Counselor in Training Program

Camp PAL’s CIT program is a flexible, hands-on program designed to give your high schooler (entering 10th or 11th grade) early leadership experience that will make them competitive for future employment opportunities!

Many of our CITs have gone on to get successful jobs that showcase their leadership skills. Among them is our own senior staff counselor, David Nguyen. In summer 2017, our CIT class included Hannah, Tamding, and Rakvin, pictured above.

Before submitting an application, please review the CIT information below.


(you will be taken to a google form)

Program Description

Our CIT program is designed for past PAL campers who want to have a fun summer taking on new challenges, opportunities, and life skill learning, all while training alongside our Camp PAL staff.

Through this program, CITs will participate in targeted daily training using evidence-based and leadership techniques which will provide them with knowledge and confidence to be both a leader and a team member in a fun supervised setting.  CITs will have the responsibilities of organizing and running theme days, assisting in leading camp activities, and participating in other key activities that aid in the development of important life skills like communication, problem solving, and cooperation.

Cost: $250 per 2-week session

Desired CIT qualities

  • High energy
  • Interest in interacting with kids
  • Positive and cooperative attitude
  • Ability to work in a team setting
  • Knowledge of and commitment to the Camp PAL values


CIT applicants must:

  • Have completed 9th grade before the program begins. With special permission, students entering 9th grade will be considered but will not be eligible to work with their peer age group campers (i.e., The Power PALs).
  • Have attended Camp PAL for at least 2 years
  • Be able to attend camp for at least 2 consecutive weeks
  • Submit a completed the application form and submit it by March 1st. With special permission (and based on availability of spots) applications will be reviewed after March 1st.
  • In some cases, a follow up phone interview will be required.


Successful participants will come away from this experience with the leadership skills and hands on training necessary for future employment. At the conclusion of the program, they will receive an evaluation report assessing their performance, and be able to list Camp Play-A-Lot staff as references for future academic or professional opportunities.


Do CIT’s ever get a break? Yes! Every day we will give our CITs free time to participate in a camp activity as a “camper” or create their own CIT games or activities. We strongly believe that a key element to being successful in any role is getting to bond with your coworkers in a fun, laidback setting. Also, CITs participate in all camp field trips, activities, and are provided snacks.

What future jobs would a CIT position help me with? Beyond the obvious youth- related positions (babysitter, camp counselor, sport coach, tutor) skills learned from the CIT program are transferrable to many future positions. We have seen past CITs go on to become moderators of school clubs, captains of sports teams, or student government officials. CIT positions also are a great segue way into internship opportunities during high school, as well as leadership positions in college that are collaborative (resident advisor, student recreation center worker, etc.).

Does everyone who applies get accepted to be a CIT? No. Our Counselor in Training program is very selective. We have high expectations for the participants and want to make sure anyone we accept will be successful in the program and represent Camp PAL with dignity and pride. We are looking for people committed to Camp PAL’s values and demonstrate a positive, cooperative, and energetic attitude. Spots are also based on how many campers are in each age group.

What are the hours of the CIT program? We expect our CITs to get to camp by 9am and stay through the conclusion of formal activities at 3:30pm.

When will I know if I am accepted into the program? You will find out mid- to late March.

Any questions? Contact Jenn Jacobs at

(773) 875-2587
Philip Rogers Elementary School
7345 N. Washtenaw Chicago, IL 60645