Understanding the ASIT Program
A Deep Dive

Let’s talk about  the ASIT Program at Cub Creek!


For some of you, this has been on your horizon for years! You’ve had a camper who is excitedly chomping at this opportunity for years. For others this could be the first time you are hearing about this- and that’s okay! This email is a DEEP dive into Cub Creek’s premier Leadership Program and is intended to give the information that all rising and hopeful future ASITs (and parents) should know.


Click the links below to navigate through this email and answer the questions most commonly asked about the program and how campers are invited ( links may not work on iPhones). After reading this email, if you have questions about the program, please send an email to Ari at marketing@bearriverranch.com or read more on the ASIT Information page on our website.

** Please take some time with your child to read this email and go through the questions. More information and FAQs can be found on the ASIT Information page on our website.

What are the BASIC Qualifications for being an ASIT?

All ASITs MUST be a high schooler at their time as an ASIT (finished at least the 9th grade). That means that all eligible campers being invited for 2022 should have entered the 9th grade this Fall. All ASITs are former Cub Creek campers, having attended camp as a camper for at least one year.

What exactly is the ASIT Program?


At Cub Creek, our teen-leadership program is called the ASIT (Animal Specialist in Training) Program. Originally, ASITs worked mostly with our animals and animal team, as the name implies. But over the years we have found that many of our ASITs wish to become counselors and are wonderful representatives of the “camp experience” for our campers. This led to them having more time devoted to working with campers and spending time with camper cabins.


ASITs have opportunities to express and develop leadership and communication skills throughout the day by working alongside counselors for a cabin, assisting in camp’s activities, and occasionally helping during Evening Activity.  


First and foremost, ASITs are role models at camp. They abide by and uphold camp rules; they are kind to others and are willing to meet someone new; and they are enthusiastic about camp. 


ASITs aren't just "extroverts"- it takes all kinds of personalities to make camp what it is. However, all ASITs should be willing to be silly and/or step out of their comfort zone in order to help enrich another’s camp experience. 

Why am I getting this email?


We are sending this email to all families with campers 13+. Firstly, we have some campers who are 13/14 going into Freshman year. Secondly, we want campers who are on the edge of the ASIT-age who hope to be an ASIT one day to know what we are looking for. If you are getting this email and you are a current ASIT- you can disregard.

How are campers invited to the Program?


Ari, camp’s Assistant Director, over sees the Cub Creek ASIT Program.  She and camp are looking for enthusiastic, caring, responsible, and mature campers who can carry on the legacy of camp’s ASIT program with integrity and pride.


Campers are recommended to the Program by their cabin counselors, that year’s ASIT Leaders, and camp’s Director Team. In addition, we take into account their participation in our Leadership activities (LIT course and ASIT for a Day) and we hope to hear from them regarding their interest in the Program in a Letter of Interest.


Counselors determine a camper’s readiness for the Program based on 8 criteria: Judgement, Dependability, Communication Skills, Teamwork, Leadership, Language, Camp Rules, and Participation. Each camper who is eligible for the program is evaluated on these criteria by their cabin counselors.


After evaluating each eligible camper’s cabin recommendation, we then see if a camper participated in camp’s LIT ( Leaders in Training) Program and took the class ASIT for a Day- a look into the life of an ASIT with some skill assessing activities. Taking either or both of these enhances  their chances of receiving an invitation. ASIT Leaders give their feedback from ASIT for a Day and the LIT Instructor gives her feedback from the LIT course allowing campers another chance to be positively recommended.


The last, and sometimes most impactful, basis for invitations is the ASIT Letter of Interest. Campers who took the time to write camp letting us know why they are wanting to be an ASIT are given preference when it comes to invitations. Knowing why campers are hoping to be ASITs and what impact they can see themselves providing to the program (and how the Program can help them) is a critical piece to the puzzle. Furthermore, we want to invite ASITs who want to be ASITs! The letter helps us focus on those who are showing their interest in the Program. 


After checking for notes and “Yes” recommendations from their cabins, seeing if they participated in LIT or ASIT for a Day and received a “Yes” recommendation, checking if they have sent camp an ASIT Letter of Interest , Directors then make their final recommendations. Ari uses prior camper history, personal and witnessed interactions, and the camp staff’s notes to put together the invitation list.


There will be rounds of invitations for ASITs. Because space is limited, the campers who received the highest amount of “Yes” recommendations, show the skills needed for this Program, and have written a supporting letter of Interest are invited first.

Do we pay to be an ASIT?


ASIT Tuition is the same cost as Camper tuitions, but the deposit is $250 per week. Because we are only inviting ASITs, when their space is dropped, it can't be filled by just "anyone"  and therefore the deposits require more commitment.


From what you’re reading, it may seem like ASITs are like counselors! We assure you they are not. Our counselors go through 2 weeks of training to get ready for camp and are expected to handle all camper related needs/issues both independently and with a team.


