Counselor-in-Training Program details

Outline of the CIT Teen Leader Program

Counselor-in-Training Focus Camp
for Teens Only (grades 8-12)

Objectives. The objectives of the program are for each teenager to gain personal competence, confidence, resilience, and a sense of responsibility in today’s world. Goals for the CIT are to compare and contrast various leadership styles, to learn how to interact with others in a positive way, to train to become a children’s group leader, to develop skills in teaching various activities by assisting, and to feel the satisfaction of community service. The Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program at The Colorado Mountain Ranch offers teenagers the opportunity to work and play with other teens in an upbeat, wholesome, active and fun outdoor setting within a supportive community.


Teen Group Counselor. An experienced and mature senior staff counselor with a "teen-friendly" personality supervises and guides the group of teenagers. This counselor is both a specialist in working with young adults and an instructor in nature immersion, outdoor living skills, and team enhancement. Through exercises and games in sensory awareness of nature and environmental appreciation, the teenagers become more comfortable in their places in the natural world. The counselor serves as facilitator in team-building ropes course activities, as well as goal-setting and evaluation. There are also weekly workshops in leadership skills development, values clarification, and the experience of real community. Kate Saylor, camper, CIT, and staff alumna again joins Josie Walker leading the teens this summer.

Mentoring. Every week, each CIT works directly with a mentoring senior staff member. The CIT learns to assist either with a group of younger children or with teaching an activity. New CITs usually orient to the camp and programs by beginning with a group counselor as mentor. This involves working with a consistent group of younger children, experiencing the whole variety of camp activities, and meeting the whole staff. During subsequent weeks, the CITs choose their mentors and areas of assistance. The week culminates with feedback and assessment of individual performance and growth. The CIT program brings young people a step closer to taking on job responsibilities and moving into the future with purpose.

Time in Nature. Teenagers benefit from the balancing effect of less-structured time in nature as they maintain trails and go along on the mountain hikes and optional overnight campouts each week. Hiking challenges their physical and mental abilities while they enjoy activity outdoors with peers. The campouts give first-hand experience of a community working together for a successful time outdoors. They work collectively to pitch tents in the woods by a stream or lake and cook over an open fire or camp stove. Benefits include practicing safety and survival skills. Games, stories, music, and friendship around the evening campfire are highlights.


Connection with Horses. Some of the horse program personnel (wranglers) are sometimes available to be weekly mentors. Mentoring a wrangler gives the CIT the experience of every aspect of working with the animals. Riding time is much less than as a Horse Focus Camper as the CIT learns to help and actually assists with all facets of daily care, including grooming, tacking, and mucking. For those teenagers who do mentor wranglers, experiences in relationship with horses can offer insight to self and comprehension of real-life interaction with all other living things. Many CITs discover that horses are unique in how they mirror human feelings and characteristics.

Community Service At the end of each person’s participation in the program, all CITs receive a documentation of community service hours for the weekly service project and time spent assisting mentors, usually 10 hours per week.

Daily General Camp Schedule

7:45-8:30 Check-in time and games at North Boulder Park
9:15 Busses arrive at The Colorado Mountain Ranch for the Morning Gathering, introductions, flag raising, songs, and announcements
10:00 Activity Period
11:00 Activity Period
12:00 Lunch with peers in the Main Lodge with senior staff (CIT’s bring their own Lunches.)
12:30 Open time for visiting, the camp store, games, music, stories, and gymnastics
1:00 Activity Period
2:00 Activity Period
3:00 Afternoon CIT Meeting for a debrief of the day
3:30 Flag-lowering
3:45: Bus leaves The Ranch
4:30-5:15: Games and Check-out at North Boulder Park


  • Morning CIT counselor facilitates introductions, orientation, goal setting, team-building and discussion of mentoring options
  • Afternoon Assisting with mentors
  • Service project of choice, assisting with mentors
  • Optional full day excursion or assisting with mentors
  • Optional overnight mountain campout
  • Morning Campout or assisting with mentors
  • Afternoon Assisting with mentors
  • Recreational group activity of choice
  • Overnight Optional overnight with in-camp evening special event
  • Assisting with mentors
  • Afternoon Meeting for end-of-week processing, leadership workshop, values clarifications, feedback, evaluations, and future planning
  • End-Of-week Honoring Gathering