The crazy life of camp counselors

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Camp CouncelorBy Allison Eatough

Kaitlin Horvath is more than just an overnight camp counselor at Camp Wright, in Queen Anne's County. The 23-year-old is an alarm clock, waking campers up when it's time for breakfast. She's a nature instructor, teaching campers how to set up tents and recognize poisonous spiders. She's a motivator, encouraging campers to try archery when they've never even seen an arrow before. And, she's a shoulder to cry on when campers get homesick.

These ever-changing duties are all part of what it takes to be a summer camp counselor, says Horvath, a Stevensville resident who has worked at Camp Wright for two summers.

"Every week is a new group of kids," she says. "You never know what to expect."

Such is the life for many young adults in Maryland who take on the job of camp counselors each summer, overseeing campers between the ages of 5 and 17.

While responsibilities differ depending on the camp, most counselors are charged with leading activities, keeping campers physically and emotionally safe and ensuring campers have fun — all for maybe $200 a week. When you consider counselors are on call 24 hours a day, this could boil down to less than $1.50 an hour plus room and board. But counselors don't mind. They love their jobs.

"You really get to know the kids... who they are and get a sense of what they'll become when they grow up," Horvath says. "It's very rewarding."

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