Our Counselors in Training (CITs) participated in weekly electives this summer. The electives gave CITs the time and resources to explore a topic they were interested in. The elective options this past summer were college prep, Israel, and volunteering in Woodcreek. Our CITs all grew from their experience in our electives and gained knowledge they can use and apply outside of camp.
For our college prep elective, CITs participated in working sessions where they worked on college applications, brainstormed, and began their college essays. The most significant benefit of this program was that CITs got to work with Casey Gendason, who guided them throughout the elective. Casey, a current CYJ parent, is a former Emory admissions officer, was a college counselor for 16 years at St. Mark’s School of Texas, and now owns an independent college counseling and educational consulting business. Working with Casey allowed our CITs to stay on top of their applications while away at camp and get highly sought-after professional insight. Our CITs who took part in this course came out of camp more knowledgeable and prepared to take on their applications than if they weren’t at camp. The CITs were able to ask all the questions they had and had the time to pick the brains of a true college admissions expert. After three sessions with Casey, our CITs felt more motivated, confident, and knowledgeable about the application process than ever! To learn more about Casey and his fantastic work, visit www.caseygendasonguidance.com!
As a part of our Israel elective, CITs learned about the Israeli government, current events in Israel, and how to advocate for Israel while in the U.S. In addition, CITs formed relationships with Israeli staff, learned about various programs they can do in Israel, and learned about different aspects of Israeli culture. Each week, the CITs sat with Shoval Rozenberg, our education director this past summer, who guided the weekly sessions for our CITs. Shoval has years of experience creating programs and leading discussions regarding Israel, making her the perfect person to lead this elective! CITs built relationships with many of our Israeli staff throughout this course, learning about their upbringing and time in the army. CITs also got to speak with people who grew up in the U.S. and later served in the IDF. During this elective, CITs spent a session learning how to advocate for Israel on campus and social media, which is now more crucial than ever.
As a part of our Volunteering elective, CITs created a community garden and renovated a community park in Woodcreek. We built mulch paths, placed metal tubs, and shoveled dirt to make flower beds to create a garden at Woodcreek City Hall. Later in the summer, CITs created walking paths, removed rocks, cacti, and weeds, and, beautified the park by organizing large stones along the paths, making the park look better than ever! Each group of CITs got to complete their project from start to finish and learned how volunteering their time could impact a community for years to come. Every time our CITs come back to Woodcreek, we hope they are reminded about their incredible work and re-inspires them to volunteer and beautify the world.