As parents, we strive to find positive role models for our children. These important people in our children’s lives reflect the values we share, the goals we have for our children and the fundamental philosophies of our families.
Above all else, parents, grandparents and extended family members play the most important circle of love, support and encouragement for our children. Gradually, as children grow the caring people in their lives extends to neighbors, nannies & babysitters, teachers, coaches and members of faith communities. Friends and colleagues share in the joy, challenges and day-to-day realities of raising children in the 21st century.
Alford Lake Camp counselors can, and do, act as powerful role models for campers. After months of carefully screening and interviewing candidates, we assemble an amazing staff of accomplished, energetic and fun young women and men to become leaders of camp activities and trips. Many counselors are returning to camp after spending summers at Alford Lake as campers themselves. These experienced counselors share a unique love of camp with the camp community. Some of our counselors are “new” to camp and bring fresh ideas and energy to ALC.
Our staff arrives at camp early to participate in a rigorous and detailed training program. Pre-camp involves sessions in child development, teaching strategies, program development instruction, as well as water safety, trip safety and first aid training. We spend this important time preparing a team of leaders to work together to create a safe, welcoming and fun camp community for our campers. This time is intensely serious as we discuss emergency plans, important camp policies and the awesome responsibility of caring for children in a dynamic environment. But pre-camp is also incredibly fun. We share our enthusiasm and love of camp in team building exercises and our anticipation of the important roles we all assume by becoming leaders at Alford Lake Camp. You should hear the laughter, singing and silliness that begins before the campers even arrive!
The end result of this careful selection and training is a staff of remarkable, talented, caring counselors who have dedicated themselves to being the best counselors they can be for their campers. All of our counselors are given excellent peer mentors who are available at any time to help and guide them through any questions. We, as directors, have an “open door policy” and are available to our counselors whenever they need help or guidance. We meet weekly with our counselors by departments, by age group and also as a whole group. These meetings allow us to constantly connect and address any questions that may arise. Communication is the key to supporting and reinforcing the role our counselors play in the success of camp. Respecting our counselors’ needs to “recharge their batteries” we provide rotating days off and a space separate from the camper group so they may relax. We delight in hearing that after a day off, counselors often say “I missed my campers”!
When we watch our talented, well-trained staff interact with our campers we see MAGIC. Meaningful instruction, respectful communication and shared fun create a bond of friendship between counselors and their campers. Counselors become role models for our campers as they see accomplished young adults living and working in our camp community. We observe laughter, smiles, quiet conversations and trusting relationships shared between counselors and campers.
Alford Lake Camp is a magical place, not because of our beautiful lake, gorgeous campus or sparkling white tents. The magic is in the people who share their summers together here. Our counselors are the most important part of this magic. We couldn’t be more proud of them and hope you will take a moment to consider how important this type of role model can be for the young person in your life!
We can’t wait for another magical summer!
Sue McMullan, Director
Betsy Brayley, Assistant Director