New Staff Information - 2022


We are so excited that you will be joining our Coniston staff team this summer! We have created this page to help you feel as prepared as possible for the upcoming summer! 

Our new staff members come from all over the world and work in all different positions at Coniston, from working in-cabin, working with the horses, taking campers on trips across the USA and working in the kitchen. 

This page should answer a lot of your questions, but if you have any queries/concerns please contact us!

Mexican staff

How our Summer Runs

Our overnight Camp runs for four two-week sessions (named session 1-4) and a one-week session at the end of the summer referred to as session 5. Most of our campers only stay for one session, but some choose to stay for two. 

Each session, we welcome 172 boy campers and 202 girl campers. That is a grand total of 374 campers!!

Our campers are split into three divisions based on their age:

  • The junior division consists of the youngest campers who have complete 2nd-4th grade (8-9 years old). 
  • The middler division campers have completed 5th-7th grade (10-12 years old). 
  • The senior division campers have generally complete 8th-10th grade (13-15 years old).

There are several trips throughout the summer that older campers can choose to do instead of/as well as overnight camp. These trips include adventure camp trips and service trips.

There are also three CIT programs where 16-year old campers go away on a trip and spend a total of 4 weeks with Coniston learning how to become a counselor.

CITs have been accepted to a competitive leadership program designed to train them to be future staff members. They are 16 years old and have been campers before (many for quite a few years). They come to Coniston for four weeks at a time. A group of CITs will come for sessions 1&2, and then a following group CITs will come for sessions 3&4.

There are three groups of CITs, West Coast CITs (W-CITs), East Coast CITs (E-CITs) and North Coast CITs (N-CITs).

West Coast CITs travel to the west coast of the US to hike and camp in several National Parks for 10 days during the first section of their experience. 

East Coast CITs go on a canoeing trip down the Connecticut River followed by hiking Mount Washington during the third week of their experience.

North Coast CITs hike Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in the U.S. state of Maine.

There is a tradition when the CITs return from their trips. The entire camp lines up on main lawn to await their return. When they pull in, the CITs and their leaders run into the lake at snorkeling with “Eye Of The Tiger” playing in the background. As funny as this sounds, most campers dream of the day they run into the lake. It is very fun to watch!  

The CITs will be assigned to a cabin and program areas. They will shadow cabin counselors and program leaders but will sleep in their designated CIT cabin. CITs are still paying to come to camp and are therefore still campers. They should NEVER be left alone with campers.

During their final week, all CITs take the American Red Cross Lifeguarding Course to become certified in Lifeguarding and CPR/First Aid.

These are 17-year-old first-year staff members that have been accepted back following the CIT program. 

The LITs spend one month in cabin, two weeks working in program, and two weeks working in the kitchen. 

LITs are paid staff members.

While these staff members are still learning to be great camp leaders, the expectations for them are much higher than those put on CITs (the same as any other counselor AND YOU!!)

There are seven adventure trips throughout the summer. This is another option for older campers who want to experience Coniston but in a different way. 

Most of the trips are a week long with the exception of an extended adventure trip which is 10 days long. On the trips campers get to try out things like white water rafting, rock climbing, ziplining, hiking and kayaking. 

Three staff members lead each adventure trip.

These trips are:

  • Quebec Quest
  • Acadian Odyssey
  • Coastal Navigator
  • Northern N.E. Explorer
  • Green Mt. Explorer
  • Maine Voyager
  • Quebec Extended Adventure

There are two service trips throughout the summer offered for campers high school aged. These special trips are designed to take the Coniston Spirit on the road, to help those less fortunate than ourselves and to help our local community.

Projects from previous summers include working on a Habitat for Humanity house in the mountains of West Virginia, working with the City Mission Society of Boston aiding our local homeless population and volunteering with Feeding America at a Food Bank in the mountains of Virginia.

On every trip, participants will volunteer for a week, and then participate in fun-filled activities special to that location, including whitewater rafting, hiking and travel.

