2010

A forum for discussion about, questions to, and general musings about the people that really make the Space Camp programs possible.

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SyRilla
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2010

Postby SyRilla » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:37 am

I will be joining the camp, as a counselor, in a few days. I am very excited but nervous about this new adventure.

What age group are most counselors?
How long do most people stay?
What are some of the challenges?
Is there time to be involved in local outside activities?
As I will be living onsite, is there opportunity to leave and eat after work hours? I know there is not much around the center, so is there places to go?
How much non-uniform clothing can I bring?

I am sure I have more question...
SyRilla
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Postby SyRilla » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:45 am

Oh, what type of things will I be learning at the training?
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Postby SpaceCanada » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:00 am

First off, congratulations for being chosen to be a counsellor! I was never a counsellor, but I may be able to provide some insight until one of the real counsellors can post.

Counsellors range in age from 18 to 40 and sometimes older. In summer there are more university age counsellors because they are on summer break. From my experience, it's a mixed bag, but it seems like most counsellors are in their mid-twenties. Programmes for younger kids usually have younger counsellors whilst programmes for older kids and/or adults tend to have older counsellors.

Youth camps last 3, 6, 8, and/or 12 days, so you'll see new ones in those intervals, depending on which camp you are assigned to. As for counsellors, most of them are seasonal, especially the aforementioned university students, so they'll come in May and leave in August or September. I know people who were counsellors for several years - doing both summers and off seasons. They got laid off and re-hired every year, as Space Camp tends to do, but they still enjoyed it.

Challenges? It depends on who you are, who you are working with, and who the kids are. You may find learning all the space/aviation stuff a challenge in itself. You may find some kids difficult to deal with. You may find the work hours (days + evenings + some nights) may challenge your endurance and mental state (hey, it happens). You may find getting along with some coworkers a challenge. And the food... that's a whole other challenge in itself. Some weeks will be more challengng than others, that's for sure, but it is also fun and rewarding.

Participating in local outside activities will depend on your work schedule, what level counsellor you are hired as, and whether you live on or off site. I don't know the specifics, so a former or current counsellor will have to answer that in more detail.

Again, I am not too sure about the scheduling stuff. I know many counsellors who ate elsewhere off shift. Huntsville is pretty easy to get around (if you have a car) so you will have lots of options, including going to the supermarket and buying fruits and veggies, etc. (Although, access to a fridge and/or cooking facilities may be another challenge.) I also know some counsellors bought food from the public cafeteria instead of the mess hall, as they had a better variety there.

Clothes - counsellor rooms are small. I have no idea how many clothes people bring. You'll need several pairs of uniform style trousers, so I'm guessing you could wear those elsewhere. You'll have room for extra t-shirts and stuff too, I just don't know how much. I'd err on the side of caution and bring less than more. (In general, people think they need more clothes than they ever do.)

Training will teach you everything you need to know about the programmes, how to deal with kids, etc. You have teach-back sessions where you have to teach a lesson to your fellow counsellors. You have exams you need to pass. You get a study binder, etc. From what I hear, it is pretty intense but also very thorough. It can also be a lot of fun.

I hope that will give you a general feel on what you are getting in to. As I said, I have never been a Space Camp counsellor, so I hope someone who was/is will chime in and give you more details. Have fun!
- Jennifer -
Youth ASA 6-Day 1998 1999
Adult ASA 8-Day 2004; Alumni 2007, CSC 2013, 2015, 2017
SyRilla
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Postby SyRilla » Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:41 pm

Thank you, that is a good start.
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Postby dcsv410 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:24 pm

Hello SyRilla,

I will be joining you as a first time counsellor this year (I guess it starts in a week). I am a local, so I can at least inform you of the extracurriculars that Huntsville has to offer (if we have the time to get out for a bit), but I look forward to meeting you and all the other counsellors.

Good luck and I will see you in a week...

Dave
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Postby SyRilla » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:59 pm

I look forward to meeting you and the others also. Being local, has some perks. :D
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Postby digger931 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:18 pm

Hello everyone. I am currently a couselor and will be working as one of the Mentors for the incoming Jan. training group. I don't live on-site so I don't have much info on that. As far as the training goes my experience was outstanding. It is intense with a lot if info in a short amount of time but the goal is for you to succeed and everyone works to that end. You will find the current staff friendly and excited about your arrival. For me the work has been challanging, fun and very rewarding. Look forward to meeting new people who will become some of your greatest friends in a few weeks time. I look forward to training, be sure to say hello. See, you already know one person at camp!
Michael "Digger" Hall
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Postby SyRilla » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:58 am

Excellent, 2 people... Dave and Michael. See you both in a few days.
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Postby Boomerang » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:43 pm

I worked as an Ac counselor in summer of 07. All ni can say is expect the unexpected, be flexible, and be ready for anything because you will get it. That being said expect a great eperience that will at times push your limits, physically and mentallyand some times even emotionally. I will say this the job isnt for everyone but if you get there and decided it is for you it is an experience you will never forget and you will make friends for life.

As far as specific questions you asked:
1. Oh, what type of things will I be learning at the training?
You will be learning anything you need to beable to teach to your trainees. You will also be learning camp and museum procedures for emergencies, camp policies etc. It is alot to learn you will get a training mannual read it. Study it and even be prepared to go beyond it. Remember this you can be tested on anything in the mannual or in training and you will be tsted on alot of it. Take notes and ask questions if you need to. As i recall you have to pass every test with an 85% or higher to pass training. Don;t let tht scare you just make sure to study. There will be other new counselors there get to be friends early and study with them. There will likely be chances to go out and relax on weekend after training weeks but if their is a test coming up make sure you kow your stuff for it. I believe you get 3 chances to take it and pass.

