BSM students work as camp counselors over the summer


Photo Courtesy of Christian Sanderson

Christian Sanderson worked as a counselor at Camp Warren this past summer.

Summer is a time for students to relax and take a break from the stress of school. While some fill their free time with sports or activities, others choose to go to camp. Camp counselors play a crucial role in organizing camp: leading activities, helping out campers, and making sure things run smoothly. This summer, seniors Henry Bransford, Olivia Hetletvedt, and Christian Sanderson have all taken on the leadership role of camp counselor.

This has been the third year that Henry Bransford has been a camp counselor at Camp Dudley in upstate New York on Lake Champlain. This camp is 139 years old, making it the oldest boys camp in North America. Bransford started out at the camp at the age of eleven and has been attending ever since. This past summer, he was a assistant leader and stayed in a cabin with eight boys. As a counselor, Bransford was in charge of day-to-day activities with the kids. He was a coach for a team of 15 campers, leading the boys in lacrosse, football, soccer, and others. “Some of the kids would help me coach when I didn’t know what to do,” Bransford said.

For anyone wanting to be a camp counselor, Bransford says the key is to have patience and to be able to have a balance of fun and responsibility. “If Jimmy falls off a cliff, that’s kind of my fault, so you kind of have to have fun and also make sure everyone is being safe… They are only going to be kids once, so they might as well have a lot of fun… enable it,” Bransford said.

Along with Bransford, senior Olivia Hetletvedt was a camp counselor at Lifetime Fitness at their summer camp program. Her job was to swim everyday with the kids and play with them. “I had to play with the kids all the time and you have to be pretty interactive with them,” Hetletvedt said. 

Hetletvedt’s favorite part about being a counselor was getting to play games every morning with the kids. This was her first year as a counselor and she had a lot of fun, even though it can be very tiring. “They have a ton of energy,” Hetletvedt said.

Senior Christian Sanderson is a camp counselor at YMCA Camp Warren. This was his second year as a fully qualified counselor, but the summer going into sophomore year he participated in their “Counselor-in-training” program. His top role at the camp is to make sure it is the best experience possible for the campers. “Everything else comes second,” Sanderson said.

At Camp Warren, the emphasis is both ensuring that the camper is having fun, as well as being a member of the community. “Within the world of camp counselor we ‘campify’ everything. For example, taking out the recycling is a service activity some cabins do at my camp and we call it robot activity and the kids all wear cardboard and pretend to be robots,” Sanderson said.

Sanderson is already planning on returning to work there next summer. “I can be who I really want to be and not worry about trying to do what is considered to fit in the status quo… I love being able to be myself and through doing that encourage all of the campers to do the same so they too can have the wonderful experience I had as a camper,” Sanderson said.