License to Lead; The CIT journey from camper to counselor

Queridos Madres y Padres,

Noa Ollestad is a counselor in training this year at Sephardic Adventure Camp. She is 14 years old, going into her 10th grade year at Northwest Yeshiva High School in Mercer Island, Washington. Being a counselor in training is a unique experience where she is able to experience the activities and programs like a camper while also being given the responsibilities and freedoms of a leader in order to help her grow as an individual, a leader, and hopefully someday as a staff member here at Sephardic Adventure Camp!

“This is my third year at Sephardic Adventure Camp but my first year so far as a CIT. I’ve babysat before but this is my first time being in charge of such a large group of kids. In the beginning of camp, my directors, Illana Greenberg and David Kintzer, taught my fellow C.I.T.’s and me what would be expected of us and how to prepare for the responsibilities we’d be given. They led the way for the first couple of days and let us shadow them. As days went by I found myself learning and following along naturally. One of my jobs is helping the counselors. Some nights the C.I.T.’s are in charge of putting the kids to bed or we’re put on C.O.D. (Counselor on Duty). I learned a lot about leadership during Color War because I was made co-leader of the Blue Team along with Akiva Greenberg. I got to see what it was like to be a counselor, I’m not going to lie it was definitely stressful, but I was always able to power through any obstacles that came my way.

Every few days we have talks with our directors or Quinn where we discuss how we can do our job better, become better C.I.T.’s and leaders, help ourselves, and help the campers. I have personally gained something from every talk. One thing that is super important in any group scenario, particularly one in which you have a leadership position, is communication. We have been learning about how to interact with many different types of people and efficiently get the job done. Another skill that is important in leadership and life is self-reflection and growth. Our directors have us write about our experiences in journals. This gives us the ability to identify our strong suits and areas that we need to grow in. We can figure out what helps us do our job best and when we need to ask for help from others.

One day during Menucha (rest time), Vida Behar, another C.I.T., and I were watching over the G2 cabin. They were being pretty rowdy that particular day but the two of us worked together as a team and were able to get those eight 9 year old girls to calm down, sleep, write letters, etc. I felt proud of myself. The girls outnumbered us but we were still able to do our jobs and help out the counselors. Being a C.I.T. is a very unique experience because I’m given the experience to really connect and become friends with so many different people- I’m leading the campers, bonding with my fellow C.I.T.’s, and really learning a lot from the counselors and staff members. I’ve never been in a position before where I made so many positive and different relationships. The C.I.T.’s went on an overnight a couple of days ago and it was an experience that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. The first day we hiked a lot and it was hard but we persevered and when we were finished we were able to see the beautiful view of the path that we had just crossed. Everyone stood together and we were really able to take in what we had just accomplished. I already knew the other C.I.T.’s before coming to SAC, but going on the overnight made us all feel like  one big family. I couldn’t have done everything I did that trip and throughout Sephardic Adventure Camp without the support of my fellow C.I.T.’s.

I am very thankful for this experience and for this camp. I have made life-long friends and support systems, I have learned about myself and the people around me, and I have surprised myself with how much I am capable of. Sephardic Adventure Camp is a family that I hope to stick with for many years to come.”

Al Vuermos,

Rachel Benezra Devine (Media/Technology Director) & Noa Ollestad (C.I.T.)

July 4, 2014 · by  · in SAC Blog · Tags:

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