The Camper Experience

The BIG 3

  1. We asked former counselor Shaun O’Hagan to offer advice to first-year staff members:
    Hi, my name’s Shaun. I worked at Manitou for four amazing, unforgettable summers- the first 3 as a tennis instructor and the final summer as the Low Intermediate Unit Leader. I grew up in New Zealand and moved to the UK in my teenage years. Currently, I’m working as a doctor in Leeds, England and plan to pursue a career in Paediatric Medicine. I’ll be returning to volunteer at ‘Manitou Experience‘ this coming August and cannot wait to return to this incredible place. My number one piece of advice for new Manitou staff members would be to ‘buy in’To the outside world, men and women in their early twenties completely immersing themselves in Color War chants, a Low-Sophmore College League softball game or a Pres night fight song, may seem a little crazy. Let it take you in. Embrace these moments. It’s not often we can disconnect from the outside world and truly be in the moment. Be the role model you’d have wanted as a kid. Invest in getting to know the campers. Use your days off wisely- explore the beautiful Maine landscape and spend some quality time with your fellow counselors. I’ll tell you this much, Manitou is like nowhere else in the world. Uniqueness is celebrated, brotherhood bonds fostered and life-long memories forged. Enjoy it!
  2. Former counselor Daniel Stern offers advice to second-year staff members:
    Now that you have a summer of experience under your belts–and a better understanding of how Manitou works for a counselor–my advice to second year counselors is to think really hard, prior to the summer, about how you can REVOLUTIONIZE the three main areas that you work: (1) your cabin; (2) your instructional area; and (3) the sport you coach for college league/color war. My advice to a second-year counselor is to try to answer the following questions: 
    For your cabin… You now have had a summer with your kids: you know their likes and dislikes, their personalities and fears. Because you know them personally, you can ask yourself today: What are the things you are going to do and say personally to make sure that each kid in your cabin feels like he is the most important kid in the world to you? What activities are you going to invite each kid (or group of kids) to do with you during rest period or free play? What specific trait in each are you going to try to help develop? What vision for each are you going to help him see? And for the collective cabin, what routines or traditions or competitions for the kids are you going to invent? What personality are you going to bring to O.D.s? How are you going to make your O.D.’s different and unique from other counselors’ in camp, so that kids can’t wait for you to be O.D.? 
    For your instructional area… Now that you know the skill level of the kids who are coming to your area, how are you going to make the drills and activities that you do more level-appropriate? What new drills do you have? How are you going to promote and sell your area to kids around camp so that they are motivated to sign up for it if they wouldn’t have been before? 
    And for college league/color war…  You’ve seen how other games are played and coached in the Manitou version of the sport you’ll coach this summer… how are you going to put your players in the best position possible to win?  How are you going to adapt your strategy to the skills and deficiencies that Manitou athletes have in your sport? What plays and alignments are you going to use against the alignments that you know other Manitou coaches run? What skills are ones you can teach and develop to gain a competitive edge? 
    With one summer in the books, you are in great position to answer these questions for yourself… to truly PREPARE to be an irreplaceable, unbelievable counselor that your kids will cherish, college league team will value, and instructional area will need.
  3. Former counselor Noah Roberts offers advice to all staff as you enter the summer:

    A guy from Philly who liked rap music. A blonde Aussie with a black belt in Jiujitsu. A lazy 17 yr old who slept all day. A bald Englishman who mercilessly threw out insults. These guys were my favorite counselors during my time as a camper at Manitou (although I’m certainly not suggesting you insult your campers). This group has little in common other than that they consistently engaged with me as a friend (rather than an inferior). A counselor can have a significantly positive impact on his camper if he is able to form a real friendship with his camper, while still maintaining the correct counselor/camper power dynamic when necessary. My advice to staff is to hang out and engage your campers whenever possible and to remain cognizant that your campers scrutinize your every word and think of you as the coolest person in the world. An offhand compliment to a 12-year-old could make him feel incredible. 

    About me:
    I currently live in a tiny apartment in Manhattan with 2 buddies. I work at hedge fund and analyze commodities (like oil). I love playing Texas hold-em (which I learned at Manitou). My little brother Ethan will be a first-year counselor this summer (so feel free to pick on him). ISU Cyclones ’14. 

    Hopefully, I’ll see you later this summer. 

Staff Member of the Week

This week’s Staff Member of the Week is Bob Waldstein who is affectionately known as Waldo. He’s Manitou’s Alumni Director and Commissioner of College League and Color War.  Make sure to spend time with him this summer!


    • Vaughn Beckwith shared this great article with us about building the culture of a team. A key element we do well at Manitou, “get to know each other  culture of helpfulness  social connectedness”
    • We will work with over 400 boys this summer, why do they attend?

Important Dates

Full Staff Orientation Begins: June 14