My Summer As a Cheer Camp Counselor

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Summer 2015 was an unforgettable one filled with beach days, city adventures and amazing opportunities. However, the highlight of my summer was being at Camp Woodward. If you haven’t heard of Camp Woodward, it’s a camp for cheerleading, gymnastics, action sports and digital media. They have multiple locations, and this was my third year at Woodward Pennsylvania for cheerleading. This year I was at camp for three weeks as a junior counselor (JC). To be a JC, one must be 16 or 17 years old and be able to commit a minimum of three weeks to camp. All JC’s must also set an example for the rest of the campers and offer a helping hand whenever it’s needed. As a JC one gets to come to camp for three weeks (or more) for the price of one.

Coming to camp I wasn’t sure what I was in for; I knew it was going to be a lot of fun (as always), but I did not know that being a JC was going to take my experience to the next level. My first day at camp I attended the mandatory staff orientation – that’s when I met my first JC friend, Kaden. Kaden is a cheerleader in Canada. A few hours later we met the rest of the JC’s. There was about 20 of us. All the new JC’s were quiet, including myself. It was intimidating because all the other JC’s knew each other from the previous week and already knew how everything worked. However, they made all the newbies feel extremely welcome right away, and we were all laughing and making jokes by the end of the day. The gymnastics and cheerleading JC’s did all their tasks together. Some of our responsibilities included opening and closing gym doors every morning and night, greeting campers on Sunday’s, directing parents on Saturday’s for pick up and keeping the gyms clean. These tasks helped me improve my communication and time management skills.

We still attended our mandatory training and evening and afternoon open gyms. In our free time we played cards, went swimming and took advantage of Woodward’s many recreational activities. My favorite memory was when had a  JC paintball game with our director, Tom. It was quite the experience. This was my first time playing paintball, and it did not disappoint. We split into two teams and at the end there was no clear winner, just lots of complaints about bruises. My favorite thing about being a JC was meeting all these awesome friends and being able to be the “ideal campers” with them. We all wanted everyone to love camp as much as we did, so we often helped out the younger kids that were homesick.

If I had the chance to be JC again, I would do it in a heartbeat. All the friendships and memories I made at camp, while serving the Woodward community, will last me a lifetime. It’s been a month since camp ended and I still talk to all my JC friends in a group chat on a daily basis. We are slowly counting down the days until summer 2016.

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Alina Serbina

All-star cheerleader Alina currently cheers for the Central Jersey All Stars. She has been cheering since her freshman year of high school and loves that cheerleading is both a team sport and an individual sport. She believes that you are responsible for your own progress and growth as an athlete, but that cheerleading allows you to work together with your team towards a certain goal.

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