A call to action at a Yud Alef Nissan farbrengen led two cousins to create a comprehensive guide to empower the counselors of today to give and grow with their campers.
On Yud Alef Nissan of this year, Mrs. Fruma Schapiro held a Farbrengen for young women and girls in Los Angeles. She challenged every single person in the room to open a new moisad in honor of the Rebbe’s birthday.
Mushka Rivkin and Gnesha Schapiro, cousins and close friends, were participants at the Farbrengen that night and decided to take action.
Both young women have always been passionate about overnight camp, having attended camp as campers, counselors, and head staff. They chose to focus on the staff at overnight camps, as it is these capable young women that are entrusted with the Chinuch and care of our children every summer. After speaking to counselors from previous years, and from their own experiences, they found that a lot of girls become counselors because…because that’s what their friends are doing, or that’s what their older sisters did. However, being a counselor is not a default role. For many of these girls, as young as tenth or eleventh graders, this may be their first experience in the role of mashpia.
They set out to create a comprehensive guide to empower the counselors of today to give and grow with their campers. They researched both the Rebbe’s views on camp and counselors, and spoke to many camp directors, parents and former staff members, gaining insight and tips to shape a growth oriented mindset.
Counselored, is the guide that every counselor needs to maximize their summer and give it their all. It’s not a communications skills course and it doesn’t tackle mental health or suicide prevention. Although those topics are incredibly vital, perhaps the most vital, most camps are already offering those sorts of training. Counselored is approaching a different angle.
The program consists of a three-part course, split into the topics of Shlichus, Being a Dugma Chaya, and the Definition of Ahavas Yisroel. The workbook is designed to be completed in a weekly learning session that shouldn’t take more than an hour. It’s chock full of impactful sources, as well as lots of practical tips, space to set goals and refocus, stories, and examples.
The most important part of the COUNSELORED workbook is that it’s designed to be completed as a set of co counselors. Three-quarters of a counselor’s success is when she and her co counselor come to camp on the same page. If they take one hour to think about camp together, any time before the first day, then they are already ten steps ahead.
Included in the booklet is a bonus content section with tips and tricks, curated from past counselors and headstaff. With survey responses to questions like “What I wish someone told me before I was a counselor”, and “Something that I implemented that I would recommend to aspiring counselors”, the project is designed to help girls feel set up for success.
- Q: How can I get a booklet?
A: If you are in a mainstream Lubavitch school in the US or Canada, you either just received or will receive a presentation about the project, and the booklets, over the next couple of days. In addition, many of the girls’ camp directors either have already, or will soon be sending out an email, encouraging this initiative and linking the project as a PDF.
- Q: I’m being a counselor in day camp, can I still do it?
A: Most definitely. Although it is geared towards overnight camp, the basic concepts and the Rebbe’s words apply to every form of Hashpaah. Feel free to access the online PDF and benefit from it.
- Q: Is it mandatory?
A: No. This is a completely self-motivated project, with no incentive or reward. It is for the average girl, who wants to maximize her summer opportunity, and put in her own time preparing for that.
This project was sponsored לעלוי נשמת חנה יהודית בת ר׳ יעקב, וסימא בת מרדכי הכהן
Layout and Design: Yehudis Munitz