Counselor Training Program
The Leelanau & Kohahna Counselor Training Program is for campers entering their Senior year in High School. The program is seven weeks long with a focus throughout on developing leadership skills, Christian character, unselfish outlooks, and genuine man- or woman-hood.
The first three weeks are spent with their CT peers specifically tuning into the teamwork elements of leadership. They work for a week on a community service project (usually to benefit the camp property), where they learn true service, work ethic, and develop useable skills.
Parts of second and third week are spent preparing for, executing, and debriefing a 6 day wilderness trip, often in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or Ontario, Canada. The focus of this experience is on taking one’s thought off of oneself and looking to God for strength and direction.
The following four weeks the campers move into camp cabins where they put their new leadership skills to the test as they apprentice under our cabin counselors, raising our youngsters and learning to teach the regular camp activities.
We cannot impress enough the value of this particular summer at Camp Leelanau and Kohahna. Whether or not your son or daughter feels they want to be a counselor, the strength of the CT program in developing leadership skills, the ability to take initiative, and to be confident and dedicated Christian Scientists is unparalleled.
Why I believe in the CT Program (from a camp parent)
I was reminded recently in a conversation with another camper parent of the value of Camp Leelanau and Camp Kohahna’s Counselor Training program, affectionately known as the CT program. All four of my children whet through this program and as a parent, I can think of no other singular experience that can be more important for a teenager than participating in their CT summer of camp. There are many worthwhile competing opportunities for other summer activities for our kids, and it can seem difficult at times to choose what is best. Often our children have strong feelings about how they want to spend their summers. One of the best decisions our family has ever made was for our kids to be at camp for their CT summers. This comprehensive, prayerfully designed program provides life lessons of the most important kind that a parent could ever wish for their child. It is an opportunity for them to learn what it means to think about, and live, their lives as students of Christian Science in a very practical way. This program is structured to provide an opportunity for much learning about one’s self, for what it means to serve others, and for growth in Christian character. The CTs spend the first few weeks of this seven week program learning how to function as a team while doing such things as a camp service project and taking a hiking or canoeing trip in the wilderness. These activities provide experiences in learning to work together for a common goal, and bring increased self knowledge through greater self awareness, self confidence, and in facing and conquering self imposed limitations. The CTs spend the last four weeks of the program in cabins assisting the regular counselors with campers. This provides ample opportunity for unselfed love, for learning more deeply what it means to be a good role model and a leader, and how and why it is important to sacrifice something of themselves for the greater good. All of these things are life lessons of the highest order, richly valuable for young people on the cusp of adulthood in a world shouting at them from many directions that life is all about what feels good and what best serves one’s own individual interests or needs, with little thought to the larger picture of what it means to live to serve others, and be about the Father’s business.
My oldest child did not want to attend camp her CT year. She wanted to relax at home, earn some money at a summer job, shop, and just hang out. Furthermore, she was not what you might exactly call the typical camper type. She liked sleeping in, moving at her own pace, and was not overly fond of the outdoors and outdoor related activities. However, her dad and I felt her CT summer would help her to grow and deepen her own self worth and understanding, and strengthen her for the challenges we knew lay ahead as she matured into adulthood. We knew too it would teach her more about how to live and give unselfishly, and how to serve others, which is so beautifully expressed in the the CT motto “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me” (Phil 13). We explained this to her, and while she wasn’t completely on board with the idea of going, she went, and we prayerfully supported her participation. We felt as parents this was a situation where our daughter didn’t have the understanding or experience in life yet to see the full wisdom and value of a summer spent in this way. It was our deep love for our daughter that enabled us to be firm in our decision that this was the best possible way she could and would spend her summer. She learned many things during those seven weeks, and had the wonderful support of the camp staff and fellow CT’s along the way. While it wasn’t always easy for her, much good went on that summer. She made friends, learned to work as part of a team, learned to give more unselfishly, had fun, and emerged a stronger, more mature young woman, with a deeper appreciation and understanding of what it means to live Christian Science. When further trials came into this beloved daughter’s experience in later years, her camp experience was a rock she could stand on to be reminded she could find her way. Today she is a busy mother, works full time, and runs half marathons. And Sundays you will find her in church.
I will forever be deeply grateful to camp for the wisdom and love shown in designing and developing the CT program which so carefully, practically, and lovingly provides for our children the right experience at the right time in their lives. All of my children were greatly blessed by being a part of it, and my youngest child is eagerly awaiting his opportunity to participate in it a year from now. So if you are pondering this experience for your child, go for it. In the years to come, you and your children will never regret your decision.