A Message for Volunteer Counselors 

We appreciate you! Thank you in advance for your willingness to support, not only Tilikum and local churches, but also the children that will be at camp this summer. I heard a statistic recently that a child’s moral compass is set by the time they are eight. They learn and catch on to ideas so quickly at a young age…what an opportunity to be a part of that process, speaking truth into the lives of children. Please read through the information on the left sidebar to prepare for spending a week at Tilikum as a volunteer. Thank you for serving in this capacity!

It is our hope that we can help campers discover God all around them, in every detail. More than anything, we pray that campers would discover God’s love. It is so important to learn and be reminded that we are loved by our creator!

The purpose of this website is to provide you with useful tools while you are at Tilikum. Use what you find here as a springboard for camp leadership and spiritual growth. In these pages you will find devotional ideas and meditative readings for each day. They are designed to be a guide for and a supplement to you personal meditation before camp in preparation for you ministry during the day.

This summer, be challenged to see life through the eyes of a child. Thanks again for joining us this summer!


Mandy Schmidt “Wildflower”
Camp Program Director


  • All counselors must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • All counselors must have a genuine concern for people; specifically children.
  • Counselors must be entering the 11th grade or at least 16 years old.
  • Counselors should be able to lift 50 pounds and easily manage rough terrain.
  • Junior counselors must be entering the 9th grade or be at least 14 years old.
  • All volunteers must be eager to learn the role/responsibilities of a counselor, and be willing to support the Day Camp program and staff in any way possible.
  • Counselors will be placed where most needed. We cannot guarantee  that you will be placed with your child.

Junior Counselors (ages 14-16) are recognized as young people who desire to learn the necessary skills to be a good counselor. Because the best way to learn any skill is to experience it, you will have the same responsibilities as counselor. You are to conduct yourself as a maturing young person who is no longer a Day Camper. This must be evident at all times during your time at camp. If not, you may be asked not to return for the remainder of the camp week.


If you are interested in helping at one of our summer camps, you will need to fill out our online volunteer application. We will contact you when we receive your application. Thanks for your interest!

What to Expect

Counselors are an essential part of TIlikum’s ministry.  While summer staff members may influence a camper’s life significantly during his/her week at Tilikum, a counselor has the ability to take a more long-term interest in each camper, to follow through on important spiritual growth experiences.  Your primary responsibility is to support your staff person and to be a friend to campers.

  1. The first morning get the names of your assigned campers and try to memorize them.
  2. Take a head count first thing in the morning, and then several times during the day. Younger campers can have a tendency to walk off and sometimes become part of another group.
  3. You are asked to participate in the total camp program with the campers, unless there is a reason you are not able to and you have discussed it with your staff person.
  4. Lunch time is an opportunity to relax and spend time together. This is an amazing time to hear more about your campers’ lives and encourage them.
  5. Assist the staff person in the general control of your group throughout the day. Keep your campers close to you and encourage them to be cooperative, participative and not distracting.

Specific Program Responsibilities

  • Bus/Van Ride (if coming as part of a church group): This is a camp activity. You can do a lot to make it quality time. Songs, quiet games, and other creative amusements can make even the bus/van ride home a looked-forward-to, fun part of the day. Naps are sometimes a great option, too.
  • Counselor Meeting: While the campers all meet with the staff (during opening time each day), you will meet with one of the On-site Directors. This time is your chance to share the good experiences that you’ve been having throughout the week. If you have any questions or comments, please bring them up for discussion.
  • Story Lesson: The Tilikum staff will lead songs and share fun theme stories and skits. Please sit on the mats with your group and take part. You also may need to help keep campers attention focused on the songs, skits, or drama being shared.
  • Trail Talk: This is a short time set aside to discuss the day’s theme in individual staff/camper groups. Crowd control is a significant role during this time. If you would like to help lead a trail talk discussion, talk with your staff person. We can give you some questions and Bible character illustrations to help lead your group in a discussion.
  • Closing Time: The Tilikum staff will lead songs and skits at the end of the day. Please sit on the benches around the perimeter of the playshed. As the Tilikum staff are upfront at this time your help with camper management is definitely appreciated!
  • Group Activities: Camper groups at Tilikum Day Camp will participate in rafting, canoeing, archery, Big Swing, nature hikes, and games. Tilikum’s staff will teach and supervise each activity. We encourage you to become a participant with the campers rather than a spectator. As you participate, the campers will have the opportunity to observe you as you handle real-life situations. You will also have the chance to watch your campers relate to each other. Try to creatively use situations that arise during activities as illustrations for personalizing the day’s theme.
  • Supervision Abilities: As a volunteer counselor, you may be asked to temporarily supervise your group while your staff person attends to other duties with individual campers. The staff person may need to pray with campers, take care of first aid needs, gather children from dressing room areas, or discipline campers. During this time a counselor should keep the group together. Some things you could do during this time to keep the campers occupied are:
    • play a game
    • sing a song
    • ask questions about the daily theme and opening drama.
  • One-on-One Time: You may have an opportunity to talk with a camper in a one-on-one situation. Do it! The campers will appreciate your listening ears and loving heart. One of our goals for you as a volunteer counselor is to spend some time with each camper in your group. We suggest trying to do this during swimming/boating time. Sometimes this could occur during an activity, perhaps while walking on a trail or working together on crafts. One cautionary note: while on the lookout for these opportunities, always make sure that you are in a place where others can observe you. This insures a safe and secure environment for campers, counselors, and staff.
  • Spiritual Growth Opportunities: During the week, be encouraged to find out where each camper is in his/her relationship with Christ. You may have the opportunity to share about having a relationship with Jesus Christ. If the camper is already a Christian, try to learn the areas in which the child could grow in his/her walk with Christ.
  • Follow Thru… (if coming as part of a church group) When you return to your church or home, please follow through with each camper to encourage him/her. Let the camper know you are interested in his/her growth. Remember, you may be a bridge between what the camper learned at Tilikum and the potential for continued growth when camp is over.

You are so Important! As a counselor, you are a key in helping campers attain Tilikum’s objectives. Your sensitivity, caring, and concern for them as individuals can help campers relate their camp experiences to real life. During the camp time, you are a “living” example of God’s love that is watched very closely by the campers. You will be with your camper group throughout the day. It will be your life, touching camper’s lives, that will give an example for significant change.

With this type of relationship that you will have, we don’t expect you to be the disciplinarians. Our staff will be responsible for that. They have had training and experience, and know what works well in the day camp setting. That doesn’t mean to stand back and do nothing! You can help your staff person by helping to keep the campers quiet and attentive during activities. Communicate with your staff person on how you can best help and work together in these areas.

Additional Resources