If a camper is 15 or turns 15 while at camp, he will be involved in our leadership-in-training program. This program, which has many facets, offers senior campers an opportunity to begin to work with younger campers, to organize camp activities, and to work on their own skills in preparation for becoming a counselling staff member if the camper is successful in the leadership program.
Every day at camp may be different, but each one provides our leaders-in-training (LITs) with opportunities to lead. Whether it be during meals in the dining hall or while taking part in activities and all-camp events, our LITs set examples for our younger campers to follow.
LITs are expected to showcase their skills during the canoe and/or sailing competitions, setting the bar for the younger, impressionable boys to aim for as they grow through the camp. LITs are also encouraged to take to the stage to share their musical or acting talents during skit nights, campfires, and concerts.
A major highlight for LITs comes at the end of each month-long session in the form of Relay Day. The previous evening, the LITs are encouraged to nominate themselves as Relay Day captains by performing a skit or speech in front of the rest of the camp. The quality of the performance is judged by everyone present and the strongest are rewarded with the opportunity to lead the teams in competition the following day.
As we know, however, leading isn’t about being the centre of attention. Making connections with other campers is a great way to practice one’s leadership skills. It’s these perhaps less obvious moments that the camp directors will be looking for when earmarking LITs as potential future staff.
An LIT canoe trip differs from what these senior campers may have experienced before as their counsellors guiding the trip will have higher expectations for their campers’ tripping behavior.
From practicing good campsite etiquette to making sensible decisions on the river to working well as part of a team, LITs will want to demonstrate a strong willingness to support their counsellors and lead their peers while on the trip.
While preparing for the trip, LITs are involved in the route planning process, and the group are given sessions with their counsellors so that they can all study the maps together. Similarly, LITs are expected to take part when packing for the trip, learning from the canoe trip room staff about the logistical side of tripping.
Each day on trip, a leader of the day is chosen to take on special responsibilities. These may include rousing the group for breakfast, delegating morning tasks, keeping the group on schedule for the day, helping make decisions on the river, and then organising the evening campsite at the end of the day.
Aside from gaining key tripping experience on these days, leaders can use this time to show their counsellors what they’ve learned so far, what they’re capable of now, and where they might need some support for the future.
White Water Training
Every spring, our LITs are invited to attend the white water training course, held at the Madawaska Kanu Centre over a long weekend, to gain their first official level in white water canoeing.
This exceptional weekend is highly recommended by us to introduce the campers to white water, help build their confidence for their upcoming summer trip, and it’s great fun with friends old and new!