Your Summer at Coniston

If you are a staff member from abroad,  you will fly in to Boston Logan Airport where one of our Camp staff will greet you. They will be holding a Camp Coniston sign so look out for that!

All of our international staff will arrive on June 8th, for a week of getting to know eachother. We will take you on lots of fun trips, to help you get to know the local area! Trips we’ve done in the past include: Quechee Gorge, a day trip to Boston, visiting the White Mountains, a day at the beach in Maine and a trip to Sunapee harbor. We will also visit shops multiple times this week incase you need to pick anything up!

Our local staff will arrive the following week, and you will have time to meet your co-workers and spend some time getting to know your program areas/job roles. Throughout this week there will be activities in the evening such as our ‘smore’s social’ and an all staff cookout where you will get to know the returning staff members.

All staff will then take part in a week of staff training. We cover topics such as child abuse, homesickness, mental health and emergency procedures.

These first two weeks are so much fun and a great time to meet lots of new people who you will be working with all summer.

If you are an in-cabin counselor you will stay in a wood cabin with at least one other staff member and a group of campers. You will meet your co (the other staff member living with you) during staff week before the campers arrive so you will have some time to get to know them.

It will be your responsibilities to wake your campers up in the morning and make sure they’re ready to go to flag before breakfast (staff tend to use a speaker and music to wake up their campers).

During the day you will go to your program area(s) and teach for four periods, two before lunch and two after lunch.

During free times you may be on coverage so will be allocated to monitor a particular area of Camp and when you’re not you can use this time to spend with your campers.

You and your co will eat meals with your campers.

If you are out of cabin, you will live in housing with other out of cabin staff members. If you are on a program area, you will teach that for four periods a day.

OVERNIGHTS –  you will spend your overnight day prepping food and getting the overnight packs ready that cabins will take out to their overnights. You will also kayak or hike out to check on the cabins that have gone on their overnight spots and help them if they need a hand with getting the fire started etc. 

HORSEBACK – you will teach for four periods, and will also do any feeding, cleaning etc at other points in the day. 

KITCHEN – you will have a slightly different schedule to the other staff. (Please see kitchen section further down)

Anyone out of cabin can choose to adopt a cabin, which is a great thing to do! If you choose to do this, it basically means that you will become another counselor for that cabin of campers. You can spend as much time with them as you like! If you’re available, you can sit with them during mealtimes. You can also join in with the evening activities with your adopted cabin, and any of your free time can be spent with them.

Every staff member gets a day off each week (one 26-hour and one 36-hour). If you are a cabin counselor your days off will be assigned for you in the form of being on ‘A-day off’, ‘B-day off’ or ‘C-day off’. Kitchen days off will be determined through the kitchen staff. If you are out-of-cabin, you may choose your day off as long as your program areas and any other camp responsibilities are properly covered. 

You should figure out who else has the same day off as you, since people will usually be willing to give you rides or might be doing something fun that you can join in on! We will also give you lots of ideas that you can do for you time off.

Keep an ear out for announcements for “Option A” to meet after a meal- this is when staff will be planning for their day off. Sometimes staff gets clever and makes it “Option Avocado” or another word that starts with the letter ‘A’ when calling a meeting.

If you are an in-cabin counsellor you should never leave camp while your co-counselor is on their day off or off camp. One member of the cabin needs to be on camp at all times in case of an emergency. This includes free time and when you are off-duty at night.

You will also get time off every evening (unless you have coverage) from 9:30pm until 12am. A lot of people choose to use this time to hang out with their friends in the dining hall. This is a great time of day to unwind and catch up with other members of staff.

We get paid every two weeks (at the end of every session).

You will be given a safe box with a lock combination to store any valuables or important documents.

Taxes are taken out of every pay check. At the end of the summer make sure your “gross” pay is the same as your contract.

Explore our Daily Schedule page to find out what a Coniston day has in store!


Check out these videos to get a glimpse of Coniston!

Check out our Social Media Platforms! @YMCACampConiston on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.