2. What age group are most counselors?
As someone said above counselor ages range quite a bit but most are college age or slightly older. I was actually on the older side comparred to most in 07 at age 28 but we had older.

3.How long do most people stay? Camp lengths are as someone said above. Counselors vary greatly many are there for a season just a few months. Some stay for years I know several who are still there from 07.

4. What are some of the challenges? The hours can be challenging they ca be very lengthy at times. If you are still around come summer the heat is a big one for alot of people if your not use to it. In 07 our summer temps hit tripple digits frequently. The food as an RA you eat for free seems great for about 2 weeks then you will want something else believe me. Roomates most counselors have them most get along well but you never know till you meet them. And one of the toughest i found alot of counselors had was dealing with homesick kids there is no right way that works for every child and it can be a challenge.

5.Is there time to be involved in local outside activities? Potentially yes. Depending in your schedule. You will find most counselors like most college students like to go out on weekends and have fun. Whether its going to a club or a counselors house off sight there is ussualy something to do. You can request days off once in a while you should to just take a breaher relax and have a little fun. Once you get settled the counselors who have been around a while can fill you in on what;s going on around the area. Some of my best memories in the summer of 07 was hanging out with other counselors on weekends.

6. As I will be living onsite, is there opportunity to leave and eat after work hours? I know there is not much around the center, so is there places to go? As long as you arent on call and arent on duty you can come and go as you wish. You'll just sign in and out with security. There are places to eat and places to go around huntsville. If you drink however dont come back intoxicated or security will not let you back in believe me this will be emphasized in training it does happen. Just make sure you have your id badge with you when you lave so you can get back in.

7.How much non-uniform clothing can I bring? Theoretically the sky is the limit. Realisticly if you have been to camp you remember the locker you had you will have something similar maybe a bit larger, 2 bunk beds and a mirror in your room, If you are in Hab 1 things are a bit nocer and this time of year you likely will be but remember you will likely have a roommate to and the rooms arn;t extremely large. Make sure to take some clothes for off duty hours including something comfortable to lounge in in the ward room at night. I'd say bring a weeks worth atleast more if you can. I was lucky i didnt have a roommate and had a whole room to myself but its still not alot of space. Laundry facilities are provided but sometimes with long hours its tough to find alot of time to do laundry so spare clothes are good. They will give you 2 polo shirts, a sweatshirt, and a flight suit if you are around till summer you will get 3 t-shirts as well, for your uniform issue. Its not alot of unidorm clothers and believe me when off duty you will want to relax and feel like a normal person in normal clothes. You can alway take some when you go down and have more sent later from home its what idid.

Other advice. Make friends with as many people as you can. I know not everyone always becomes friends with everyone but you will be living with these people for atleast a few months it makes life alot nicer. It also helps on weekend to have people to do stuff with. Make sure you follow the rules they will lay down in training they are enforced i saw people lose jobs if the violation was bad enough or repeatedly broken. Take pictures especially in training you will want those memories forever. Relax when youbget the chance. And lastly be careful what you say, post or write this goes for in person and online in this sight of places like facebook or myspace. Everyone is entitled to opinions but believe me when i say the walls have ears and a short rant on a bad da can turn into another bad day if you arent careful. Enjoy the time you spend there it is an amazinf experience you will never forget. Hopefully i havent scared you too badly.
Jason original callsign Loverboy
SC 1991
SA Level 1 1993
AC Intermediate 1996
ASA 1998
Corporate Space Camp 2005
AC Counselor Summer 07 callsign Boomerang
Adult Alumni Camp 2007
Adult Alumni Camp 2008
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Postby shenandoah04 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:13 am

Kimberly:
Ag! I started to post a reply, but it got lengthy! So I'll have to sum up.
Most counselors are in their mid 20s, the youngest I met was 19 and the oldest I met were in their 40s.
Most people tend to be seasonal, but some stay for longer (and some even for years!) I trained in January of last year, stayed til late October, and about 1/2 of our training class was still there when I left (BTW Michael, hi, I didn't know you were on here, and congratulations on being a mentor!)
There is time to hang out off site, but it does depend on your schedule. And to be honest, even when I was offsite, I was mostly hanging out with work friends ^.^ When you are not working, you can pretty much come and go as you want, within reason.
I <3 Mexican food so I highly recommend Casa Blanca off University. I also highly recommend Bridge Street mall (within walking distance if you don't mind a longer walk) it's an awesome outdoor mall. And Monte Sano is a nice place to hike with friends. Otherwise I'll leave some to mystery.
As per clothes, when you aren't working, you'll be in civies. So bring a regular amount, not TONS but not too little either- I'm an exception to Jennifer (SpaceCanada's) rule, I brought too little...fortunately I'm from Atlanta and it wasn't too hard to go back and forth.
Lisα Dixon
---
2000/Week 41/Team Atlas
2001/Week 41/ Team Shepard
2002/Week 39/Team Gagarin
SC/Robotics Counselor 2009 :mrgreen:
SyRilla
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Postby SyRilla » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:04 pm

Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone!

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