CHHS Summer Standouts: Family and consumer sciences major gains valuable teaching experience as a camp counselor

Julia Buntin is smiling standing inside of a house. She is holding up a star with her name colored on it with several other colorful stars on the wall behind her

For Colorado State University family and consumer sciences major Julia Buntin, teaching children necessary skills comes naturally. “I have a passion for kids and education,” Buntin said. 

That passion led Buntin to CSU where she is in the teacher licensure program and working to hone her skills as a future teacher.  

This summer, Buntin is working as a camp counselor through KE Camps at Fort Collins Country Club. The FCCC Adventure camp is eight weeks long and is open to children ages 5-12, with a maximum of 25 kids each week.  

Buntin strives to relay what she has learned at CSU and provide students with tools to aid them in their development of different skills and character traits.

Valuable teaching experience

I applied for this position because I wanted to gain more experience working with kids in preparation for when I become a teacher,” Buntin said. 

As a camp counselor, Buntin holds several responsibilities revolving around planning, checking kids in, and guiding the campers through engaging activities, building social skills along the way. 

“Throughout the week, campers are encouraged to demonstrate the character traits of sportsmanship, mindfulness, inclusion, leadership, and enthusiasm,” Buntin said. “Each week at camp has a different theme, so each day includes leading different activities and crafts related to the theme which take up most of the day.”

Julia Buntin is standing outside holding up a green poster with information about the FCCC Adventure camp. The posted also had four pictures on it which show kids at the camp as well as the counselors.
Buntin holds a poster with information and images about the FCCC Adventure camp.

The various themes and activities, such as an Olympic theme where campers work together to make team flags and participate in relay races, are a fun way to promote these character traits. 

Buntin is learning what it takes to be an educator, constructing her style of teaching in a way that benefits the kids. 

“I aim for accommodation and choice so that the kids feel like they are taking control of their learning and participation. Additionally, I applied what I have learned about creating a culturally responsive environment so that each kid feels acknowledged, validated, and celebrated during their time at camp,” Buntin said.  

These facets of teaching require a high level of passion, something that Buntin possesses and implements in her work with the kids at the FCCC Adventure Camp. It shows her care for the children. 

“I have learned to empathize with each child and think about things from their perspective,” Buntin said. “You never know what a kid is going through so if they appear upset or frustrated about something minor such as a lost pool towel or a spilled water cup, their emotions are telling you that something more may be going on.”

The importance of empathy

While planning her future, Buntin was attracted to the Family and Consumer Sciences Program at CSU.  

I specifically chose FCS because I loved how applicable the content is,” Buntin said. 

This program has provided her with the capability to teach various skills and classes that are integral to her future as an educator. 

“I will be certified to teach more than just the typical classes associated with FCS. In addition to teaching students sewing and cooking, I can teach interior design, personal finance, healthy relationships, and child development,” Buntin said. 

With this expanded educational competency, Buntin has begun to seamlessly intertwine what she has learned at CSU with her own teaching style. 

“I am applying what I have learned from school about childhood and adolescent development as well as teaching strategies that enhance each child’s development and learning,” Buntin said. 

The work that Buntin is doing this summer not only provides the kids with valuable skills but has also allowed her to bolster the scope of her teaching style. She has learned valuable lessons and will continue to apply them to her future work. 

“The biggest lesson I will take home from this experience is that it is important to show empathy and understand where people are coming from, especially children. The compassion you show builds greater connections and relationships,” Buntin said. 

Family and Consumer Sciences is an undergraduate degree program offered by the School of Education, part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.