Village Leader at Camp Augusta

The Heart of the Village

The core of this role is being the heart of your village. Camp Augusta is split into 4 villages (Oak, Cedar, Pine, and Manzi) that each have 5 cabins of campers and 8-9 counselors. As the village leader, it is up to you to build the village community and create a space where all 8 counselors and 25 campers feel seen, heard, loved, and pushed to grow.

To your counselors, you are a mentor, role model, and guide. You are helping them build cohesive and happy cabins of campers, while also helping them grow as human beings. You will have a week during staff training devoted to your village – creating a cohesive group that is there to support each other through all the things a camp day can throw at us. In the way the campers look up to and adore their counselors, your counselors will look up to you.

A clipboard is a wonderful companion for her logistical and emotional support of counselors in the village. 🙂

To the campers in your village, you are many things – a cackling witch in their morning wakeup, the person who plays guitar and sings songs for the whole village during shower time, or a loving adult to turn to in a moment of crisis.

Though much of what you do each day is felt rather than seen, it is the small moments that make this job so worthwhile. Whether it’s laughing until you cry on the floor of a cabin with a group of 9 years olds, holding space for a teen to share about their eating disorder for the first time, watching your counselors tackle problems that would have terrified them at the beginning of the summer, or being the first person your counselor goes to to share exciting news about their life; these moments of connection, vulnerability, and grace are what make you the heart of the village.

Nuts & Bolts of Village Leading

So, what do you actually do all day as a village leader? The answer is: tons!

  • Counselor Check-ins: Every day, you’ll check in on each counselor in your village. How are they doing? What do they need help with? How are their campers? What are their plans for cabin time?
  • Making Sure Campers’ Physical & Emotional Needs are Being Met: You have consistent awareness of all the campers in your village, ensuring they have what they need. This can look like reminding counselors to remind their campers to put on bug spray, supporting conversations with homesick campers, and sitting with cabins at meals to observe cabin dynamics and make sure campers are eating full meals.
  • Behavioral Support & Guidance: As a VL, you support the behavior management of campers on multiple levels. You are supporting your staff in building their skills with behavior management and scaffolding them to manage their cabins successfully on their own. When issues arise that are beyond your counselor’s capacity (or more support is helpful) you provide direct support – in the form of conversations, creating strategies, or writing behavior contracts.
  • Communicating with Parents: The village leader is the main line of connection between parents and camp once the children arrive. As a VL, you work with parents to ensure campers have the best experience possible – whether that looks like coming up with eating solutions for campers with sensory issues or asking for advice on how to support a camper who struggles to fall asleep at night. You are also responsible for ensuring parents feel safe leaving their kids at camp, which involves communication before, during, and after sessions.
  • Supporting Cabin Programming: Counselors at Augusta run their own programming three times a day through special wakeups, cabin acts, and evening embers. You’re helping to make sure these programs run smoothly, and that the campers and counselors have what they need for them. This can look like: gathering materials, helping counselors come up with ideas, entering the activities into a spreadsheet, or joining a cabin to do the activity alongside them.
  • Running Village Programming: In two-week sessions, you’ll run activities for the whole village on the weekend, such as village breakfast, village embers, and a village act (these can take almost any form, from a zombie apocalypse descending on Cedar to a rainbow festival of crafts and games!)
  • Mentorship & Scaffolding: Each day, you’re helping your counselors grow in their counseling skills and also move towards their goals and dreams. This could look like small reminders about behavior management tools, joining them for skill development in a certain area (like doing with them and debriefing), or longer heart-to-hearts.
  • Administrative Work: Though much of this role focuses on the heart connection, you will also spend several hours a day on your computer and in meetings. You will be coordinating programs, editing parent letters, and sending emails.
  • Teaching Clinics: A remarkable thing about this role is that you still learn lots of new activity skills and generally teach one clinic daily!
  • Playing! As a role model for your village you are also out there playing! That can look like letting campers draw custom temporary tattoos on you at rest hour, running around as a character in Capture the Flag, or leading a PlayStation where you pretend to be old for an hour.

Here’s the Daily Schedule that all of the above fits in to:

As a rough estimate, your days will generally consist of:

  • 3 hours of engaged activity time (special wakeup, cabin activity, one clinic, evening program)
  • 3 hours of administrative work (logistics, planning, parent calls, setup, parent letters)
  • 6 hours of camper/counselor village support and engagement (counselor check-ins, being an embers guest, bathhouse flow support, camper check-ins and support, rest hour,
  • 2.5 hours of meal times with cabins

Would I enjoy being a Village Leader at Camp Augusta?

Likely, you would find joy in this job if:

  • You love working with children. You believe that childhood is a unique and powerful time, and being surrounded by children & teens all day brings you joy.
  • More than that, you love people. You build connections with others quickly and find it easy to like most people. You’re okay with minimal alone time and find living in a community a source of joy.
  • Supporting the growth of others and watching them succeed gets you excited. You love understanding people and being a part of their journey. You are comfortable offering feedback and challenging folks to grow.
  • You have high emotional intelligence and you find it easy to understand what is happening for individuals and groups. You have a deep emotional toolkit for navigating conflict and supporting individual growth.
  • Building a trusting and well-connected community sounds exciting to you.
  • You’re comfortable with computer work and believe that keeping things organized and running from behind the scenes is just as important as talking in front of a group.
  • You’re excited to learn. You know that you know lots and are also humble in what you don’t know yet. You see learning new skills as an opportunity, and you’re okay with getting things wrong sometimes.
  • You’re excited about going above and beyond to create magic at camp. Setting up a surprise night canoe for a cabin or jumping in at the last-minute to play an ape for a story experience would add some fun magic to your day.
  • You love to play! Whether you tend towards card games, tag, or riddles, you love to connect with others through silliness and play. If your campers asked, you’d agree to jump in the lake in your clothes, and you’d have fun doing it : )

Beyond the Perks and Benefits, why be a Village Leader at Augusta?

  • Emotional Intelligence Mentorship Bootcamp: If you’re excited about mentorship & leading in a social-emotionally intelligent way, this role will fully immerse you in that personal growth! You will leave with deep connections and more unique experiences than you can remember. Not to mention a significant impact on one’s personal life (deeper relationships, personal groundedness, emotional resilience…).
  • Your Flavor of Community: Each year, the villages have a slightly different flavor, and that is what you bring! What will your style be? Creating magic with surprise dinosaur birthday parties after lights out? Leaving your counselors warm & fuzzy notes in their cubbies to share things you noticed them doing well that week? Creating space for silliness and experimentation through talent shows that showcase no talent? You decide!
  • Meaningful work: You will be part of shaping the lives of hundreds of campers, while also shaping the lives of your counselors. You’ll be teaching social/emotional intelligence skills they can carry throughout their lives.
  • Fun! Working at camp offers you the chance to do this meaningful work in the beautiful woods of Northern California while also being playful and silly throughout your days. How often do you get to show up for work in the morning in full costume?

How does this all translate into the “real world”?

VLs have gone on to apply their experiences in VLdom to various professional paths, often including master’s studies, counseling, social work, team management, and camp leadership and administration. It is a position rich with diverse learning opportunities and inspiration for future work.