Become a Leader at Camp

Counselor-in-Training Program

Our counselor-in-training program is open to rising 9th and 10th graders who aspire to work with children and learn leadership skills. Additionally, CITs should show responsibility, enthusiasm, and a willingness to grow. CITs volunteer for a four-week-long session, contributing their time and effort in exchange for valuable work experience and training.

Interested in Becoming a Counselor-in-Training? Apply Today!

Facts About Our CIT Program

What do you look for in a Counselor-in-Training applicant?

As mentioned above, CITs should exemplify the following areas: “Responsible members of the camp community” are those who are on time to activities, who are where they are supposed to be, who dress appropriately for whatever activity they are doing, and who observe camp rules. “Putting the needs of others ahead of your own” means sharing, helping others, allowing others to go first and letting others get their way from time to time. When we talk about, “Having positive relationships with others,” we mean with people at camp who are not just your friends. “Respect” means dealing with people in a respectful way even if you disagree with them. If these qualities are true of you, then you would be great in our program!

What are the responsibilities of a CIT?

CITs are assigned to a group at the beginning of the rotation and will be with the group for the entire session. As a member of the group, CITs are expected to assist in any and all situations that may arise and are viewed as an additional leader and role model to their group of campers.


While assigned to a group, CITs will work with their counselors to develop and lead activities, helping to ensure their safety, fun, and growth at camp. CITs must participate in all camp activities while supervising their campers, including hiking, kayaking, sports, dance, etc. Throughout the session, CITs will also attend meetings with their coordinator to learn new skills, discuss important topics, write in their journal and receive evaluations.

What is a day like at camp as a CIT?

CITs arrive at camp at 8:00am, ready to learn and play! You can just right in and hang out with campers during free time, or schedule a time to chat with your counselor about the day's activities ahead. From there, the whole camp gathers around for Shenanigan City (our all-camp assembly). Feeling up to leading a song? Awesome! This is the perfect time to show off your leadership skills. We sing lots of songs, yell camp chants, and do ridiculous counselor challenges. After SC, you will be with your group going around to 5 different activities, with lunch in the middle. At each activity, you will assist your counselor and participate right along side the campers. Throughout the week you will participate in meetings to learn more about strengthening your skills and working with children. The day wraps up around 3:30 with afternoon Shenanigan City and CITs (along with campers) are dismissed by 4:00pm.

Days can be long and filled with high-energy activities, so getting a good night sleep and relaxing in the evening is a must!

How old do I need to be to apply?

The CIT program is for applicants entering 9th and 10th grade. If you are going into 11th grade or older, check out our Become A Counselor page.

How long is the commitment

There are two CIT sessions, each consisting of 4 weeks. For summer 2018, the first session is from June 11 - July 6 (no camp on July 4th). The second session is from July 9 to August 3. Interested applicants must be able to commit to every day of their session.

Do I need experience working with children before applying to be a CIT

Nope! Our program is set up for former campers and high school students who are interested in learning more about leading children, being a mentor, and learning important career skills. If you have experience working with kids, that's great! We are still going to teach you lots about how we work with children at camp.

Do you have to be a former camper?

Not at all! While camp experience, especially at Ursa Major, is a plus, it is not necessary. For many, their first time at a camp is as a CIT.

There are a lot of really cool activities that you have at camp. Do CITs ever get to do them?

Yes! In fact, you are required to do all of them! There will be some times when you can participate in an activity just for fun, but for the most part, you are expected to participate in order to be a good role model for your campers. It's a big multitasking effort, but we will help you in learning how to participate and supervise campers. Please be sure you are comfortable with all the following activities:

  • Swimming

  • Hiking

  • Art

  • Nature Exploration

  • Crafts

  • Field Games and Sports

  • Kayaking

  • Acting and Creative Play

  • Board Games and Puzzles

  • Generally being active, getting a little messy, and being outside all day

What's the deal with being "unplugged"?

We do not allow any electronics at camp. That means that we should never see your cell phone, smart watch, or any other device with an on/off switch. Sometimes you might see your counselor or one of the directors with their phones out, but they are used only to communicate with parents and each other.


Parents! If you are reading this and are wondering, "But how to I get in touch with my CIT? What if there is an emergency or I just need to tell them something?", the answer is you should call the camp number. Especially in an emergency, calling the camp number is the fastest way to get ahold of someone. If your CIT needs to contact you for whatever reason, they can use our phones. Please do not tell your CIT that it is okay with you for them to bring their phone, because it is against our policy and we expect our CITs to abide by our norms.

I really like camp and all the activities. Is that a good reason to apply?

Not quite. While we hope you enjoy camp and activities we have, this program is about learning how to be a leader and how to work with children. You should have an interest in working with kids and maybe even foresee a future for yourself in education, youth development, camp, or other youth-focused fields.

What is the application process like?

Glad you are interested in being a CIT! In order to apply, you (not your parents or anyone else), must complete an application, answer important essay questions, and request 2 letters of recommendation. After turning all of that in, we will review your paperwork and invite you to an in-person interview if you are qualified. This is very similar to a job interview, so please come prepared to speak with us about why you want to be a CIT for Camp Ursa Major. After your interview, we will let you know if you received a spot in the program.

A note about communication...

If you are a CIT or applying to be a CIT, we, the directors and staff at camp, will communicate with YOU. That means that if you want to schedule an interview, you must call or email us. Feeling sick and need to reschedule? You need to let us know. Need to have a Skype or virtual interview? You must set up your computer to interview. We hope you are catching on to what we are saying. While we love talking with your parents, YOU will be working with us and learn at camp this summer, not them. Should your parents have any questions, you will be their source of information!

I'm ready to apply! Where is that application you mentioned?

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