You can hear the stomping of kids feet as they run around bases, a kick-ball is flying through the air. Justin Longo, (19’) spends his summer days here as a camp counselor for first graders at the Wilton YMCA. The organization is called Camp Gordyland which serves as a great place to keep children occupied as their parents go off to work. Camp Gordyland’s main goal is to create unforgettable memories with them; teaching them life skills through the various activities they provide. As a counselor Justin has to keep his head on a swivel while watching over hyper kids, still trying to teach them manners. It seems easy enough, but keeping a bunch of 6 year old’s attention while in between activ can be very irritating.
“We usually have 11 kids between two counselors, so having 2 sets of eyes watching over 11 kids you can easily see how it can get hard at times.”
But Justin enjoys his job because he gets to play and bond with the kids they move through the day. At Camp Gordyland the kids enjoy sports, swimming, arts and crafts, rope courses, and playgrounds; Justin tags along the 7 hour ride. It’s not just the playing aspect that Justin enjoys, but that at the end of the day he hopes he has impacted the lives of every child that he comes in contact with there.
“Although I enjoy playing with the kids, that's the least important aspect of my job. Watching over a bunch of kids you can start to see that they don't really understand how the world works so I hope I can help them with that”
Taking care of kids has always been a part of Justin’s life. His mother runs a daycare, so he has always been around young kids since he was one himself. Being around children for most of his life Justin understands a kid’s mindset and knows how to be patient with them.
“Justin has always helped the around the daycare over the years and i could see that he has an easier time interacting with kids than a ordinary person”, says his mother, Dawn Longo.
It not just the kids that justin bonded with while he was at Camp Gordyland - he has built friendships with his coworkers. Because the camp is in Wilton he had no friends working there originally so he was forced to make friends complete strangers.
“ It’s cool to have friends from a different town because they have different culture and lifestyle”
As his senior year is coming to a end Justin will continue to work at the Wilton YMCA this summer.