At Bauercrest, campers entering the 10th grade participate in the Waiter program, and campers entering the 11th grade participate in the Counselor Intern (CI) program. While both groups are still regarded as full campers and participate in camper activities, members of each group are afforded special responsibilities and privileges as they assume a leadership role on the Hillside.
The Waiter Program
Waiters arrive at camp the day before the rest of the camper population in order to learn about their new role at camp. Waiters are shown around the Mess Hall and kitchen. They are instructed how to set up, serve, and clean up, as well as learn policies and expectations for the upcoming summer.
During the summer, Waiters typically report to the Mess Hall 30 minutes before each meal in order to set up for the rest of the camp. Waiters are divided into cleaning teams, and each team typically cleans the Mess Hall after one meal each day.
While taking on these responsibilities, Waiters are regarded as full campers and participate in all camper and group activities. Waiters are expected to clean their bunk regularly, although they are excluded from formal bunk inspection because of the extent of their Mess Hall duties. Further, the Waiters are extended privileges beyond those given to the other campers, which are best described as “supervised extensions of independence.” Examples of such privileges are: special Waiter-only trips, later bed curfew, and latitude in elective selection.
Waiters are prepared for future leadership roles at Bauercrest in three meaningful ways:
- Community Service and Responsibility: Waiters’ responsibilities in the Mess Hall are taken quite seriously, as the services they provide directly contribute to Bauercrest’s well-being. As such, the Waiter year is the first milestone at which campers begin to serve the Bauercrest community in which they are coming of age. In addition to fellow campers and staff, Waiters serve guests from inside and outside Bauercrest—including Alumni, Board members, camps participating in inter-camp competitions, and other distinguished visitors. Accepting these responsibilities and performing the associated tasks are a factor in considering future leadership roles at camp.
- Teamwork: Waiting tables is not easy work and requires collaboration with fellow Waiters and their counselor staff. Waiters are expected to work with one another supportively to ensure success in their roles. Most tangibly, situations (i.e. injury, illness, or camp activities) will arise where a one Waiter will ask another to cover for him, and the group is encouraged to resolve such scheduling challenges on their own before asking staff to intervene. On a broader scale, a Waiter’s continued effort on a meal-to-meal basis contributes to the group’s success. The best Waiters are not necessarily the ones that provide the fastest delivery but rather those who work thoughtfully and supportively. This teamwork extends outside of the mess hall when the group decides on trips, rotations for bunk clean-up, and other activities.
- Maturity: Considering the added level of responsibility, Waiters emerge as more visible role models to the rest of the camp. Waiters come to know more campers and counselors through their table rotations, and younger campers begin to look up to Waiters when they see them performing a service to the camp. In effect, the earliest stages of informal camper-counselor mentorship begins in the mess hall, and once each week, Waiters participate in “Big Brother, Little Brother” and spend time in small groups playing games with and getting to know young campers. Additionally, Waiters are assessed for how well they handle and value their extended privileges.
Meeting or exceeding expectations in these areas provides a basis and set of criteria to gage how one will perform as a CI, Counselor in Training, and eventually a full Counselor.
The CI Program
The CI Program marks the final camper year at Bauercrest. This program builds on the goals and core values of Bauercrest, stated as follows:
The building blocks of the Bauercrest experience come from our philosophy of building Jewish Identity and self-esteem through promoting and teaching the values of Sportsmanship, Teamwork, Achievement, and Responsibility – our STAR principles.
It is our mission to ensure that every Bauercrest camper:
- Has a healthy and enjoyable summer;
- Returns to his community more responsible and compassionate;
- Attains new skills and makes new friends;
- Leaves camp an emotionally and physically stronger person; and
- Establishes a stronger connection with Jewish culture, religion, or nationality.
While the CIs are still campers, and families are paying tuition for their attendance at camp, Bauercrest makes a considerable investment in building the leadership and service-oriented potential in these young men—both for the current summer and for seasons to come.
Among the major program contents are:
- Focused Leadership and Bunk Management Training: Like the Waiters, CIs arrive at camp for two days of pre-camp. Starting then extending throughout the summer, CIs receive formal leadership training. This training has been produced in conjunction with professional educators and public service leaders in in the camping industry. Camp administration and these representatives will co-lead some of these sessions along with the CI staff. The CIs also participate in parts of pre-camp training with Bauercrest’s staff.
- Younger Age Group Interaction: CIs devote a portion of their week to interacting with the various age groups—finding a niche and comfort level for working with the campers. Activities will include: refereeing League, occasional rest period and supervised evening coverage, participation in evening activities and elective periods with younger campers, and moving into a bunk for a short period to shadow veteran counselor staff and experience bunk life from the counselor perspective.
- Camp Service: Within Bauercrest, the CIs are expected to take an active role in maintaining the cleanliness and appearance of our campus. Regular responsibilities include trash pickup (during morning cleanup), setup and cleanup for some camp activities, and lighter landscape and maintenance work. The CIs also select a group project as a permanent contribution to camp.
- Community Service: Bauercrest also aims to serve the local and greater communities. Working with the Amesbury town offices, public health, public safety, and area businesses, we have co-developed projects for CIs to serve others. Such projects have included: shelter support, equipment/clothing donations, day camp outreach, and event hosting. In previous summers, CIs have also spent one day volunteering for the Pan-Mass Challenge, a bike ride that benefits the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.