The Coniston CIT Program


The Coniston Camper-In-Training (CIT) program is a long-standing Camp tradition, and the majority of our senior campers apply for this special teen leadership program when they age-out of Camp.

The CIT program is for campers who have turned 16 years old by June 24th of their eligible summer. The program's focus is on personal leadership and development — the first step in the Camp’s leadership training series.

The requirements are rigorous and the training can be demanding, but the rewards are huge — developing and encouraging the responsibility and independence which is essential in our staff’s futures, both here at Coniston and in life at home.

Your senior camper will receive a CIT application during their session. Applications must be received by October 15th. Notifications are mailed November 15th.

CIT-age campers may also choose to participate in the Coniston Service Trips.

Program Eligibility

Campers must have turned 16 by June 24 to be eligible to be a CIT for that summer.

In addition, you must have particpated in at least one two week session, an adventure camp trip or a service trip to be eligible. Note: total amount of summers attended or family alumni status does not factor in the selection process.

International campers ARE eligible for CIT. Parents and campers should be aware that the following summer, foreign citizens not holding a US Passport, cannot apply for the 17-year old LIT staff position. You must be 18 to be eligible for a US J-1 Visa.

More about the CIT Program

If you ask your camper or any Conistonian: “Do you want to run into the lake?” the answer is always YES. This CIT rite of passage is a very emotional moment upon each return from Mount Washington and the West Coast. It is moments like these that make CIT spots highly desirable among our campers.

CIT Applications are passed out during the summer at camper information sessions and on Check-Out days to those who are interested. Please contact the office if you need an application mailed to you at a later time.

There is no deposit needed with the application. CIT applications are due in the office by OCTOBER 15TH. Notification letters are mailed November 15th.

A majority of senior campers apply and spaces are limited, and as a result we can only accept about half of the applicants each year.

There are 20 spots for East Coast CIT groups and 16 spots for West Coast CIT groups. The size of the CIT groups is based on a variety of factors such as group reservations for campsites, transportation space, and Coniston adopt-a-cabin spaces.

What Makes a Good CIT Applicant?

This is a tough question to answer. There is a different pool of applicants each year with different strengths, making it impossible to give a concrete answer.

Every applicant is a great camper who has attended for years and is well-liked; leaving small details to tip the scale in an individual’s favor. Our best advice is to take the application process seriously, and do your very best on every aspect of what you submit.

CIT Leadership Training Aspects

  • This is a 4-week leadership program where the focus is on personal leadership and teambuilding in regard to working with youth. CITs will shadow and teach in Coniston program areas and adopt a cabin where they role model for current campers.
  • CITs must plan to attend the full 4-weeks.
  • The program includes wilderness experiences and American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification Training which require a certain amount of fitness & strength.
  • West Coast CITs share time between being at Coniston & flying west with Coniston staff. One of the highlight excursions for this group is hiking in the Grand Canyon!
  • East Coast CITs are based at Coniston the entire 4 weeks. This program does various hikes and special trips with their directors around NH. The highlight excursion is backpacking on Mt. Washington!
  • CIT Directors will challenge the CITs to think about and discuss camper safety issues, homesickness strategies, appropriate boundaries, camper development issues and counselor techniques.
  • It is important to remember that CITs are still campers and not on staff. Their special leadership program is co-ed, and includes much autonomy. They are expected to demonstrate excellent behavior and positively role model to the traditional campers. They will be held accountable for any inappropriate actions.
  • Primary goals are to develop leadership, introduce safety awareness & encourage problem solving independence, which is essential in our future staff members.
  • The CIT daily routine in this co-ed program is much different than that of the other campers. If you have any questions about sibling interactions with CITs please contact us in the office.
  • Tips for the CIT Application Process

    • Meet the Deadline: October 15th – everything must be received in the office by that date - Because of the popularity of this program, many more applications are received than can be accepted. It does affect your acceptance if your application is late.
    • Read the Application carefully: everything you need to do is written on the application and this sheet.
    • Be sure your 3 letters of recommendation are done on time.
      • These letters should come from someone other than a family member who can provide us with information regarding your work with children and leadership potential. A teacher, coach, guidance counselor, mentor, club advisor, youth minister, rabbi, employer, volunteer organizer, etc are excellent recommendations.
      • Do not ask your most recent (current) cabin counselors, they provide a camper cabin report at the end of each session that will be reviewed. You may ask another camp staff person but the maximum of camp staff recommendations is ONE.
      • Please do not feel that you have to get a camp staff member to write you a recommendation.
      • Note: it is ok to staple your recommendations to the back of the application; they do not need to be sealed in separate envelopes. If they arrive separately and one is late – then your application is marked late.
    • Please do not mark sessions that you cannot accept.
    • Do not send a check/deposit with your application.
    • Notification letters will go out via US Postal Service on November 15th.
      • You will need to be patient for that letter, do not call the office unless an extended amount of time has occurred.
      • Not everyone makes CIT. We have wonderful campers, but there are limited CIT spaces.
      • Accepted CIT’s must complete and return the enrollment form with your $600 non-refundable deposit to enroll and follow the same payment & cancellation guidelines as traditional campers.

    Fees, Payments & Cancellations

    • East Coast CIT Program Fee 2019: $3,700
      This includes a Mt. Washington T-shirt during the hike, American Red Cross Lifeguard Training & book, CPR, and mid-month laundry.
    • West Coast CIT Program Fee 2019: $4,350
      This fee includes a souvenir T-shirt, American Red Cross Lifeguard Training & book, CPR, mid-month laundry and cost of airfare/transportation during the trip. WCITs can bring personal spending money for some extra souvenirs if desired, but this money should be held in the office while in Croydon.

    After you receive notification of acceptance, complete and return the enrollment form with your $600 non-refundable deposit by December 15th. 50% of balance is due by February 1st. Balance is due in full April 15th.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: Can I reapply to CIT if I don’t make it this year?
    A: No, you are unable to reapply for the CIT program. You can, however, apply to work at Coniston when you are 18+ and a high school graduate.

    Q: Can I apply for LIT staff if I am 17 and didn’t make CIT?
    A: No, the Leaders-in-Training program is only for CITs from the year before.

    Q: Is LIT a camper position or staff position?
    A: LIT is a full summer staff position with all the responsibilities of Coniston Staff. Note: non US Citizens must be 18 or older to attain a work visa. If a CIT does not have US Citizenship they may not be eligible for LIT the following year even if they get great evaluations.

    Q: Will I ever be able to work at Camp Coniston if I’m not a CIT or LIT?
    A: Yes, when you are 18+ and a high school graduate you can apply & interview for cabin counselor, maintenance, kitchen or another program position.

    Q: Can I get volunteer hours for being a CIT?
    A: No, Camper-In-Training is a leadership program run like an internship. It is a prerequisite to be hired for LIT staff the following year. CITs can sign up for Service Trips which are designated volunteer experiences and receive a certificate documenting volunteer hours.