Program Staff

Being a counselor at Camp DeSoto is all about building healthy relationships with campers and showing them Christ through unconditional acceptance and nurturing love.

During cabin time, activities, night activities, down time, meals, Special Events, and Out of Camp Trips, Program Staff are there to provide leadership, structure, encouragement, guidance, and friendship. In all that they do, the goal of a Camp DeSoto counselor is to love and serve campers with wisdom, compassion, and a genuine desire for each camper’s healthy growth and development.

Program staff at Camp DeSoto fill three important roles:

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Cabin Counselor

As cabin counselors, Program Staff are responsible for the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being of their campers throughout the month. Most cabin counselors are paired with a co-counselor.

Counselors are responsible for all aspects of cabin life from keeping the rules at Rest Hour to giving nightly cabin devotions. They are also expected to be counselors in the truest sense - helping girls manage their behavior and emotions, providing guidance in relationships, and offering a more mature perspective when it is needed.

The relationships that form between counselors and the girls in their cabin is strong, and living together for a month offers a unique opportunity for friendship, mentorship, and learning from one another.

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Activity Counselor

As an activity counselor, each Program Staff member is expected to effectively manage a group of campers, teach individual campers specific skills, and be attentive to each girl’s safety. This requires responsibility, creativity, energy and a child-like heart!

Counselors teach four 50-minute activity periods each day, with one free period. Because activity counselors teach activities to girls of all ages, campers get the chance to know and learn from several staff members, not just their cabin counselors.

As an activity counselor, Program Staff members are also responsible for leading or assisting with Night Activities, Special Event activities, Out of Camp Trips, and any other part of the camp program that involves being with and overseeing campers.

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Table Counselor

As a table counselor, Program Staff oversee a table of 10 campers, along with one or two other counselors. This involves helping girls practice polite manners, making sure each camper gets enough to eat at every meal, being aware of any dietary concerns your campers may have, and facilitating good conversations among the girls at your table.

Counselors typically sit at a table with campers in a different age group than the girls in their cabin – this provides another opportunity for girls and staff to get to build relationships outside of the cabin and allows staff to connect with campers they might not have met in their activities.

Being a camper at DeSoto is one of the most phenomenal growing up gifts because it provides a safe and nourishing space for trying on different gifts, skills, attitudes, relationships, selves and so on. Being on staff offers that same safe and nourishing space to “try on” adulthood: responsibilities, opportunities, difficulties, fun. All the while catching a break from the world’s harshness. My time as a staff member has stretched, grown and built me. I could never put my gratitude into words. I love Camp DeSoto!

– Aggie, staff member for 3 summers

Program Leadership

We also have a team of about 8 Program Staff members who are part of the leadership team. These are activity heads who do not live in a cabin with campers because their primary responsibility is to oversee a particular activity area or manage a specific piece of the camp program. In addition to their daily responsibilities in their individual jobs, these staff are the magic behind so much of what happens at Camp - they set-up and break-down every night activity and special event, provide leadership on trips, lead small groups of other Program Staff, pray regularly for the whole camp community, and commit to providing leadership through humble service.

Leadership team members are usually college juniors or older. A position on the leadership team is typically offered by the directors to program staff applicants who demonstrate strong leadership competencies, a self-assurance grounded in humility, a deep understanding of camp’s mission, and a desire to serve the DeSoto community through hard work.

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