CIT Program – 2023


Our Counselor-in-Training (CIT) programs are designed for campers who are going into the 11th or 12th grade.  The basic/full CIT program consists of online classes and 4+ training weeks (Thu-Sat of Staff Orientation week and the 1st 4 weeks of camp). If the CIT is successful in the program she may be invited to stay for additional time (up to 5 additional weeks) during the camp season. There is a fee for the programs, but not for additional weeks.

Our “mini” CIT program consists of online classes and 2+ training weeks (Thu-Sat of Staff Orientation week and the first 2 weeks during the 3rd session) with the potential for being invited for one additional week. Please call us for clarification of either program or if neither of these options work for you.

Depending on how well someone does in the program, there is the possibility of being hired as a paid Junior Counselor or Counselor the following summer.              

CIT’s are selected based on their potential for becoming staff members in the future.  We expect a certain level of maturity, responsibility, people skills, flexibility and helpfulness before accepting someone into the program.  In certain cases we might defer acceptance until the following year, or we might
just recommend that it would be better to enroll in the program the following year, or we might accept someone for the ‘mini’ program and not the basic program.

CIT’s are trained in all areas of the camp operation:
Waterfront, camper guidance, night programs, crafts, kitchen and dining hall, maintenance and cleaning, sports activities, and more!  

If you have knowledge and skill in the riding area, you may also be trained as assistants for horse care and/or instruction.

Another possibility is working towards becoming lifeguard
and/or boating certified.

CIT’s also help out with office duties, such as horse show and bonfire planning, slide shows, taking pictures, etc.

CIT’s are generally given as much responsibility and opportunity as they are capable of and are interested in.
Although you have a unique role at camp, it is important  for you and your parents to understand that in many cases we treat you just as staff.  We expect high standards of behavior and dedication, and hope to aid you in developing responsibility and other life and work skills such as communication skills, problem-solving ability, etc.

The CIT program is not for everyone, and it’s totally different from being a camper.
We accept campers going into the 11th grade in September of 2023. You can postpone being a CIT for another year, or you may choose not to be a CIT at all. The cost of the 2023 full CIT program is $5400*. The cost for the “mini” program is $3000*. Please complete the camp registration and CIT application online. Although there is no specific deadline for applying we begin selecting our CIT’s in December, so please get your application in as soon as possible, as spaces are limited.  If you or your parents have any questions, please call.     

Frequently Asked Questions

How much riding time will I get?

Count on it averaging about 3 times a week. This may be concentrated more during the first 4 weeks. When riding you may be included in a camper lesson, a dedicated CIT lesson, a staff lesson, backing a trail ride or a supper ride, leading a group swimming with the horses, or in mock lessons taught by CITs designed to give CITs practice teaching.  Your riding time may also be increased by arranging extra lessons at the CIT rate of $30 for semi-privates or privates at $45.

What if I don’t want to stay extra weeks?

Staying the extra weeks is totally optional for the CIT. Sometimes it is beneficial to leave for a week or two and then return for a bit.

Will I get hired the following year?

That depends on how well you do in the CIT program, how well you interact with campers and other staff, and what area(s) of camp that you have demonstrated skill.  Riding and archery instructors must be 18 at the start of the summer. You may be hired to teach barn programs or help on trail rides, to work in the sports program, the arts & crafts program, the office, the kitchen, the waterfront, or a combination of these areas. Usually, the more skills and interests that you have, the more likely that you will be hired. It also depends to some extent on how many returning CIT’s are interested, because we only hire a certain percent of staff who are under 18. On occasion we hire 16 and 17-year-olds as junior staff.

In what ways will I be trained to be a counselor and to teach riding?

As in all areas of camp, you will spend some time shadowing staff so that you will become aware of what makes a good instructor/counselor. You will also assist staff in all areas and depending on your teaching and leading ability can start to take on more of the responsibilities of leading groups and instructing. Obviously, your skills will also influence which activities and groups you will lead.  For example, if you don’t know how to play soccer it’s unlikely you will be able to lead that activity or if you are an intermediate rider, then you will not be assisting with advanced riding groups. For the riding there is a program to broaden the knowledge that you have. The CHA clinic is a 5 day certification program run by a national organization that our riding staff attend prior to staff orientation. During the CIT program we do many of the activities of this 5 day course spread out over the course of the summer, for those interested. This gives you a chance to extend your knowledge of riding and teaching and gives you practice teaching lessons.

Oh, then am I eligible to take the actual CHA course with the riding staff before camp starts?

You need to be 18 in order to be certified as a Riding Instructor. If you are 16 you can be certified as an Assistant Instructor. If you are 16 we would offer the course to you for $500*. It includes books, meals, lodging, certification, and CHA membership. It is an excellent course and would be well worth it if you are interested and are available during the week of June 12.  You could also just audit the course for $250. Spaces are limited.

                                                        *Rates subject to change. *  860-872-4742  *  130 Sandy Beach road, Ellington CT 06029