July 21, 2023 Category: Our Programs

Camp Counselors: Mentors, Role Models and Leaders

Fresh Air summer 2023 would not be possible without all the members of our Camping Team. From counselors to program directors to lifeguards and nurses – the dedicated camping team ensures campers have a fun and safe summer.

The camping team all participate in a week-long orientation that focuses on safety, leadership development, social emotional learning, how to support home sickness, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, and more.

Watch our video and learn what our campers have to say about Fresh Air counselors!

Counselors are from all over the country and world including Mexico, the UK, Hungary and Turkey – to name just a few of the countries our counselors are from! This summer over 50 counselors are proud alumni of Fresh Air programs and many have participated in our CIT leadership and staff development program.

Recognizing Leadership

Two remarkable camp staff, Carla Brown, Camp ABC Program Director, and Amani Davidson, Camp ABC Assistant Director, recently received the Pfiefer Award in recognition of demonstrating outstanding dedication and vision in service to the young people of New York City.

Carla and Amani receiving The Fund’s Pfeifer award in recognition of their outstanding leadership.

Carla and Amani started their Fresh Air journey many years ago as campers, CITS, Junior Counselors, and have moved into various administrative roles. They have also worked for or participated in all our year-round programs. Kristin Short, Director of Program Operations, shared “They both have a passion for The Fresh Air Fund and camping that is tangible and electric. They instill this passion and excitement in all those around them.”

Kristin had the honor of presenting the award at a recent all-staff event. “Our programs have evolved based on their insights, suggestions and experiences working with our youth. They have been integral in shaping the Young Women’s Giving circle, and curriculum in summer Teen and CIT programs to make sure they meet the current needs of our youth. It has been my honor to watch them grow into the leaders they are today and to learn from them along the way” said Kristin.

A Network of Support

Many children are away from home for the first time and may need some extra reassurance and support. Other campers may need encouragement as they try a new activity like swimming in a lake for the first time or going on a nature hike. And some of the most impactful and special mentoring moments take place in between activities – during rest hour or walking to the next activity.

Counselors act as role models and mentors for our campers. Effie, a Fresh Air alum, was a counselor for the first-time last summer. As an alum, she can relate to her campers and help them if they need extra support. “It’s important just that they are heard and know we are there for them.” She shared “The best feeling was putting a smile on my campers faces, which made everything worth it.”

Learn more about working at camp and check back to meet more of our 2023 camp counselors later in the summer!