There are  many different aspects to being a Unit Leader but the way we describe it to the kids is that we are their “Fairy god parents”. Anything the kids want at camp, we help them get it (within reason!). If they want to perform in a talent show, we help them to find a way to do that. If they would like a guitar lesson, we introduce them to the teachers. As a Unit Leader you are essentially a Micro Manager for 30+ children, helping them build their schedules around what they want to do.

We are also the kids confidant if they have any issues at camp. These issues can vary from not getting along with other campers in there bunk, not enjoying the role they have in the musical or play or missing their parents. All of these things are normal and although everyone helps reassure the kids when these things happen, the Unit Leaders are there to deal with it so the other counsellors are free to teach their disciplines.

All of these things are super important for Unit Leaders to know as we are also the point of contact for parents. We update them on what their children have been getting up to at camp and how they have settled in and also ask any questions they have. The way Unit Leaders do this is with weekly update calls to the parents, but also being readily available to get to the phone should a parent ever call.

Essentially the Unit Leader helps keep camp running smoothly for everyone with a heavy focus on the children (obviously). Every day could be different. You could find yourself dealing with an inconsolable homesick child to spending the whole day doing varied activities with your campers from painting to basketball, singing lessons to kayaking. You are their best friend, their interim parent and their parents favourite voice to hear when their kids are away (besides the kids themselves).

It does sound stressful, and it can be at times, but having done other jobs at camp, this is by far my favourite.

 Thanks to the Unit Leaders at Long Lake Camp for this insight! There may be slight variations in the role across camps but in essence, this is the role of a Unit Leader or Head Counsellor at any camp.

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