Guest Blogger: PFC Division Leader

Tell us about yourself!
My name is Zach Gelb and I was the Senior Boys Division Leader in 2015 and will be the Hi-Senior Boys Division Leader in 2016. This will be my 14th summer at Pine Forest Camp. I was a camper for 8 summers and a staff member for 5, going on 6 summers.

What did you get out of your position as Senior Boys Division Leader?
My position was amazing. It was so much fun to interact with the kids and staff and watch them grow. The 7-8 weeks you spend at PFC will give you lifelong friends, a fantastic summer, and a bond you will always remember with the best people.

What makes a good counselor?
A great counselor can’t sweat the small stuff and has to be willing to try new things. Some of the best counselors I have seen always have great positive energy and are willing to help out in making the summer great for the kids.

What was one of the biggest challenges you faced in your Division Leader role?
I had a camper who was homesick. I paid extra attention to this boy and made sure he always had something to do. After the first week of camp, his homesickness improved. But for that week, it was challenging to make sure he was always distracted and having fun while also dealing with many other children at camp.

What was your favorite thing about your Division Leader role?
I like many things about camp such as: boys’ line-up, basketball leagues, banquet, evening activities, camp chants, campfires, A-Game, and color war. However, my favorite part is seeing kids upset on the last day. Yes, that may seem odd, but when campers and staff cry on the last day, you know you did your job since they don’t want to leave camp. Like I said, camp is a magical place and you will forever cherish the bonds you make. Each summer is different and it just gets better and better. To have a camper or staff member (yes, staff cry too) cry or say thank you on the final day shows how appreciative they were of their experience at camp.

What do you wish you knew before working at camp? Any advice for new counselors?
My advice would be to look at each day as a new day at camp. Try everything you can and break out of your comfort zone early. Being a camp counselor can be very rewarding and you need to take advantage of every opportunity, as the summer goes by very quickly. As far as supplies, make sure to bring an egg crate, a fan, bug spray, and some funny costumes. You can purchase most of that stuff near camp. I would also encourage you to try and meet other staff members, whether it be in person or online, before you come to camp, but this is not a necessity.


MVP: Most Valuable Position

You have likely heard that the key to a successful future in the workplace is a solid internship related to your field of expertise. While this may be true for some, a job as camp counselor also gives you the skills you need to succeed in the workplace and in life! We’ve compiled a list of five major skills a camp job teaches (which, to us, is way more important than bringing some big-shot executive coffee all summer!):

Leadership Skills
At camp, campers do not judge your ability to show them how to kick a soccer ball, make a friendship bracelet, or ride a zip line. Campers instantly idolize a counselor’s ability to do anything, giving you a solid platform to develop and transform your leadership skills from the get-go. You’ve been hired because we know you’re skilled. Now focus on building character, integrity, commitment, enthusiasm, and open-mindedness in your work!

One of camp’s greatest qualities is its appreciation for individuality. The most notable counselors are the ones who sing the loudest, dress the craziest, and are willing to participate in any and all activities that his or her campers come up with. At camp, it’s hard to feel embarrassed. It is surprisingly easy to step out of your comfort zone and into the uninhibited summer camp lifestyle. And hey, you might learn some new things about yourself along the way.

While being a camp counselor can give you a great deal of self-understanding and important life skills, counselors quickly learn to put others, children, before themselves. As a camp counselor, you are truly a surrogate parent for your campers and, while their problems may seem small to you, they are big, real, and totally consuming! By taking on the role of counselor, you are making a difference in these campers’ lives. They will quickly become your whole world!

Concrete Interview Material
As you interview for jobs, you will likely be asked a question that begins with “tell me about a time when…”. At camp, you are living with children for almost two months. You will undoubtedly leave with examples of accomplishments, challenges, strengths, and weaknesses. You will also come home with many marketable skills for your resume that are applicable to almost every career path. These include communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to work well in a group setting. Another advantage of working at a residential summer camp is the expansion of your peer network. You are working with people from all over the world with a variety of different backgrounds and your peer network is a very useful resource when applying for jobs.


Now, more than ever before, we need a reminder to put our electronics aside, take in a breath of fresh air, and be present in the moment. Camp gives you the unique opportunity to connect with yourself, with others, and with nature. You will find that the counselors benefit from unplugging just as much as the campers! Have you seen how bright the stars shine at camp? Become inspired!

Pi Day!

We celebrated Pi Day the only way we knew how to in the camp office yesterday – with s’mores pie! This recipe will be a crowd-pleaser for any occasion. We suggest you try it on Thursday in honor of our 100 day countdown to camp. Don’t forget to tag us!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6


1 stick softened butter
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
7oz container of marshmallow creme
8 whole (1.55oz bars) Hershey’s chocolate bars, unwrapped
1 cup marshmallows
¼ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9” pie pan with baking spray.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until combined, then add egg and vanilla and stir them in. Stir in flour, graham cracker crumbs and baking powder.

Divide the dough in half. Press half the dough in the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie pan. Evenly spread the marshmallow creme over the bottom crust. Separate chocolate squares and place on top of the marshmallow creme. Place 1 cup of marshmallows on top.

Using the remaining crust, pat sections of dough on top of and around all the marshmallows (they will still show through and that is great!). Sprinkle with ¼ cup chocolate chips, then bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Warning: that toasted marshmallow color may induce nostalgia!

Remove pan from oven and set it on a wire rack. Though it may be difficult to wait, let it cool completely before cutting.

Source: Tasty Kitchen


One of the best and most important lessons of camp is learning how to be a part of a team. Whether an inter-camp game, MTV Night, Color Days, or the camp play, team environments are all around us and become a major way in which we interact at camp. When you think about it, your bunkmates are your teammates, too! Each person in the bunk brings something unique to the group, whether a funny personality, great listening skills, or a cool card trick. Your bunk is only as great as each person, and each person is valued for making up your bunk!

When we embrace this team mindset at camp, we learn to respect one another and ourselves. The teamwork skills we gain at camp end up translating to other areas of our lives outside of Greeley.