The training program currently offered consists of three phases, To enter the first phase, Leadership Trainees (LT) must be at least 15 years old by the end of that camp season, or must have spent the previous summer as an AJ2 camper. They are part of the AJ2 group, live with other AJ2s, are responsible to the AJ2 group counselors and also have all the benefits, activities, and trips offered to the AJ2 group. Involvement in the LT program is voluntary and enrollment is available to all eligible campers with the decision to participate being made individually within the first few days of each session. LTs choose to devote a portion of their time at camp to assist within a cabin group of younger campers or within a specialty area where they have some knowledge and ability. In doing so, they being to become aware of and participate in the teaching techniques and group dynamics that are at work in the areas where they are assigned to assist.
The second phase of our training program is for our Apprentice Counselors (ACs). This is a group of campers who must be at least 16 years old by the end of that camp session or must have completed the LT program the previous summer. They are no longer part of the AJ2 group and are housed in their own, cabin, together with other ACs, Timbercrest Lodge, complete with a living room for socialization and recreation as well as training sessions and discussion groups. The ACs are responsible to the CILT director, not the AJ2 counselors, but do have the option and benefits of joining the AJ2 group for special events, trips, and out-of-camp activities. To be a part of the AC program, a camper must be invited by the camp administration prior to the start of the season and must make a full-season commitment to this program. They are offered a reduced tuition which not only enrolls them in a supervised training experience, but also compensates them for their assistance to the camp community. These trainees have a daily schedule of “work” with camper groups, specialty areas or in other aspects of the camp’s operation. Some periods each day and many evenings are free for them to join camp programs as regular participants or to relax, socialize, and, within certain guidelines, do as they please. ACs work closely with the counselors to develop and test their own teaching techniques within the activity areas. They also make many contributions to individual campers as well as to the cabin groups when working within the group setting.
The final phase of our CILT program is our Junior Counselor (JC) program. JCs are no longer campers; they are staff employed by the camp. They must be 17 years of age, and since they are under the legal age of 18, they are still considered to be under the care of the camp. These participants are chosen by the camp’s administration for employment and involvement in the JC program, and they have a normal counselor schedule to follow. There is a period “off” each day as well as many free evenings and one free day each week. They do not have any full nights/days to leave camp without supervision like Senior Counselors, but they are invited to join the AJ group and the ACs for many special out-of-camp activities and trips. Our JCs function as counselors, and have the benefits of special supervisory assistance and on-going training by our CILT director. They are given extra support – never left “on their own” to handle a cabin group or a specialty activity.
The C.ILT offering is organized as a stepping stone program with each level having increased involvement and responsibility. Through each phase runs the common thread of a supervised, hands-on learning experience which is coupled with counseling observations, group discussions, learning seminars and meaningful evaluations. While it is true that one goal of the program is to train young people to become more effective counselors, these trainees also learn skills, gain confidence and a self-awareness that can be put to use in any phase of their later lives. When camp is in full session, approximately 20 LTs, 12 ACs and 6 JCs bring their own unique contributions to a dynamic and ever-evolving program that is a very central part of Camp Regis and Applejack Teen Camp. By joining us as a CILTs, they are helping to carry on a valued tradition whose roots extend back over 70 years.