Recreation, Parks and Tourism 235

RCPT 235: Camp Counseling

Credit Hours: (3)

Introduction to the role of counselors in relation to the objectives, organization, guidance, leadership skills and programming in organized camps.


Detailed Description of the Content of the Course.

In this course, students will cover the following topics related to organized camps and camp counseling: the varieties and types of camps and camp sponsors, the nature and role of the American Camping Association, camp staff manuals and staff training, camp program development, activity leadership, writing goals and objectives for campers, the roles and responsibilities of counselors, the adventure-based counseling model and counseling "youth-at-risk," theory and application of personality types, the physical, socio-emotional, and behavioral characteristics of different aged campers, camper behavioral problems and management, counselor interpersonal skills and communications (communication values and styles, listening skills, reflective listening, assertive     communications, and collaborative problem-solving and conflict resolution), and developing inclusive camp programs.


Detailed Description of the Conduct of the Course

An interdisciplinary and experiential approach to camp counseling characterizes this course. Students will draw insights from a variety of disciplines (psychology, sociology, communication) in order to develop an understanding of the nature of the camp experience, both from the counselor's viewpoint, as well as that of the camper. A camp staff manual for an agency serving campers with disabilities will serve as the "text" and will be utilized as a training tool. Students will be required to develop an experiential, skills development contract. In effect, students will research and involve themselves in one or more skill areas related to organized camping. The Kiersey Temperament Sorter will be utilized to assist students in understanding and appreciating/ respecting different personality types. Lastly, students will have verbal as well as oral practice with a variety of interpersonal skills and types of communication.

In this course, students will have the opportunity to participate in a standard First Aid and CPR course and a Project Adventure adventure-based counseling (ABC) weekend. The methods utilized in this course include most, if not all, of the following: lectures, readings (including an actual camp staff manual), small group discussions and activities, guest lecturers, slide-tape and video programs, in-class and take-home assignments, a personality-type assessment instrument, and contracting for skills development.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

At the conclusion of the course, the student will be able to:

1. Describe the roles and responsibilities of the camp counselor within the organized camp setting.
2. Write camper goals and objectives consistent with the mission and program goals and objectives of a selected camp.
3. State the structure, services, and roles of the American Camping Association.
4. List the methods and techniques for making camp facilities and programs accessible.
5. Document participation and skill acquisition in one or more program areas related to organized camping.
6. Differentiate between effective and ineffective counseling and communication skills and techniques.


Assessment Measures

Assessment is based upon grades for three exams, attendance, assigned homework, in-class writing assignments, quizzes, and the development and implementation of the skills development contract.


Other Course Information

General Policies and Considerations

1. The safety standards and guidelines for the adventure practices utilized in this course have been formulated through consideration of those provided by the Association for Experiential Education, the Virginia Council for Outdoor Adventure Education, the American Canoe Association, the American Whitewater Affiliation, and the National Speleological Society.
2. All Radford University rules and policies apply to ALL adventure field trips.
3. NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES PERMITTED during adventure field trips.
4. Specific policies/procedures appropriate to each trip will be provided. It is essential to the safety and quality of these adventure experiences that all policies/procedures/rules discussed prior to and/or during the adventure activity be adhered to by all participants.


Review and Approval

September 2001 Reviewed Gary G. Nussbaum, Chair