My Experience as a City of Manassas Park Summer Athletic Camp Counselor – by Joshua “Josh” Gibson


Is August here already? What happened to all the time? I mean, I know time flies when you have fun, but I didn’t think I had THAT much fun that summer camp is OVER?! Well, I do have to say it was fun and the kids were absolutely adorable, but I want to tell you all about my experience and what it was like to work here as a summer camp counselor through a pandemic. The ins and outs, the ups and downs, the fun times and weird times, the funky fresh times and the “I can’t with these kids today” times.

As it was my first year working as a camp counselor and working at the Community Center, I had no idea what to expect, I was just going from what my mind told me to do. Since I had only been on the camper side of summer camps, I had to do a lot of thinking on how to make sure the kids were safe, having fun, and that the atmosphere was light-hearted and joyful. I was nervous when the kids first got there because I had no idea what to do with them, so I was quiet for a while because I was still learning how to be a camp counselor. After I found my voice and began to be a part of things I felt that a lot of it came so natural to me! Helping kids and being with them for hours was such an amazing thing. They tired me out, but it was nice to be with those bright faces daily. The saddest part of it all is because of the pandemic, we had to restrict being in close contact with the kids, which was definitely a letdown for me. I just wanted to squeeze those lovable, troublemaking, crazy kids until they popped, out of love and only love of course. 

There was one thing I was looking forward to about doing this, creating the memories and the bonds that will last forever. You’d think “You can’t do that it’s only six weeks,” but let me tell you otherwise. I can’t stress enough that when you’re put in a room with strangers, you will get to know them no matter what and that’s exactly what I did. I was put in a room with kids and other counselors and we all learned so much about each other, seeing each other five days a week, we’d HAVE to get along at that point! Of course, we all have different personalities, so we did butt heads at points in time but to me, I felt like those times only made those bonds stronger, and that’s why I really did not want those kids to leave. Not even just the kids, but my coworkers as well. Connecting with them, being inspired by them, learning from them, and laughing with them is what made it all worthwhile. I’m going to stop before I start crying. Anyway, this summer had to be my most eventful one yet, and I hope it continues to be this way. Next time summer camp rolls around, go sign up your child or yourself, go apply to be a counsellor, and just enjoy it!

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