Towering Pines Blog

Leadership Opportunities for CITs

Posted by on June 2, 2022

It is the final countdown to the sunny adventurous days of summer that await the campers of Towering Pines.  Each year when the campers arrive, 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).

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 In Training/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 continuing to influence the lives of many younger campers.  Here are some insightful reflections from the CITs of 2021.   


In what ways did the SUN SHINE for you this summer (what were your favorite things about camp?):

  • Maximilliano:  Meeting people and trying new things like archery, riflery or even co-ed show.
  • Nico:  Trick ski, soccer and skin diving, but my absolute favorite was the food because it was amazing!
  • Matt:  Being with the same people every year, making lifelong friends, being in the Northwoods, and water skiing.
  • James:  Something that I enjoyed this year was making basketball a period, and then doing it.  
  • Henry:  Getting to see all of my friends again and making new ones.
  • Jack:  I loved seeing all my friends and favorite counselors and seeing the younger campers grow and learn.
  • Juan Pablo (JP):  Getting to know new people, people I heard from and people I already know.  Trying new activities and spending my summer in a different way.
  • Tanner:  Some of my favorite things were archery and riflery.  I loved progressing in archery and relaxing in riflery.
  • Calvin:  It was almost magical to see how many new campers were here this year.  The future is truly looking bright!

What is something that took you by surprise and was better than you imagined:

  • Maximilliano:  Everything like the fact that I won most ranks passed in riflery.
  • Nico:  Skin diving.  At first I didn’t like it, but after I tried it, I loved it.  I get cold very easily, but almost every day I got in the water.
  • Matt:  Socials with Woodland and Coed Show because they all let us have freedoms and experience a different part of camp as a CIT.
  • James:  I was surprised by how I did in archery.  I think that I enjoyed Coed Show more than I thought I would.
  • Henry:  Coed Show because the songs ended up being really run even though the dances were hard to learn.
  • Jack:  I passed a lot of awards in riflery and archery.  I’m also really proud of how I did in Coed Show and how I handled the little campers.
  • Juan Pablo (JP):  Coed Show.  I thought it was going to be “embarrassing” and that I wouldn’t be as excited as I was about it.
  • Tanner:  I was actually able to progress really fast in archery, and I reached my Gold Bowman.
  • Calvin:  I was pleasantly surprised by how camp handled Covid.  I thought camp was going to be unrecognizable, but as we say in Coed Show, “Some things never change!”

The thing I learned most about myself:

  • Maximilliano:  I can do anything that I propose to myself and put my mind to!
  • Nico:  I got to enjoy singing and dancing when I thought I hated it.
  • Matt:  That if you put effort into something you aren’t great at and are happy doing it, it’s worth it.
  • James:  Be patient.  Think before you talk.  
  • Henry:  I love fishing.  I signed up for it at the start of the year and had a blast and kept doing it all summer.
  • Jack:  I learned I have a weak immune system.  I also learned that helping out is a lot easier than I thought.  (and very fulfilling)
  • Juan Pablo (JP):  To have confidence in myself, not to be scared of trying new things, and that you can accomplish what you propose.
  • Tanner:  I learned that I love to make new friends quickly and develop friendships.
  • Calvin:  When I set a goal I care about, I will get it.  I put in a lot of work in both riflery and the Coed Show, and I’m happy with what I got in return.

What is one thing that could have been better for you this summer:

  • Maximilliano:  Trying skiing again or maybe not big things but small things I could have improved on.
  • Nico:  Nothing, except it has to be a 10-week long camp!!  (Wouldn’t that be awesome : )
  • Matt:  Being at camp for 6 weeks and going for more goals on the wall.  (Accomplishments from year’s past are displayed on the dining hall walls in the lodge.)
  • James:  Getting my Golden Archer.  I would have liked to have the first week of activities be normal.  (We had an adapted schedule in order to follow Covid protocol.)
  • Henry:  My shooting in archery this year was not the best and definitely could have been better.
  • Jack:  I had a great time in TP Players, but I wish we could have done a show.
  • Juan Pablo (JP):  I wish we could have had exchanges with other camps like Red Arrow. (There were exchanges with Woodland; however, due to Covid, there weren’t exchanges with other camps.)
  • Tanner:  Having Michael as a counselor with Diego and Mariano.
  • Calvin:  Getting Rifleman of the Year would have been great, but I’m still proud about how far I got!

What is the first thing you will tell your parents/family about your camp experience:

  • Maximilliano:  I will tell them that it was the best and that even though I thought I wasn’t going to have fun, I DID!!
  • Nico:  Too good to be true and not enough words in the alphabet to describe how good it was!  
  • Matt:  It was the break I needed from the outside world.  Deciding to leave my phone at home was the best decision I made this summer.  (WOW!)
  • James:  I will tell them about some of the people I met and some of the things that I did.
  • Henry:  Being a CIT is so much more fun than being a camper.
  • Jack:  I will tell them all about the Coed Show.  Then I will tell them about the amazing memories with friends.
  • Juan Pablo (JP):  This was one of my best summers ever!
  • Tanner:  I will tell them how much I enjoyed Coed Show, socials and archery.
  • Calvin:  I cant’t wait to be a 2nd year CIT!

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 this summer where “It’s Cool to Be You in ’22!”

Limited spots available for the Summer of 2022, click 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.”