By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN As a camp counselor, 2008 Delano High School graduate Becky Schluter’s goal is to give campers the best week possible.
In doing so, she’s also been rewarded.
“I have been having one of the best summers of my life,” noted Schluter, who has been working at various camps since June 19.
Schluter, the daughter of Jodie and Mike Schluter of Delano, first heard about North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) summer camp through a friend at college.
“I decided to be on staff because I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn about an organization that I knew very little about at the time, and so I could see if working with youth is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Schluter noted.
In the fall, Schluter plans to attend graduate school at North Dakota State University, to obtain her master’s degree in guidance counseling.
“My aspiration in life is to be a guidance counselor, and work with youth,” she noted.
For Schluter, being part of the NDFU staff has been a thrilling experience.
When asked about her favorite part, thus far, she responded, “seeing the impact I have on the youth who attend the camp, and how I am contributing to a summer that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
NDFU summer camp is a program devoted to encouraging development of leadership, skills, and new friendships.
Throughout the summer, there are 10 junior camps (for students entering third through sixth grade) and six senior camps (for grades seven through 12).
“The staff (there are 19 of us) will move throughout the state to travel from camp to camp as they occur,” Schluter noted.
As a counselor, it is Schluter’s job to supervise the children at all times, and to facilitate the lessons.
This year, the junior camp theme is “growing in good taste,” which involves learning where food comes from, and which foods offer the most nutrition.
Senior campers are learning to “expect the unexpected” when it comes to natural disasters.
Besides the lessons, counselors also play games with the campers and spend time doing fun activities with them.
In order to make sure the camp runs smoothly, staff members participated in a two-week training session May 31 through June 10.
During that time, Schluter and the other counselors planned camp projects, theme nights, and games. They also listened to speakers to better understand the information they’re teaching the youth.
As part of the training, counselors also “became campers,” and tested the activities and presentations, ensuring that everything ran smoothly.
For Schluter, being a camp counselor has been rewarding, but also hectic.
“The biggest challenge is when we have back-to-back camps, and there is no time to catch up on sleep,” she noted.
So far, NDFU summer camp has been an exciting way for Schluter to spend time working with youth, and prepare for her future career. Ideally, Schluter said she would love to someday become a guidance counselor at a small school close to home.
To learn more about NDFU summer camp, follow the link on the Delano Herald Journal homepage, www.delanoheraldjournal.com.