Leadership development among participants in a counselor-in-training program

David Ira Katz, Fordham University


Counselor-in-training (CIT) programs provide teenagers with the opportunity to develop leadership as they are mentored by experienced adults and are role models to younger children. This study endeavored to discern the impact the CIT program at Blue Rill Day Camp in Airmont, New York, had on the leadership development of its adolescent participants. This study combined elements of qualitative and quantitative research. Participants were administered the Leadership Skills Inventory (Karnes & Chauvin, 2000), a survey designed to measure leadership in teenagers and young adults, before the camp season and during the last week of camp. Some participants were interviewed during the summer and again in the winter following their CIT experience. Findings are provided both within case (showing the development of each participant) and cross-case (combining common elements of CIT experience and determining themes). CITs developed in terms of their job skills, their ability influence the behavior of others, to be responsible, to take initiative, to communicate with children, to develop relationships, to put the needs of others before their own, to maintain a positive attitude, to mentor younger children, to teach, and to resolve conflicts. As a result of the CIT experience, participants saw themselves as more self-confident, more organized, more positive, more empathetic, and more assertive. Participants saw themselves as more likely to assume leadership positions in their adulthood. Important elements of successful camp leadership development programs include having interested mentors who are invested in the development of youth and experiences that are viewed by participants as being real and applicable to the external environment. Pre-service and in-service training in the expectations of their position also aid young leaders in meeting their responsibilities. Expectations must be clear and articulated. Camp is a valuable experience for campers as well as for staff. Camps, as transformational enterprises, must be intentional in developing leaders. Camps ought to work to provide opportunities for decision-making and leadership. Non-academic institutions have tremendous potential for influencing the development of youth. Attention must be paid to the impact of extra-curricular and non-school activities on the development of skills and affinities for children, adolescents, and young adults.

Subject Area

School administration|School counseling|Recreation

Recommended Citation

Katz, David Ira, "Leadership development among participants in a counselor-in-training program" (2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3312053.