Camp Blue Ridge Blog

Camp Teaches the Best Leadership Skills for High Schoolers

Camp Blue Ridge is more then just a summer destination for campers and staff eager to enjoy another fun filled summer in the north Georgia mountains. Thanks to our innovative STAR Program, it’s an opportunity for us to foster the skills and abilities our graduating campers need to begin their journey as our next generation of camp counselors. STAR stands for Staff Training and Recreation and is geared towards rising 11th graders looking to continue their camp experience and lay a strong foundation for their future while still being a part of summer camp.

Our STAR program is unique because as these campers learn the skills needed to transition into a staff role, they get the opportunity to live and play in both worlds during their time at camp. STARs gain experience through hands-on training with staff and campers in their cabins and weekly meetings with their supervisors and/or directors. They will leave camp ready to be strong leaders at camp and at home with a strong understanding of workplace standards. STARs learn the importance of giving back through social good. Additionally, they learn what it takes to be a good role model.

STARs participate in various training programs and hands on camp experiences designed to build their leadership ability, increase their skill competency, build their self-esteem, and educate them about the needs of children. The STARs program is run by the leadership director, assistant director, and activity supervisors, who work in conjunction with the camp’s administrative team. They work together in a variety of team- building activities to develop new skills, plan evening activities and/or special events for the entire camp and help with Saturday programming.

Each STAR is assigned to a cabin, this allows them to work directly with campers as well as learn from counselors and head staff. During time spent with their cabin, they will be in training, engage in evening activities and run a cabin activity when their director feels they are ready. They may also assist at varying activities throughout the day. STARs never have the sole responsibility for supervising a group of campers during their weeks as a STAR. We recognize they are still in a leadership training role.

So, what can our STAR’s expect to learn? Our training topics include group work, communication, leadership, child abuse prevention training, child developmental stages, the Camp Blue Ridge family mission, and more. Throughout the program, the STARs are evaluated by their peers and staff who provide feedback to help them become aware of both their strengths and their areas for growth. We conduct criminal offender (CORI) and sexual offender (SORI) background checks on all STARs applicants who are over 17.

Being a STAR comes with set expectations as well as privileges at camp.


• STARs will begin the summer with a great kick-off pontoon trip on Lake Burton or on-campus event

• STARs will be housed in camper cabins that they are working with and there will be staff members living in the cabin with them

• STARs will be role models for the campers living in their cabins

• Curfew for STARs is 12:30pm during the STAR program

• STARs will be responsible for organizing an evening programs or special events of their choice

• STARs may spend time with the Camp Directors and other staff in various activities and roles

• STARs report to the Program Director or other assigned staff member

• Stars will be able to develop and enhance your own skillsets at our many activities

• STARs are expected to follow the same technology guidelines as other staff


• STARs will have a day off camp. The leadership director plans and organizes those events for eligible participants.

• STARs will be allowed to lead at least one cabin activity when their supervisor deems appropriate

• STARs will assist in various activities during their time at camp

To be considered as a STAR, applicants must be entering their junior year of high school or higher. To apply, applicants can simply submit the STAR application form. Once the STAR application form and responses have been received, the Camp Blue Ridge leadership team will contact the applicant to discuss the application. Placements will be made on a rolling basis throughout the fall and winter.

STAR applicants can request one of two sessions. The first session will take place during the first three weeks of the summer and the second one will take place during the entire 8 weeks of camp. All participants must be at camp for staff orientation. Although space is limited, we will work very hard to place accepted applicants into one of our two STAR programs.

As you can see, this is a high-level program designed for former campers looking for a unique and exciting opportunity to give back, expand their skill set and lay a strong foundation for themselves. Not everyone will qualify for this program, STAR applicants should:

• Have a desire to work with children in an outdoor resident camp setting

• Have a strong desire to learn the fundamentals of camp counseling

• Exhibit attitudes and behaviors that help build the self-esteem of self and others

• Have the ability to take direction from peers and adults

• Arrive at camp with at least one certification discussed during the interview process, i.e., lifeguarding, rock climbing, archery, boating, etc.

According to the article, The Development of Leadership Among Counselors in Training that was published by the American Camp Association, “CITs saw a direct relationship between the skills and attitudes they gained in camp and the skills and attitudes they were using during the school year. They were more self-confident and responsible, managed time and stress more effectively, and were more positive. They took initiative in areas where they otherwise would not have and became more empathic and more effective communicators. These teenagers were more likely to be role models for peers and children and were better able to resolve conflicts. Job skills and skills for teaching and working with children also transferred to the months after camp.”

We are excited to offer this rewarding and unique program to our graduating campers as well as those new to our camp program who are looking for a way to learn, understand and develop in the summer camp setting. The STAR program creates a win win opportunity for our participants, campers, staff, and the entire Camp Blue Ridge Family. Together, we reward excellence, strengthen our foundation, and ensure that future generations of campers will be vested in all that makes Blue Ridge Camp what it is today.