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Eagle River, Wisconsin

From Camper to Counselor – The Steps Between

Hi CN Family!

Let’s talk leadership today.

Our senior camper program has gone through many different variations over the years and you’ve probably heard the terms advanced camper (AC), counselor-in-training (CIT), and leader-in-training (LIT) thrown around a lot. As with everything at camp, we are constantly re-evaluating how things are done and making changes that we feel are necessary in order to offer our girls the best camp experience possible. The leadership program is one that has been through several transitions and we’re super excited to bring you the fully revised program this summer!

The main goal of this program is to help in the development of a number of leadership qualities in our oldest participants, including self-awareness, group dynamics, conflict resolution and goal setting, among others. This program is also a stepping off point for campers who might someday want to become counselors here at Nicolet. Each level of camper will participate in skill development sessions, take on increased responsibilities, and partake in certain privileges at camp that are special to that age group. At the beginning of their time in the program, the campers receive a “Leadership Passport” that outlines their program goals and expectations and is stored at camp during the off-season for use the following summer. Upon completion of the CIT II program, campers are officially awarded their staff shirt. This is a HUGE moment in a camper’s life! 🙂

Here is a brief outline of each step of this multi-year progressive program…

Advanced Campers (AC) – Age 15

  • Skill Development Topics
    • Self-Awareness – Abilities, Strengths & Weaknesses and Being a Positive Role Model
    • Child & Youth Development – Age Group Characteristics
    • Communication – Verbal Communication and Listening Skills
    • Interpersonal Skills – Understanding Viewpoints, Negotiation and Collaboration
  • Responsibilities
    • Behave as a positive role model for younger campers
    • Cabin sit during staff meetings and staff nights
    • Assist with cleaning tables in the dining hall
    • Lead songs following lunch
  • Privileges
    • Act as July 4th team captains
    • Participate in AC Whitewater Rafting trip (optional)
  • Living Arrangements
    • Live in a cabin with other ACs and two counselors

Counselor-in-Training I (CIT I)

  • Skill Development Topics
    • Teaching & Instruction – Tips for Teaching
    • Group Dynamics – Personality Characteristics and Leadership Styles
    • Values – Personal & Camp Values and Mission Statements
    • Motivation – Inspiring Change
  • Responsibilities
    • Behave as a positive role model for younger campers
    • Teach one hour per day in the activity of your choice
    • Assist younger cabins on cookouts
    • Act as MC for talent shows
    • Participate on one staff committee of your choice
  • Privileges
    • Act as all-camp activity captains
    • Opportunity to be a Marathon Day relay anchor
    • Six hours off per week, supervised
    • Use of staff room after evening program until 11:00pm
    • Participate in CIT Leadership Manitowish Ropes Course
  • Living Arrangements
    • Live in a cabin with other CITs and one counselor

Counselor-in-Training II (CIT II)

  • Skill Development Topics
    • Goal Setting – Setting & Measuring Goals
    • Program Planning – Creating a Group Service Project
    • Servant Leadership – Leading by Empowering Others
    • Evaluation – Activity & Personal Evaluations
  • Responsibilities
    • Behave as a positive role model for younger campers
    • Teach two hours per day in the activities of your choice
    • Assist younger cabins as needed during cabin times (morning, rest hour, bedtime routine, etc.)
    • Sleep overnight with a counselor in assigned cabin during the other counselor’s night off
    • Participate in evening patrol with a staff member
    • Participate on the staff committee of your choice
    • Participate in one Challenge or Growth Series Northpoint trip during your camp career
    • Participate in one community service project of your design
  • Privileges
    • Act as all-camp activity captains
    • 14 hours off per week, supervised
    • Use of staff room after evening program until 11:00pm
    • Participate in off-site tours of other camp leadership programs
    • Participate in CIT II team-building event
    • Option to act as Northpoint Intern on a trip, as determined by the Northpoint Coordinator and the camper
  • Living Arrangement
    • Live in a cabin with other CITs and one counselor

So, that’s the meat of the program. Who is going to be in charge of the facilitation, you ask? That would be MaryKathyrine Tran!


“Hi! My name is Mer and I am incredibly excited to be the Leadership Program Director at Camp Nicolet. I’ve had the pleasure of working at Camp Nicolet for two summers back in 2012 and 2013 and I’m so thrilled to be back!

During my two summers away from camp, I spent time studying abroad and graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh with a double major in English and Women & Gender Studies, a minor in Music (emphasis in trumpet), and a LGBTQ Studies Certificate. After graduation, I had the amazing opportunity to serve in AmeriCorps (commonly known as the “domestic Peace Corps”) at Hardy Girls Healthy Women in Waterville, Maine.

My work with Hardy Girls as well as my collegiate fields of study helped me really truly understand how to work with girls and serve as a guide and resource that will help them learn how to celebrate their accomplishments, tackle personal challenges, and continuously look for new ways to grow.

The Leadership Program this summer will focus on pushing comfort zones and taking safe risks. Each camper will be given the space to live to her full potential as she gains more responsibility (and privileges!) at camp. We will spend the summer digging into the multifaceted aspects of leadership and showing all the ways how Nicolet Ladies have the ability to change the world! Each camper is unique and has a voice that needs to be heard. I’m honored to be a part of that process and to spend the summer helping our senior campers find their way through developing that voice and becoming strong leaders that will make an impact on their schools, communities, and beyond.”

Mer will be living in a cabin with the CITs, but will be responsible for the programmatic content of all three levels. She has been working hard to design all kinds of fun stuff that will help to convey the message of the lessons contained in the leadership program and I couldn’t be more excited for all of you who will be participating! This is going to be an AWESOME summer!

As always, if anyone has any questions, please let me know.

Happy Camping,





“Camp Nicolet has been a family tradition since 1950. It is always special reminiscing – and looking forward to summer experiences for our grandchild.” – Camp Nicolet Alumna

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