ASITs are still campers who have their own counselor and privileges that are different than the camper program. We are helping to develop leadership skills, grow a passion for animal science/ childcare and giving them experience in that field. Even the ASITs who don’t have a passion to work with animals or children in the future are amassing invaluable skills. ASITs walk away from camp with MANY service hours that are able to be used towards school or future endeavors. We allow them chances to grow skills in working with animals and children in a supervised and guided environment of camp. 


At the end of the day, they are campers! So, their camp experience is special to us! Their ASIT Leaders are dedicated to making special events for them and making sure camp is focused on their happiness, too.

When will we know if we have been invited?


For 2022, invitations will emailed out to families by the end of September! There is a registration date given for each invitation that tells you when Registration is open for the ASIT Program. * Please follow that registration date! Registrations created before their given date will be disregarded. *


We recently decided to go paperless for invitations, so we will not be sending any paper invitations by the mail.


There will be a final email sent out in October to all 13+ campers when the Invitation process has been completed.

What happens if we do not get an invitation?


The invitation process is so incredibly hard! We wish there was space and time to have more chances for campers to experience the ASIT Program. But the truth is, not all eligible campers will receive an invitation. If this happens to your hopeful camper, please don’t let this stop them from returning to camp! There are current and former ASITs who didn’t get into the Program on their first eligible year! Many of them have even said that coming back to camp that year gave them a clear path to the ASIT program.; they were aware of their areas for growth and what they needed to get a step closer to the ASIT program.


The ASIT Program does not define a camper’s ability for success at camp. There are many campers at camp who recognize that the ASIT program’s responsibilities are just not for them. And we applaud that recognition ! We love when campers enjoy Cub Creek’s Program enough to experience that again and again. We always need leaders in the senior cabins who are a part of our general camper program.


There are also other avenues to express and grow leadership qualities. To read more about our Leadership Opportunities, please read more about Leader in Training at Cub Creek and about Animal Camp Jamaica’s leadership opportunities.


All campers who do not get an invitation for camp’s ASIT Program but who wrote a Letter of Interest will receive a personal letter from Ari. This letter is intended to give them specific feedback , provide encouragement and give them direction. 

What if my camper isn’t ready/ doesn’t want to do the Program?


Whether your camper, you, or we think your camper is not ready for the ASIT Program that should not end their time at Cub Creek! Campers come to camp until they are 17! If your camper thinks that ASIT is not for them, that’s fine! Matter of fact, we have several campers who choose not to be ASITs. They enjoy camp’s regular program and/or they just don’t want to have to take on the responsibilities that the ASITs have. We would rather have campers who want to be ASITs, not who feel like it’s what they have to do.


If they don’t get invited this Fall and they were hoping to get into the Program, we still want to see them back at camp. Becoming an ASIT does not define a camper’s success or potential here at camp. There are always ways to grow and develop leadership skills here at camp outside of the ASIT Program. If they didn’t take the Leaders in Training course, we encourage them to do so. They develop projects in the course that we think have great potential and they’re also discussing and working on skills that help guide them towards becoming an ASIT.

What is different in comparison to the General Camper Program?


ASITs start their mornings helping the animal team do morning rounds. This gives all our ASIT specialized training and access to the animal area that is not offered to our general campers! All ASITs report to morning rounds at 7 am. ASITs also have opportunities to express and develop leadership and communication skills throughout the day by working along side counselors for a cabin, assisting in camp’s activities, and occasionally helping during Evening Activity.


ASITs come into camp on Saturday evening to help prepare for check in. Remember those campers in maroon shirts this summer who were all around camp? Those were the ASITs! They come in Saturday to start orientation, get to know their small team, and prepare for check in. ASIT sessions end on the same day and time as general camper program.


Deposits for ASITs are also $250 per week instead of the camper’s $100 per week. Because we select and invite campers to this program and filling positions is more complex than the general camper program, we ask that families understand their commitment when they sign up.


 Lastly, ASITs have privleges that general campers do not including a special lounge and use of their cellphones at camp. 

What is the timeline for this year's ASIT Invitation Season?


September 21- Extended Deadline for Letters of Interest. Many campers have already sent in their letters! We are extending the deadline to this day for any campers who would like to submit. Email all letters to marketing@bearriverranch.com. An email is being sent out specifically about letters, so look out for that.


September 30th and Oct 1-  Email Invitations Sent Out! All families will get an email if their camper has been invited. Emails without replies back to uswill be followed up on to make sure it was recieved. *Please reply if you get an invitation email.*


October 6th through 8th- Registration for 1st Year ASITs.  Your Invitation email will explain registration- please read it carefully and entirely. 


October 18th  to 22nd - Letters to Uninvited Campers . All campers who wrote in letters to camp expressing their interest but who were not invited will receive a mailed letter from Ari.

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