A YMCA camp counselor is one of the most important jobs there is when it comes to the Y’s success and consistent growth.
The Y’s pledge to youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility is upheld every single day with the help of all staff, but the counselors are on the front lines.
Today we’re going to meet one of those counselors. Christine Adcock is a Summer Day Camp Counselor at the Caine Halter Family Y. She is responsible for giving the Division 1 (rising first and second graders), the best summer camp of their life.
Christine is in her second year as a summer counselor at the Y. In Christine’s first year she was a regular counselor, but now she is a division specialist, which means she gets to help plan activities. Christine is a rising senior at North Greenville University studying early childhood education.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. “I have a twin brother named Michael. I was brought up in a Christian family with my mom and dad that upheld a strong sense of morals. Thanks to them, till this day I still have the same morals and it has helped me grow as a young woman and position myself up for success with children and for the future. I am engaged and will get married in the middle of next year. I love helping children, nonprofit organizations, and the church. I like helping and giving whenever I can. Giving and donating yourself, time, and energy to goes a long way and helps the world for the better.”
What attracted you to be a day camp counselor? “I attended youth camps frequently as a child. It was usually with the church and I also attended YMCA camps as well. One thing that I do that camp counselors did not do for me while I was in summer camps was connecting with the kids. I really love how I get the chance to connect with everyone in my division. It is really important to the kids and gives not only them, but me as well a chance to see where everyone’s heads are and what’s going through our mind. It is fun for us counselors and them as well.
What are the top three qualities everyone who works with children must have to succeed? “Patience is a big one. Kids will unintentionally push every button you have. Second is probably … love! If you do not love them then they will not love you back or gain respect from them. Third is passion. If you are not passionate about what you are doing then the kids will realize it and you will not get anywhere with them. Building relationships and having communication goes a long way with children.
What does the Y mean to you? “The Y means a way to give back to the community. From my experience and what I have seen and heard it seems as if the YMCA of Greenville is consistently trying to establish that. The people can get involved and find their place with different programs they offer and far as community service. It is difficult find camps and facilities that actually care about the children and community, but YMCA prides itself in doing that.
What is your favorite activity to do with the kids? “I really enjoy swimming in the pool with them. I think it’s very fun and a way for them to relax and enjoy swimming. The girls can also learn how to get better at swimming. My second favorite thing to do with them is one on one time with them. It is time you have to make throughout the day. Just while walking to another activity, water breaks, or right before they go home for the day, you can have a heart to heart conversation with them. You are not in a big group or around the rest of her friends. It is just one on one with them. I learn so much about them, as well as about myself with one on one conversations.
How do you handle stressful situations that arise? “You have to roll with it the best as you can. You have to remember a person can only do so much. The best part about stressful situations is having other counselors to help. A good group of counselors makes a huge difference. Without them none of this would be possible or able to run smoothly. At any moment one of us may have to run off and take a child somewhere and others have to step in and lead. It really is a group effort to make sure every child is taken care of and has the best experience they can.
I know it seems if counselors lecture and tutor the kids, but do you learn a lot from them as well? “You have to learn from them if you want to be a good counselor and build healthy relationships with them throughout the camp. They always bring up some good points when I have conversations with them. Last year they called me Ms. Crazy Daisy and the new kids call me Ms. Christine. One day a child new to camp came up to me one day and said “I heard you were crazy”. You end up learning from them and they ask the most interesting and eye opening questions. We for sure learn from each other.”
What inspires you to be upbeat, in a good mood, and smiling even when you feel groggy at work? “The biggest thing is remembering it is for them not yourself. It is the Y goal to make sure they have a good experience and summer. God and the Bible says “you look for his joy and strength.” I always say, "God, I cannot do it without you and it is for the kids." The strength to be upbeat and in a good mood all comes from God’s strength and grace.