A new counsellor-in-training program for preteens

The Dollard Centre for the Arts will teach kids the skills they need to transition from being a camper to a camp leader



The lazy days of summer can be a bit too lazy for preteens who are too old for many summer camps, yet too young to keep busy with a summer job. But a new camp counsellor-in-training (CIT) pilot project this year aims to offer 13- and 14-year-old kids a bridge between children’s play and grown-up responsibilities.

The new program at the Dollard Arts Centre is a stepping-stone to help children transition from being a camper to becoming a camp leader. The program involves older children as instructor assistants in fine arts activities for younger campers, so they learn not only the art techniques but also teaching and leadership skills.

Coordinator Debbie McInnis said the goal of the camp is to teach preteens life and leadership skills, along with age-appropriate fun. “They will do all the activities the standard campers do, but on top of that will get certifications in babysitting, CPR, participate in team-building activities and learn life skills,” McInnis said.

The fine arts camp program for children aged 5-12 includes both visual and performing arts, with instruction in drawing and painting, kiln-fired sculpture, darkroom photography, animation, theatre and music. The program also includes some sports as well as swimming lessons in the adjacent pool.

In addition to the activities in the regular camp program, the preteen CIT campers will learn how to write a CV, role-play their way through a mock job interview, discover the art of cooking, and even learn how to iron a shirt and sew a button.

McInnis said the arts centre also runs a summer jobs program for students over the age of 15, who become junior staff members for six weeks during the school break.

The CIT program will allow 12-year-olds who have completed their first year of high school to enrol. Four sessions will be offered during the summer, from June 25 to July 6, July 9-20, July 23 to Aug. 3, and Aug. 6-17, with each session offering different projects and activities.

The cost is $270 for two weeks, which includes all activities as well as first aid and babysitting certification.

For more information, call 514-684-1012 ext. 213 or visit centreartdollard.com.  

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