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The First Week

It is important to remember that most international counselors face a period of adjustment when they first come to camp. Some procedures taken for granted by American counselors, or explained cursorily in pre-camp orientation, may need to be explained more fully to international counselors. A valuable way of dealing with this period of adjustment is to appoint an American counselor, preferably one with some international experience, and one who has worked in the camp in previous years, to talk frequently with the international counselor during the early days, to answer questions and to interpret camp procedures.

Comments made by counselors in past evaluation conferences stress the importance of receiving, at the beginning of camp, clear explanations of the duties and responsibilities expected of a counselor, along with rules which may be assumed but not spelled out. It is well to keep in mind that children’s camps in many other countries are less formal, not so highly organized as in the United States. Special emphasis may be needed on the importance of the constant supervision of children required in American camps.

A problem not always fully understood by the camp or even by the international counselor, is the effect of strain and fatigue that come from speaking and listening all day in a language not ones’ own, and having to adjust to a new cultural environment. Special understanding and assistance during the early days are more than repaid by the creative interchange that can be stimulated in the life of the camp by one who comes from another culture.


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