happy campers and staff enjoying the holiday season!!
Kids climbed the Alpine Tower and made candles!
YMCA Camp Cosby is a part of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham. To find a Y near you click here.
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