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Free Character Writing Prompts #60: 
Camp Counselors and Instructors

These character writing prompts make sure that you and the rest of your bunk will make it to arts and crafts time in one piece. I have many fond memories of summer camp from my 13 years at Willow Grove Day Camp in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. I went from the tiniest of tots to the step just below counselor during my time there. I came to love the camp as a whole, but it was really the people that made it for me. Some of my counselors were incredible memorable and now that I'm older I truly appreciate them spending their summers, working for little to no money, to entertain me and my peers. Counselors may not always love what they do, but hopefully for most, there are moments that make the long hours and little pay completely worth it. 

Free Character Writing Prompts #60: Camp Counselors and Instructors

1. When he became a teacher over a decade ago, one of his big dreams was to become a baseball coach on the side. Unfortunately, the school he taught at had a coaching staff in place and he was barely even allowed to work the concession stand. When a friend gave him the idea of being a camp counselor to get some coaching experience, his eyes lit up. He became a counselor for one of the oldest groups in camp, but more importantly to him, he took over the coaching gig for the travelling team. They certainly weren't the best bunch of kids he'd ever seen play the game, but he enjoyed helping them to grow over the summer months, and he came back summer after summer to do what he loved. What are some of his summer coaching highlights?

2. This wasn't supposed to be what he was stuck doing all summer. When his parents told him that he wouldn't get his customary summer allowance unless he got a job, he thought they were kidding. He had to learn something about the working world if he was going to live under their roof and at the last second, the only job he could find was as a camp counselor. He didn't even like kids. He hoped that he wasn't as annoying as they were when he was little, because he could barely stand them. What he did enjoy was the chance to try to date some of the female counselors, which is what he put most of his energy into. Would he learn anything from his counselor experience or would he be the same old rich kid?

3. She loved kids and thought she could affect their lives the most by teaching them the intricacies of soccer. She had played for her middle and high school team and she knew she had a lot to offer instruction-wise. For many of these teens and tweens, however, her biggest contribution was how beautiful she looked. Unintentionally, she had become the crush of a great deal of the campers and counselors alike. During school, she didn't care much about dating because she was so busy with soccer. Now that she had some downtime during the summer, she began to notice the attention of a whole bunch of people. She was asked out on a date at least once a day during camp and some of them she said yes to. After all, she was allowed to have a little bit of fun while she provided a service to the community as well, right? What is it like for her to be the quintessential "bombshell" of the camp and what are some of her dates with the other counselors like?

4. She hated seeing her kids cooped up in the house all summer. She knew that one of the easiest solutions was to become an instructor at the local day camp, since it would allow her to send her kids there for free. She became the arts and crafts director and was tasked with coming up for projects that close to 1,000 kids to work on throughout the 8-week camp season. She didn't have much to work with, mostly popsicle sticks and glue, and it was hard work providing creative guidance for so many, but she was happy to go through with it for the benefit of her kids. What is one of her camp days like from beginning to end?

5. He was a real lifer when it came to his camp. Ever since he was a little kid he dreamed of being a counselor there, because he truly looked up to them for the decade he'd been attending. He loved it when he and his peers ran circles around these teenagers and grown men and he figured it'd be just as fun to be on the other side of the equation. He'd been a counselor in training, then a junior counselor and now he was ready for the real deal: a head counselor position. He felt proud to be leading a group of young men through a great camping experience. What are some of the things he likes the most about being a coach? What does he like the least?

6. He couldn't stand how soft kids were getting these days. With all of their Internet games and their Facebook profiles they were forgetting to become men, in his eyes. He figured he would do something about it by volunteering to teach several important subjects at a summer camp. He would head up the archery, marksmanship and wood working to ensure that kids would learn these important manly skills. He worked hard to make the subjects both entertaining and extremely informative. He knew that these kids would go home to their iPads and would continue to be babied by their parents, but at least he had made some small contribution to their adulthood. How do some of the kids react to his attempts to get them to "man up?"

7. She hadn't become a swim instructor for the extra money or to keep herself in shape. She was there to make sure that when kids were in a sticky situation in a pool, they would come out of it alive. She wasn't concerned with fun or water sports, she wanted these kids to learn everything about swimming and how to save each other from drowning. To hear her describe a pool, is like hearing most people describe some sort of water-laced death trap. Some of the owners of the camp had asked her to tone down her apocalyptic pool talk, but she still scared the kids half to death with her stories of pool-related fatalities. Sure, they learned to swim, but they rarely ever wanted to go into the pool again. What are some other things she is a tad melodramatic about?

8. Her whole life was surrounded with slimy little creatures...and that was just the kids! She was a much bigger fan of lizards, amphibians and tiny mammals that she was human children, but the best market for her animal loving skills was to show them off to kids. After all, she figured that by teaching them about these awesome organisms, she might create a few animal loving adults. This is why she took the position of Nature Instructor at the camp. It kept her in one place for a couple of months instead of touring about from school to school and it gave her the opportunity to hang out in a beautiful wooded area instead of the city. It was a win-win, though working with so many snot-nosed kids all day made her yearn for her apartment which was full of cats, frogs, birds and other non-human friends. What is it that makes her enjoy the company of animals more than humans?

9. When most of the kids went to the computer building, they were expecting to play non-stop games that mostly involved blowing each other up. But their computer instructor, an old-school guy who had been involved with computers when they were still punch cards, had different ideas. He wasn't there just for fun and games but to teach these kids the cool things they could do with the ancient machines located at the camp. He gave them basic web design lessons, had them print out three-dimensional airplanes and toys and gave them history lessons using interactive videos. If he had his way, kids wouldn't rot their brains with high-frame rate explosive games, but they would learn at all costs. How successful are his attempts at keeping computer time educational?

10. While most of her friends were sitting poolside and waiting for senior year to begin, she was slaving away trying to take care of 20 bratty kids each day. After a financial hardship or two, her parents could no longer afford to support her spending habits and told her if she wanted to have fun that summer she would need to work for it. After several attempts at getting a job dealing with clothes or waitressing, she found the only job that would hire her. She hated the outdoors and she looked at her bunk as 20 versions of her annoying little sister. She cried and whined as soon as she got home every day but her parents wouldn't and couldn't relent. Did she learn anything from her summer of working and will she ever come back to do it again? 

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Done with Character Writing Prompts about Counselors? Go back to Creative Writing Prompts. 

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    Written by Bryan Cohen

    Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.

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