Ladders to Leadership: What Camp Counselor Positions Do for Youth


  • Darcy Tessman University of Arizona, Cochise County
  • Stefanie L. Duda University of Florida, IFAS Extension, Leon County
  • Dale Pracht University of Florida, IFAS Extension



The 4-H youth development organization understands and has recognized residential camping as one of the major modes of program delivery. Primary benefactors of the residential camping program are those youth who serve as camp counselors. Not only are they recipients of the educational program, but also supervise and teach younger campers (Garst & Johnson, 2005; McNeely, 2004). As a result of their experience, camp counselors learn about and develop leadership and life skills (Thomas, 1996; Purcell, 1996). The residential camping experience allows youth to serve as volunteers through their role as camp counselors. In addition to the benefits earned from their volunteer role, residential camping provides youth camp counselors the opportunity to gain leadership skills (Arnold, 2003) as well as add to the camp structure, planning, and implementation (Hines & Riley, 2005).






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