We’ve been boasting about our teenage leadership program for a long time now. We can’t help it! It just keeps getting better and better!

Camp Birchwood’s current Senior Camper Leadership Program is a fun, popular, and meaningful program for teenagers who have completed 9th, 10th, or 11th grade.

Unlike camps that hire high school students to work for little or nothing, Birchwood “Seniors” are still “just campers”. However, on top of the “regular” Birchwood routine, we have layered a number of sophisticated components to engage character development and to foster confident leadership skills.

Two cabins accommodate our teens, which are equipped with ample living space and large bathrooms that include showers. Large living room areas invite girls to spend time together and with their counselors. A unique campfire circle sits out in back of the cabins between “The Inn” and “Outpost”.

To augment each teen’s leadership skills, Senior Campers are placed as “assistants” in an activity they love for two hours each day. Teens are mentored closely by seasoned instructors as they practice teaching basic skills and engaging others effectively in the activity.

On a daily basis, Birchwood’s teens are invited to reflect on an aspect of citizenship in the morning and then at night they reflect on their experiences through open discussion and by writing in personal journals. Once or twice a week, girls attend leadership training classes. These seminars focus on teamwork, communication, multi-tasking, time management, and organization. On the weekends, these girls are in charge of teaching a variety hobbies and outdoor activities. They also plan and execute two large-scale, all-camp events each session.

As fun bonus, Birchwood’s teen leaders go on outings. These special adventures out of camp (on every other Tuesday and every other Sunday) are a fun and exciting privilege. Every summer the schedule changes and the activity is not announced until right before departure.

All in all, Birchwood’s “senior campers” are the most popular and most celebrated ladies in camp. Their positive energy ignites all of camp. Girls of all ages look up to our senior campers for wholesome, dedicated leadership and genuine friendship.

In the end, it’s an experience teenagers can build on for years to come, and a time in their lives they will never forget.

When Senior Campers return year after year, a new and different leadership title is assigned to them. This step by step process provides campers a new kind of leadership challenge every year.

Activity assistant (AA’s)
Activity Assistants assist in an activity for two (and no more than two) activity periods a day. In addition to their activity time, they practice becoming great role models throughout camp. In the program, “AA’s” are encouraged to increase personal initiative as they feel comfortable. A big part of their role is to become wonderful “big sisters” to our campers, as they make each Birchwood camper feel welcome and supported.

Junior counselor (JC’s)
Junior Counselors are Seniors who became certified Activity Assistants the summer before and are now seeking new and greater challenges. “JC’s” donate two periods of assisting in an activity each day. JC’s are asked to help in the sign up window on a rotating schedule. JC’s play an active role in planning Senior Sunday Activities and have the responsibility of decorating for our four-week banquet. JC’s make new friendships with campers, build on to friendships from last year, mark themselves as competent and important leaders in camp, and help mentor the AA’s into the leadership program. JC’s are expected to take on more responsibility and show off the maturity they have gained in a year’s time.

Associate counselor (AC’s)
An “AC” takes on many tasks that a JC takes on, but more. As an AC, you have the opportunity to assist in more than one activity, become a back-up for cabin counselors in time of need, help assist the Senior Director in coordinating and planning activities and events for the senior campers, and overall, take a more direct and assertive leadership position in camp. You’re not a counselor yet, but you’re on your way, and as an excellent Associate Counselor, it will show.

How to apply:
To participate in Birchwood’s Senior Camper Leadership Program, girls must attend a minimum of four weeks, either Session 1 or Session 2. A special application must be requested by e-mail and filled out as soon as October 1. Applications consist of short essay questions to measure the teen’s ability and willingness to be a strong team member and a thoughtful leader. Only 24 positions are available for each four-week session. Applications are taken on a “rolling” basis and spots are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.


6983 North Steamboat Lake Drive NW • LaPorte. Minnesota 56461 • 800.451.5270 • info@birchwoodforgirls.com