Position: G-3 counselor
Years at camp: Seven
Favorite camp activity: Song Session
Favorite camp song: Ken Y’hi Ratzon
Favorite camp meal: Lasagna
For long-time Tawongan Sophia Kauffman, working as a counselor has been one of her dreams for as long as she can remember. Now, 11 years after her first year as a camper, she is finally getting to do just that.
“I came to camp expecting to work hard. I love camp so much — it really doesn’t feel like work when I’m doing what I love. What I had not anticipated was how wonderful the work environment would be. I feel so supported by my supervisors and colleagues,” Sophia shared.
As a first-year staff member, Sophia believes she is getting an invaluable experience honing skills such as patience, flexibility, and teamwork.
“I think one of the most valuable things I’ve learned since I started working is learning how to pick my battles. Whether it was here at camp or at school, I used to feel the need to be doing everything at once,” Sophia shared. “Since I’ve started working, I’ve come to realize that in order to see the bigger picture, it’s important to step back — camp has taught me to put things in perspective.”
Sophia believes being a counselor is one of the most rewarding things she has done.
“I was able to give my camper love when she was going through a hard time her first few days. Soon into the session, it was so rewarding to see her start to feel better, integrate into the group, and bond with new friends. I feel like I made a big difference,” Sophia said.
Sophia knows that the experiences and values she is building at camp will be applicable in all areas in her life, from school to other professional work environments. One in particular is the Canon of Ethics — consisting of the six guidelines every staff member strives to live up to.
“On a personal level, camp has taught me to embody the Canon of Ethics. I know I will carry them with me for the rest of my life. It’s really important to me that I continue to treat people with respect and to support my friends and colleagues,” Sophia said. “I can always ask for help and I’m always set up for success to feel really well prepared. Here at Tawonga, I know that I can talk to my colleagues and feel totally supported.”
Our Staff Spotlight is a weekly series on The Pipeline blog featuring staff members from a broad range of departments here at Camp Tawonga. Tune in every week to learn more.
Below enjoy photos from the rest of the evening.