Signal boosting this great idea.
I think the answer to this depends heavily on context and experience. Some things to consider:
- Do some digging into your staff and organization’s opinions. Are there people on staff with you who already know you’re gay? Will it jeopardize your job? Are you prepared to handle that possibility? Ultimately, some camps have rules about relationships of all natures and that they are ALL supposed to be hidden from campers. If this is the case, it might not be that difficult for you because the topic isn’t discussed*.
- What kind of camp you work at/for- some religious camps would not be ok with an out counselor, others might be fine with that honesty. If you work in an area of the country that is a little more open, you might be ok. If you work at a camp that has a history of gay staff you’re probably ok. Even the program can be a factor because some parents could get upset about sharing a cabin/tent/living space with their child.
- How you tell people: It might not be the best to just blurt it out at drop off day right off the bat. On the other hand, if you are naturally very open about your sexuality or exhibit personality traits** that might raise questions, honesty might be comforting. If you decide to tell your campers, I would do so in a careful manner and be sure to consider their age.
- Answer camper questions honestly to the best of your ability, in a manner that best fits the situation. I think this is always something to strive for as a counselor on ANY topic, not just sexuality. Some of my best conversations have occurred because a staff member or a camper was genuinely interested in my experience. If a camper asks about your sexuality or significant other, think and then speak.
I hope that this helps and I hope that there might be some other people with experience who might provide specifics.
*We all know that things that are considered “off limits” or inappropriate still get discussed and that when they do, it can be very meaningful. I think openness and a focus on what the camper is truly asking is the best method for these conversations.
**I do not condone judgements based on assumptions however, other people make them. Currently there is a lot of turmoil and people feel very strongly about issues of sexuality and as always, stereotypes might play against you.
This is something I’ve been thinking about over the last month or so, how can Camp Confessions be the very best resource possible? I’m honored that so many people have been asking questions lately. Truthfully, the majority have been answered by followers, not myself. I’ve simply been collecting submitted answers and publishing the information. It occurred to me that it might be simpler to cut out the middle man and make some kind of forum.
I have two weeks off in May and I am willing to investigate forum hosting to find the best set up for this community IF THERE IS ENOUGH INTEREST. I think it could be a faster way to share tips and job information instead of submitting through the general tumblr. There are forums out in the interwebz that already exist and function in a similar manner but I’m curious to see if there would be sufficient interest from this specific community to warrant such an expansion. We broke 2000 followers last week and we continue to gain members everyday, not including the non tumblr folks who participate on a regular basis. That’s a lot of experience and a lot of connections that are available.
Let us how you feel about a forum by a) answering this post, b) reblogging with an extended answer, or c) submitting an opinion via ask.
Job seekers, here’s something for you! Also a few add-ons:
Grace Adventures in Mears, MI is still looking for male counselors and anyone who can play the drums. However, you should know that it’s a christian camp.
Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp in Branchville, NJ is definitely looking for a Nurse (live-in, EMT qualifications and such) and might have an Outdoor Education counselor position or two open.
At my camp, it’s absolutely forbidden to be friends with campers/CITs on Facebook, which is hard sometimes, because as a young, new staff member, some of my friends I’ve been going to camp with for years are still campers and there’s serious pressure from the admin staff to remove them and not have communication during the offseason. We have to use less public methods if we want to talk.- another anon.
In regards to media policy, my camp doesn’t really have one, but the camp i work at is only for high school students, so the age difference is usually going to be smaller. If a camper friends me, I accept, and I only friend campers if I was close to them or if i know they won’t be a camper the next summer. Many of us were also participants (what we call campers at my camp) with current participants, so its a little different.
We have a pretty strict media policy. Don’t upload photos of campers. Social Networking Sites are more difficult. For high school aged volunteers, we are not to really have “relationships” with them outside of camp. You may add them, but only on a limited status. For campers, discretion is best. Only add older campers. Only add on limited views. Best yet, don’t add them. But It’s up to each staff member. All posts MUST be considered camp appropriate, even if you don’t have friends as campers.
Our camp operates on an honor system — we are allowed to friend campers or let them friend us, but are expected to use extreme discretion and if something is brought to the camp as a concern we lose the privilege. Most of the staff take advantage of the limited profile settings — I personally do not friend campers, but if they find me I accept and put them on limited view. The same goes for pictures, although we are expected to keep those on private if campers are in them.
In response to the social networking question- At the camp I work at, I am not allowed to friend campers on any kind of social networking site, nor am I allowed to post pictures on social networking sites that have campers in them. I can keep in touch with campers through private e-mails, but in that case I just can’t let my bosses know (It’s basically like the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell of keeping in touch with campers)- person b
My old camp just asked we use judgment. If we were to list camp as our employer and have camper friends our profiles had to be 100% camp appropriate (church run camp) As far as being friends w/ campers they allowed it. Almost all of the staff were former campers, so most of us were already friends with campers prior to each summer/ friends outside of camp as well. My new camp has us set up profiles our name with the camps name just for camper friendships- person c
At my camp we are told that if we do accept the request, it is almost like becoming a counselor year round. You are trying to set a good example to these kids. So I personally watch what I post and make use the privacy settings to exclude them from seeing parts of my profile- person d
This seems close to standard for larger camps.
The camps I’ve worked at have all developed policies about these things recently. Last year I was told that putting new pictures up with campers was frowned upon but we didn’t have to take down old picture from past years. Our execs were ok with us putting up other pictures that only had staff so occasionally we would crop campers out of pictures or post things that we did on weekends sans kids.
As far as friending them, that was left up to us. I have my settings to super private and fairly clean photos(thanks to panhel rules) and if I did friend campers I set them on a restricted status. Personally, I only friended a few returners who were closer to CIT status or that I knew would be on staff soon. Some of our staff never friend campers, others are pretty choosy.
Other interpretations and or rules?
That was fast.
This sounds fairly accurate. I would think that variety between the camps would help to round out an individual. Personally, I’m excited about working at a conference center with a day camp routine instead of the extremely remote sleep-away camp I grew up at. New experiences challenge us and hopefully a new person can bring insight to the table in a give and take relationship.
Are there? I feel that after connecting with 2000+ campy people someone might know of such a place. Reblog and help out the anon.
Thanks for sharing about Camp George, we love hearing about positive experiences. Your question also gives me an opportunity to brag about our new page: FAQ. Please explore!