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Kansas 4-H Tip Sheet

November 15, 2022

Teen leadership opportunities available at Rock Springs Ranch

Submitted by Jake Worcester

For Rock Springs Ranch teen leadership opportunities, the Patterson Family Foundation provides full-ride camperships to Counselor in Training (CIT) campers. Campers can apply for this funding here. Please share this opportunity and link with your local 4-H families.

I’d also like to share a story from Elizabeth who attended 4-H camp as a CIT in 2022.

When I first set out last summer to be a CIT (Counselor in Training) at Rock Springs Ranch, I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into. I knew I would be working with kids and doing camp activities, but I still wasn’t sure what it would be like. I ended up having an absolutely wonderful time. I know it’s easy for a person to exaggerate and just claim they had a wonderful experience, but I'm being totally honest.

As a CIT you have the responsibility and freedom of being a camp counselor, while still having the fun of being a camper. Every morning after breakfast, our group would go do something together like learning games to redirect squirrelly campers with, or tackling the high ropes course together to bond as a team (and trust me, you really do bond at 20 feet in the air!) As a CIT you not only learn practical skills, you also get a chance to test out what you learned. Every day after our group activity we were split up into different cabins, where we were basically secondary counselors, trusted to help out. In the middle of the week, we switched cabins which was really nice, since you got experience working with different age groups.

While I loved the structure of being a CIT, the relationships I made were the best part of the week. My fellow CITs were from all over Kansas, and we all were very different people, but we got along wonderfully. After the day was over we sat on the front porch of our cabin and talked about what happened during the day and everything else under the sun. We could have solved all the world's problems sitting out there and eating trail mix! I also loved getting to know my different campers and seeing how they reacted to everything from rock climbing to making paracord bracelets. I remembered doing activities like these when I was a camper, and getting to pass the buck forward and help kids experience the same things I loved was really fun. In addition, it was really interesting to meet all of the full camp counselors, especially since many of them were international.

If you’ve ever wanted to be a counselor, you should try doing the CIT program first. It’s a great way to dip your feet into the water and see if you’d enjoy the job. I have lovely memories of my time as a CIT and I plan on applying to be a full-time counselor next summer. I hope to see you there!

Elizabeth, Douglas County