- SUMMER CAMP Ages 6-16
- YEAR ROUND PROGRAMS Groups & Events
- INFORMATION Good To Know
- JOIN THE TEAM Join Our Mailing List
Camps across the United States are gearing up for their spring break camps. Spring sessions offer children a great alternative to a week at the babysitters. A mix of outdoor activities, new friends, and healthy personal growth accompany most camp experiences. Spring camps also provide parents who are unsure if their child is ready for sleep-away camp a great opportunity to try out camp.
One week spring break camps are perfect opportunities for first time and young campers. They provide the same fun and excitement of the larger summer camp sessions in a smaller setting. Parents and campers experience the separation of camp in a more manageable time block. Most spring break camps also operate with a smaller number of campers. This in turn helps first time and younger campers navigate the camp and activities easier.
These factors combine to help campers have a successful sleep-away camp experience. It sets the stage for a longer and more full summer session. Campers can approach the summer already knowing the staff, schedule of the day, and the ability to meet up with friends from their spring break. Parents will also have a better understanding of how their child will handle the camp setting.
Spring break and summer camps come in many types and sizes. Picking the right one can be a daunting task. What are the goals and mission of the camp? How are medical situations handled? Picking the right one can be a daunting task. Parents should ensure the camp they choose meets their standards. Ask to speak with the camp director or assistant camp director. A camp director should be able to answer questions easily and confidently. Taking a tour of the camp is a great way to see the facilities and get a feel for the staff.
Great Questions to ask:
What is the mission or goals of the camp?
How long has the camp been in operation?
What type of individuals are hired as camp counselors?
How do the activities operate?
How are medical situation handled?
What is the camp menu?
What are the sleeping arrangements?
This by no means is a full list. It is a great starting point to form more detailed questions. Gaining a better understanding of any camp will help a parent to make the right choice for their family. A parent should be fully satisfied with all answers before choosing their camp.
Preparing a camper for a sleep-away experience, such as spring break camp, is just as important as the experience itself. Every child will have some level of apprehension about going to camp. When discussing camp, focus on the positive aspects of the experience. Parents should avoid conversations about how much they will miss their camper. Those conversations can result in homesickness later. Instead, parents who share with campers how proud they are of their child attending camp have better success.
This is not to say to totally refrain from telling children they will be missed, just that messages on the positive are better in the long run. The camper must hear from parents how important this experience will be for them. More important that this will be a fun experience that as a parent we support.
Furthermore, take the time to show the camper the camp facility, the camp website or pictures of camp. This helps to prepare them. If possible, schedule a tour at the camp. The ability to visit the camp and meet staff in advance always helps campers. Continue to have conversations leading up to the start of camp. Answer camper questions and when needed reach out to the camp director for assistance.
Spring break camp, summer camp, and for that matter any outdoor camp, provide children great and positive experiences. Taking the steps toward spring break camp will open the door to many other camp opportunities in the future.
Ben Moss is the Camp Director at Circle F Dude Ranch Camp. He has over 20 years of youth development experience working in youth programing and summer camps.
Many college aged young adults think that being a summer camp counselor sounds like a fun summer job. Hundreds of counselor’s applications flood into Camp Director’s email boxes every year. They dream of an easy summer job. The real work of a camp counselor is much more difficult, but can be very rewarding.
The magic that is camp happens when the camp activities, program, and staff come together. When they work together they provide campers with positive impressions that in turn result in growth in the camper’s life. The reality is that every activity or program only happens through the dedication of the staff that run them. Any Camp Director will tell you that a camp is only as good as the staff in the cabins and the activities.
True counselors are positive role models that campers inspire to be like in their own life. Counselor’s actions, words, and behaviors are closely scrutinized by campers. At Circle F Dude Ranch Camp, we have seen campers attempt to dress like counselors, talk like counselors, and even change their hair style to match counselors. On a deeper level, we see campers demonstrate compassion, kindness, and respect as they have seen modeled by counselors around them.
