Towering Pines Blog

CITs Learning to Lead!!

Let the countdown begin to the sunny adventurous days of summer that await the campers of Towering Pines!  Each year  I’m in awe at the changes in these boys — not only physically, but also the development in their social and emotional maturity.  It’s evident in all of them, but especially in those fellas who are embarking upon their new role as CITs (Counselors in Training).

As a camp mom I have a unique opportunity to observe and interact with these young men.  They have the support of not only their counselors, but also our entire leadership team and staff.  This gives them a foundation upon which to rely while also providing them opportunities to experience both failure and success within a safety net of caring near peers and adults.  The experiences and situations that are presented are intentional; however, they are also spontaneous.   This leaves room for trial and error and the opportunity to truly learn both creativity and flexibility — and let’s not forget TO HAVE FUN while doing it!! 

For some campers they are transitioning to Apache for their first year as a CIT. For others it’s a shift into their second year as a CIT, and they might live in other cabins with younger campers.  There is so much growth and learning that happens with these transitions.  The CIT Program offers leadership training through education, experience, and exploration. Here is just a brief overview of what this program has to offer the young men who are fortunate enough to be a part of such a tremendous experience.

Counselor ITraining/CIT Program includes:

  • Participating in the regular camp program and activities as well as an additional program effort to challenge the CIT group in their own personal development
  • Maintaining a positive image as a role model and mentor to the younger campers
  • Assisting instruction in one/two activity periods in an activity of choice/expertise
  • Planning and implementing the Sunday special events with their counselors
  • Spending an additional hour of engaging in leadership training with camp directors and leadership staff
  • Observing younger cabin groups during cabin time
  • Spending time learning organizational skills through duties such as:  assisting in activities, completing cabin inspection, leading assembly, managing canteen at recreational swimming, serving as steward in the dining hall, etc.
  • Planning and implementing special camp projects
  • Engaging in social activities with CITs from Camp Woodland
  • Participating in the Coed Show  for the last few weeks of camp (musical variety show at the end of camp)

There are so many amazing opportunities for these young men to develop leadership skills and to begin to understand their own strengths and weaknesses.  They have the chance to still be a camper and continue their own personal development while also influencing the lives of many younger campers.  Here are some insightful reflections from the CITs from Cabin 12 in 2022.

What is something that you learned about yourself at camp in 2022 where “It’s Cool to be YOU!”?:

  • Thomas K.:  “Extreme” canoeing is fun!
  • Thomas S.:  I’m really good at shooting riflery in sitting position.
  • William:  I learned that I really enjoy tennis and camp as a whole.
  • Mitchell:  I learned that doing the Coed Show isn’t actually that bad.
  • George:  I learned how to shoot a gun, and I’m good at it.
  • Chris:  I learned how good my perseverance is.
  • Matt:  I learned that using repetition works.  If I give up right away, I don’t learn as much.
  • Pablo:  I was resilient because I wasn’t qualifying in riflery, and now I am shooting for my expert.
  • Ryan:  I am good at skin diving.

In what ways did you GROW this summer (went out of your comfort zone, tried again, celebrated achievements, etc.)?:

  • Thomas K.:  I persisted in trying to accomplish a 360 in trick ski.
  • Thomas S.:  I sang and danced in the Coed Show and did the ropes course.
  • William:  I played tennis and got a lot better.  I also did the Coed Show.
  • Mitchell:  I started sitting in riflery.
  • George:  I was campfire host which was very nerve wracking.
  • Chris:  I did ropes course.
  • Matt:  I went and did the ropes course.
  • Pablo:  I did archery after a long time of not doing it, and I liked it.
  • Ryan:  I led campfire.

In what ways did you feel part of your cabin and the camp COMMUNITY (you were included, others built you up, you worked through conflict, etc.)?:

  • Thomas K.:  Brute Squad is a squad of friends that was fun.
  • Thomas S.:  In my activities I helped campers if they had a problem with someone or something.
  • William:  I was included, others built me up, and I worked through conflict, etc. 
  • Mitchell:  Working on Coed Show made me feel included in the community.
  • George:  Just hanging out with my cabin mates during break times or meal times.
  • Chris:  I made an Olympic team.
  • Matt:  When I’m hanging out with the other CITs.
  • Pablo:  When we talked together at night.
  • Ryan:  Helping with campfire.

In what ways did you see RESPECT this summer (kindness, empathy, appreciation for differences, etc.)?:

  • Thomas K.:  Campers listening or helping me.
  • Thomas S.:  If a camper was having a tough time with something, the kids in his cabin would help him through whatever it was.
  • William:  I saw a lot of sportsmanship and respect for each others’ differences.
  • Mitchell:  Sometimes when a kid would get down, I saw one of his friends try to lift him up.
  • George:  People being kind to other campers or empathetic to others.
  • Chris:  I saw kindness, empathy and appreciation.
  • Matt:  As a CIT I was around the kids more often, and in that time I noticed great teamwork and kindness.
  • Pablo:  I saw little kids helping each other out.
  • Ryan:  Everyone cares for one another.

Being a part of the CIT program and participating in these additional experiences provides tremendous leadership learning opportunities for these young  men.  In addition, it is an important and valuable contribution to the Towering Pines camp community. The long-standing traditions and culture of Towering Pines will always be there for these boys as they step into future endeavors no matter where they roam.  We are so excited for these young men to be at camp “Soaring Free in ’23”!!

Limited spots are available for the Summer of 2023.  If you haven’t registered yet or know of a family who would benefit from our unique camp experience, please feel free to share this link:

Angie Ziller

  • Camp Mom at TP
  • Leadership Staff at TP/Office Manager
  • Marketing TP/Woodland
  • Leadership Team TP/Woodland
  • Assistant Waterfront Director at Woodland
  • Counselor at Woodland
  • “Building in our hearts fond memories, Towering Pines for you.”