Published November 23, 2018
By Piper MacDonald (IB ’12-’15, TF ’16,’18) and Willa Potter (IB ’12-’17, TF ’18)
Why did you choose the Counselor Apprenticeship (CA) program?
Piper: I chose the CA program because I knew I wanted to be a counselor at F&W, but I was too young. I had also missed Tamarack Farm quite a bit, the CA program was a very convenient option.
What was your experience like in the training? What certifications/skills did you acquire?
Willa: The CA’s were offered training for trips, lifeguarding, belaying, and outdoor living skills. The training left me feeling nearly as competent and prepared as those who had been at work all summer.
For the first few weeks, the five other apprentices and I would start each morning with the rest of the camp, then we would split off to learn and practice particular skills. We were given the option of becoming Red Cross certified lifeguards, which three of us worked hard to achieve (congratulations Piper, Ruby, and Natalie). Together we learned how to navigate situations influenced by racism, sexism, and class, by discussing scenarios in depth. We went over the ages and stages of a child and found ways to incorporate Farm & Wilderness values into our work with each activity.
What was your experience working at the BDC?
Piper: I had lots of fun working at the BDC, largely because of the welcoming community and generally good vibes I
got from the camp. I was a Deer and a Moose counselor, and I really enjoyed the group overnights. They were a great opportunity for my co-counselors and me to get to know our campers, and for our campers to connect with one another.
Were there any challenging moments?
Willa: On the overnight, I was trying to comfort a homesick child. As I sat at the edge of our damp tent, gently stroking the camper’s hair, feeling chilly because my sleeping bag became her pillow, a revelation hit me: this was the life of a counselor! And this is what I want to do for many summers into the future.
Would you recommend the CA program to someone else?
Piper: I would recommend the CA program to anyone considering coming to TF. You get wonderful work experience, and you feel as though you’re a part of both the TF and BDC communities. I absolutely loved the experience.
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