The Best Bedtimes - First Class Counsellors #6

Because bedtime is still program time.

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Welcome to episode 6 of First Class Counsellors!

We’re back with more First Class Counsellors! We’re borrowing some rent from the CampHacker Podcast for the start of this season, but we’ll be in our own space soon, so hang tight!

This is a Podcast by young Camp Pros for even younger Camp Pros. Camp Directors, these podcasts are meant for you to train your staff on the little things; the bits of common knowledge that you don’t have time to stuff into staff training, but wish you could.

This season, we are going to really focus in on tangible skills for camp counsellors. Transition times, making meals special, leading games, etc. Our goal is to take the best counselling tips that camp directors and leaders have gathered in their careers and give them away to camp counsellors, for free.

To start off this season, our hosts Matt Honsberger and Oliver Gregan discuss all things bedtime. New camp counsellors may have never had the experience of trying to get a kid to go to bed. Even if they have babysitting with one or two kids, counsellors are 100% in charge of getting 6-10 kids ready for, and in bed, happily, and on time.

It’s. Not. Easy. Let’s get learning!


As usual, we hope that what we offer to your staff is incredibly useful. If you do send this along, we would be happy to hear about it. Please let us know by emailing Matt at


Get Ready - Counsellors, do this NOW to level up your counselling skills

  • Oliver: Go offline for two whole days. No screens. Make sure its during normal life too, not on a weekend when you are going on a camping trip anyways. Try to see what it feels like when your campers do it. Journal about it for the three days, one for the day you have your phone back. 

  • Matt: Work on your bedtime routine. Figure out what works for you and how you can apply it to camp next summer

Host Links

What is First Class Counsellors?

Camp Directors, this Podcast won’t be for you. It’s time to delegate! First Class Counsellors will be for your counselling staff, or, the staff who are on the ground, playing with kids and changing lives.

Each week, we will hear from young camp directors and leaders to draw out practical and accessible tips that will level up their counsellor skills.

Our two hosts, Oliver Gregan, Summer and Families Camp Director at YMCA Camp Jewell and Matt Honsberger, Camp Director at Pearce Williams Summer Camp are excited to be able to provide this resource to camp counsellors and up and coming staff, who they believe, have the most important job at camp.

This is free professional development for your counsellors! We would love your feedback. Please leave your comments below, or, send Matt an email! Thank you!

Bonus Resource - Thanks for reading the show notes!

Matt and Oliver’s Bed-Time Routine for Counsellors

The Door

  1. Campers can’t open the cabin door

  2. Set the schedule, and time limits

  3. 5 min bunk time (When you first walk in)

    1. 5 minutes to shoes off, use the bathroom (if it’s in the cabin) drop your bag off at your bunk and then meet up.

    2. It’s important to take this time to collect yourself

  4. 3 Parts that can be interchangeable:

    1. Cabin chats

      1. Debrief the day, bad days can be improved, good days can be cemented

      2. Devotions or processing tools - Use adventure programming resources,

    2. Clean the bodies

      1. Shower schedule, Toothbrush chart with stickers, breath checks, change into Pjs 

      2. Matt - Pro-Tip, if you don’t have a bathroom in your cabin and have to transport get a cabin shower caddie with ziplock bags for toothbrushes and toothpaste especially.

    3. Structured unstructured time or ETB

      1. Card games, look them up on youtube. 

      2. Board games

      3. Never can tells

      4. Appropriate conversation

      5. Interacting with campers

  5. Nightly ritual - The in bed time

    1. Set it up and explain the why, 

    2. Song, book, short story, poem. Can be the same poem every night if you memorize it. Last 2-4 minutes. Campers know to be quiet, sometimes campers can do it.

  6. Flashlight time 

    1. : At a set time, everything is quiet, campers can read, or write a note or anything that doesn’t disturb others

    2. : This is a privilege and can be gained or lost

  7. Lights out

    1. This was set at the door, it does not change.

    2. Stay in the cabin until kids are asleep