WHAT DOES A COUNSELOR DO?
A lot! You will have some pretty big responsibilities during your stay at Foothill. You will get to learn about leadership, group management, what it means to be a positive role model and, you’ll help the kids have a memorable experience. You’ll also learn a lot about nature and make some new friends. A big surprise to many counselors, is that you also learn a lot about yourself! During your week, you may discover skills you have that you didn’t even know existed. For most of our visiting 6th graders, this is their first time away from home, and for some, settling into a new place is hard. As a counselor, you can help the students feel more comfortable and confident in their new surroundings… and maybe even help them make new friends!
You will sleep in the dorms along with the 6th graders at night, and oversee behavior. You’ll wake the students up, help prepare them for their day and get them to their activities on time. You also get to read them a bedtime story…which the students love!
You’ll join your students on all their hikes and help the teacher pass out materials and help refocus students who are off task. You also get to help encourage discovery and promote learning by asking the students questions during their exploration time!
You will eat all meals with the students and help encourage polite manners and make sure kids are eating enough and trying new things! We do provide coffee and tea for you at breakfast.
WHO CAN BE A COUNSELOR?
You must be a Junior or Senior in good academic standing, have excellent attendance, and must be referred by teachers who believe that you would be a good role model for younger students. We also accept recent high school graduates with excellent references. If you are a graduate, you must be fingerprinted. Contact Diann Rastetter up at Foothill to get that started.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING A COUNSELOR?
ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT A CAREER IN EDUCATION OR CHILDCARE?
- This is a great opportunity to gain experience managing 6th graders
- By observing and conversing with our experienced teaching staff, you can get guidance on what it takes to be a successful teacher or Naturalist.
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEER HOURS OR WORK EXPERIENCE?
- Counselors gain well over 40 hours of work experience that you can list on your job applications, college applications, and resume.
DO YOU NEED A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION FOR JOB OR COLLEGE APPLICATIONS?
- You will receive a written evaluation letter at the end of your week which will highlight the great things you did!
YOU GET TO BE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE FOOTHILL STAFF!!
- Foothill Horizons depends on enthusiastic people like you to give back to the community and our kids – if you came as a 6th grader, we’re sure you remember the impact your counselor had on you!
ARE YOU A GOOD FIT FOR THIS?
QUALITIES OF AN EXCELLENT COUNSELOR:
- Cares for children & their safety at all times
- Wants to be positive role model and strong leader
- Shows enthusiasm for the outdoor school program
- Puts the needs of their students before their own
- Communicates well with students, peers, teachers and Foothill Horizons staff
- Shows good judgment and respect for self and others.
- Encourages discovery and enjoys being outside
- Plays games and sings songs with the kids!
- Has fun!
Check out these videos to get a sense of what it will be like:
Counselor Overview video
Qualities of a Good Counselor video
"I think the most meaningful thing about the trip was the Counselors because they were really nice people to be around and they would help us if we needed help and they made the trip feel more comfortable and make it a lot more fun as well."
~ Addison W. (6th grader)
DO VOLUNTEERS RECEIVE TRAINING?
High School volunteers attend an orientation upon arrival to Foothill Horizons where we will cover the weekly schedule, your role, tips & tricks on managing your group, emergency procedures and we will also cover things you need to know about your group of students. Each counselor is guided and supervised throughout the week by our staff, and there are many meetings you'll attend for support and sharing of ideas. Each counselor is assigned to a Naturalist who provides ongoing coaching for you throughout your week. This Naturalist also provides verbal feedback and will present a formal written evaluation to you on the last day of the week.
To receive the best training, interested High School students should attend one of our free Saturday Leadership Training Days. We offer two per year, one in the fall and one in February. We pick you up on one of our buses and bring you up to Foothill for the day, feed you lunch, and then take you back.