The CIT program has undergone some big changes over the years, but it remains a highly respected leadership training program. As I don't have any first-hand experience with the CIT program, I asked some former CITs to say a bit about the program. This will be long, but if you're here, I'm assuming you're interested enough to at least browse through it!
This is from Speckles, CIT in 2001-02, and CIT Director in 2006:
The CIT program is an eight week course, spread out over 2 summers. The first summer, the girls come for 4 weeks and begin to learn the basics of being a counselor. Mostly, the girls learnt his through lectures and taking notes, but a good CIT director will incorporate hands-on activities, too. The girls participate in all of the usual camp activities: swimming, archery, the lake, horseback riding, arts and crafts, nature, and sports; but they often learn how to teach these things as well. They will do a few short observations during these first four weeks, during which they evaluate what the staff members in the unit did well, and what they might do differently. CIT 1 is all about adjusting to having a little more responsibility than a normal camper would.
The following summer, those same girls come back for the first 4 weeks of the summer to complete the program, also known as CIT 2. The second year is all about getting actual experience as counselors. The girls do extensive, often all day live ins, in which they take on some responsibility as staff members. They will serve a 3-day long internship at another camp. During these live ins, they receive evaluations from the unit staff. These evaluations go into their file. Often, they receive CPR and First Aid Training. The CIT 2s take a test at the end of their 4 weeks that is often much more extensive than the one they took in CIT 1, which includes a practical portion. The CIT 2 year is often bittersweet, as the girls can't go back to those "carefree" camper days. CIT 2 marks the end of an era of their lives, but for those who go on to be staff, also marks the beginning of a newer, possibly even better era.
WHAT IT'S LIKE
For the CIT: We get a lot of flak for just "sitting around" all day. First of all, we're 15, sitting around is nice. But we're aren't "just sitting." We're getting lectures, we're learning the ins and outs of counselor-hood. We're letting the responsibility sink in: we're the future of the camp. If we don't learn this stuff, not many people will know what to do while they take care of these kids all summer. In addition, we've assumed an entirely new role. We're not staff yet, but we aren't exactly campers anymore, either. Somewhere in between lies the CIT -- ones who younger campers look to for enthusiasm and support. We're learning that no matter how we feel physically, we have to be on our best behavior. We're learning that kids can read our moods in an instant. We're learning to be aware of our actions and language because the campers are always looking up to us. Most of all, we're exploring ourselves: how we respond to pressure, how we respond to others, and how we take the lead. And we're making friends. That bond between CITs, especially those in our group, is indescribable to anyone who hasn't experienced it. It's why we call each other "sisters."
For the CIT Director: Being CIT Director this past summer gave me a unique experience. I watched these girls grow, just as I did 5 (is it really that long?!) years ago. I taught them the practicalities of how to be a counselor, this is true. But I also think that I taught them about relationships. Those with their ULs, their campers, the Ad. Staff, as well as those with people outside of camp. It's interesting watching them experience the program I so loved, to learn things as I did, and to watch those little "light bulbs" go on when something clicks. What I enjoyed most about it was watching them make friendships that will never fade. Our CIT sisters are friends for our whole lives. And knowing that another generation is forging that bond makes me feel like I'm doing something right.
This is from Magoo, CIT in 2003-04:
- C.I.T. Program is a camp program intended to teach campers how to be successful counselors and staff. The main areas covered are : camp procedure and policy, how to relate to campers of all ages, how to relate to fellow staff members, gain an understanding of each job on camp, learn how to manage conflict and emergencies, increase the knowledge of songs and games, and basically prepare to be staff at any camp - with a focus on Cedarledge and other council owned and operated camps.
- Being a C.I.T. is an incredible experience! You get to meet tons of girls all over the camp and hopefully change their lives by being a role model and friend. You also get to know all of the staff as you work in their units, giving you role models and someone to depend on in the future. Learning more about the camp you love is an amazing journey - and often you know a few of the girls you experience it with...if not, all C.I.T. groups bond VERY quickly, you will very soon have your best friends for life. Being a C.I.T. is also an honor. You must always realize that you are an example to the girls and that many staff depend on your assistance. It is also an honor to work with the women who are staff and can teach you many things to help you become staff.
- C.I.T. Requirements:
- C.I.T. Notebook
- Pass skills tests (fire building, tent pitching, knot tying, cooking, etc.)
- Pass live - ins (multiple short periods, full day, and multiple days)
- Pass internship
- Pass written test
C.I.T. is less manual - labor based than (A.)W.I.T., however it requires a LOT of each C.I.T. Each C.I.T. should be prepared to be upbeat, happy, encouraging, cheerful, and inspiring each day - because the campers, C.I.T. staff, and camp staff are always watching. Often C.I.T.s are asked to help with all - camp activities, assist with bedtimes for younger, homesick units, fill in when staff is short, head when asked, host campfires, and help with homesick or upset campers. It takes a lot of spirit and love of camp to be a great C.I.T. - but with your sisters around you, it's the greatest thing you can do!
For lots of good info on the CIT program, visit Speckles' CIT Page!
If you have questions or comments to add, please e-mail Indigo!
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