REHLEIGH GIESL-BUTLER has attended Camp Bellaleo since its relocation back to Lake Belwood in Summer 2012. Rehleigh was first invited as LIT Director in Summer 2022 and is now spending her third summer up at camp in this role. Having been in the leader-in-training (LIT) position herself, Rehleigh is passionate about sharing what she has learned both as an LIT and a counsellor, with the current LITs. Through the LIT Program, she hopes to provide opportunities for LITs to grow as leaders and as individuals and inspire them to be the best versions of themselves both at camp and at home. She attended Father John Redmond CSS and RAC. She is set to complete her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at Queen’s University in Spring 2024, and intends on continuing her education at York University to obtain her Bachelor of Education.
After each summer, we invite campers who are old enough and demonstrate authentic enthusiasm and initiative as campers to join our Leader-in-Training (LIT) Program. Invitations and promotions occur in the fall after the camp season ends. After two years in the LIT Program, participants may qualify for staff roles, either in the program team or as cabin counsellors.
The LIT Program begins with an introductory meeting in December once invitations are accepted by LITs. The LIT Director(s) then hosts monthly meetings leading up to the summer that provide LITs with learning opportunities which prepare them for the transition into camp life. Past meeting topics include conflict resolution, cabin skills (i.e., organisation and time management), what it means to be a leader, and the importance of making connections. While attendance is not mandatory, and we understand if prior commitments interfere, we do recommend attending as many monthly sessions as possible as each lesson is tailored to improve your camp leadership experience.
Before camp begins, all leaders (LITs and Staff) gather for an important week of training, also known as pre-week. Pre-week serves as the foundation for our leaders' preparation and sets the tone for the entire camp season. During this crucial week leaders enhance their skills in communication, problem-solving, and teamwork through workshops, sessions, and activities.
Another area of focus during pre-week is emergency preparedness. We conduct comprehensive drills to ensure everyone is equipped to handle any unforeseen situations. Safety is our top priority, and this training ensures our team is well-prepared. Pre-week is also a time for leaders to bond, fostering a strong sense of unity and camaraderie. Building these connections strengthens teamwork throughout the summer. Our Camp open house is also hosted during pre-week and allows leaders to interact with new campers and their families, setting a welcoming and positive tone for their upcoming camp experience. Overall, training week is pivotal. It equips our leaders with essential skills, builds a cohesive community, and lays the groundwork for a safe and engaging camp environment.
When camp begins, within the LIT Program, we have two main positions; cabin LITs and Whitecloud LITs. Cabin LITs will be partnered with a counsellor or co-LIT to lead their assigned cabin. They live in the cabin with their fellow leader in the designated counsellor quarters, only a door away from campers at all times. As cabin leaders, under the guidance of counsellors, LITs attend to campers throughout the day, travelling together to program periods and eating at meals. The LIT Director(s) meets with the cabin LITs to help with any issues in the cabin and run sessions with them. The other role for LITs up at camp is in the Whitecloud program. When LITs are in the Whitecloud program, they meet with the LIT Director(s) for daily sessions. Sessions can range from more passive activities including listening to a podcast or watching a video, to more active sessions including running program periods and teamwork challenges. In the Whitecloud program sessions, you will also learn wilderness survival skills including canoeing, archery, and fire building, as well as character-building skills that accompany meaningful life lessons. Additionally, when cabin LITs take days off, Whitecloud LITs will be asked to fill their position in the cabin until they return. All LITs will have a chance throughout the summer to be both in a cabin and in Whitecloud.
The LIT Program is an incredible opportunity to strengthen leadership skills while growing as both a leader and a person. As a cabin LIT, you will learn to be responsible for up to ten campers, experience cabin bonding and learn to resolve cabin conflict. As role models for your campers, it is important to be modelling leadership skills acquired and built upon from pre-week onwards. Always channel a growth mindset and there is no doubt you will succeed. Most importantly, you will have fun learning and growing as a leader in an outdoor environment!
We can’t wait to welcome you to our LIT family! :)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When will I receive my letter of invitation to the LIT Program?
After the Senior Staff meets to discuss invitations, yours will be sent out. By the latest, invitations will be sent out late fall in order to provide you with the opportunity to take advantage of our early bird pricing.
When do I have to reply to my invitation?
We ask that you respond to your invitation as soon as possible. That being said, we understand that returning to camp may be a tougher decision for some and take longer. If that is the case, we ask that you please let us know.
Do I have to respond to my invitation if I do not intend on returning?
To answer simply, yes please. Even if you are unfortunately unable to return to camp as an LIT, we ask that you let us know.
How old do I have to be to be considered for the LIT Program?
While we do not focus as much on age as my do on maturity and camper performance, we typically consider campers for LIT positions once they reach the age of 14.
How can I show I’m ready for the LIT Program at camp?
Like we tell the two older cabins, we want to see you be the best version of yourself. Be a model camper - respect the leaders at camp and your fellow campers. When the opportunity presents itself, take initiative. You can do so by starting an activity with some of the younger campers during free time, taking them to their leader when they need help, or even something as simple as holding the door for others. And never forget to have fun, after all, it could be your last summer as a camper.