These things do not happen overnight. They happen because of the counselor’s 24-hour caregiving and modeling. Counselors at Circle F Dude Ranch Camp find themselves working days that start at 7 AM and end around 10:30 PM. They all sleep in cabins with campers, along with their co-counselor. There are very few jobs that college students hold that require that length of time and dedication. During those days’ counselors find themselves as caregivers, coaches, big sisters, big brothers, and guides. Their attention to their children ensures that each camper has a wonderful experience.
The traits of any great counselor start with a deep passion for working and educating young people. This must be translated into the willingness to work long hours and a dedication to their campers. An ability to take initiative when they see things that need to be addressed. Camper will model the behaviors they see. Every counselor must demonstrate a lifestyle that allows them to be engaging and worthy role model for the camper.
As a Florida Summer Camp, we work with Universities and Colleges across Florida, the United States and World. We seek to attract counselors with the right mindset. Circle F often hires staff with major’s in education, hospitality, psychology, and exercise science. Further more most camps are open to all college majors, and in recent years we have seen majors that span from business to astrophysics applying to camp. The key factor is not the major but always the individual’s personal desire to provide positive impacts on kids’ lives.
CIT or counselor in training programs are great opportunities for younger individuals. It provides experience in working in a cabin without all the pressures of being the full-time caregiver. Circle F started a CIT program several years ago, that helps to train 17-year-old campers the skill sets needed to step into a counselor role at 18.
A camp counselor is more than being a summer baby sitter it is truly a youth development specialist. One will work long hours in the outdoors. Need to love working with children. Most important, Counselor must want to make difference in the world. If one is willing they will find there is no job more rewarding then summer camp work. Do you have the right stuff to be a counselor? Join our team. We encourage you to check out our website and apply.
Florida has changed a lot in the last 65 years, but one Florida institution that has stood the test of time is Circle F Dude Ranch Camp. This classic sleep-away camp and guest ranch, which still looks much like it did when it started in 1952, is situated on a private lake among 500 acres of oak trees in central Florida. The bunkhouse style cabins and the Lasso Lodge dining hall has hosted 3 generations of Floridians and still, to this day, host campers and guest from Miami to Tallahassee and around the world. “The real legacy of our camp is in all of the amazing individuals that have been campers, camp families, guest, and staff over the years,” said Ben Moss Camp Director, “I look forward to seeing them at this year’s camp reunion.” The camp is preparing to celebrate 65 years of camping on Feb 11, 2017 at the camp facility with an event that invites back all former campers, camp families, guests, and staff.
“What amazes me is how often I hear from those individuals how their grandparents, parents, and themselves have all attended camp at Circle F. I think that is the best testament to what we do,” stated Mr. Moss. 3 Generations of camp families have made Circle F their camp home and, in doing so, Circle F Dude Ranch has become part of the fabric of Florida. Ask around just a little and you are sure to run into a person in Florida that over the years has attended the summer camp, a family or dad and daughter weekend, school trip, or private event at the ranch.
Camp Owner, Paul Wells, noted, “65 years has not been without some changes, but I am most proud that who we are and what we do here has never changed. What brings so many of our campers and guests back is the effect this place has on making them gain a better understanding of themselves.” It is true that over the years cabins have been updated, air conditioning added, new adventures like climbing walls and skate parks added to the activity lineup, while classics like swimming, horseback riding, archery, and nature lore have stood the test of time.
“It’s about more than just the activities or the place,” stated Mr. Moss, “it’s about the experience every camper and guest receives. The chance to step outside of their normal lives and become something more.” Circle F has held true to its core ideas of teaching campers to respect others, inspire those they meet, to play with a purpose, be positive and be a leader within their community and, most importantly engage in the world around them. These fundamental ideas extend into every program at Circle F and can be seen in the way the campers and staff interact with each other each day.
The “Circle F Experience” whether attending a school trip, weekend program, or the summer camp, has always been about investing in the idea of helping participants connect with nature while growing on a personal level. This basic principle has resulted in tens of thousands of lives being positively impacted over the past 65 years of the camp.
Check out the video below to find out you can be involved with the Circle F Reunion