Music and nature counselors earn Week One award


Emily Horak, left, of Jamestown, N.Y., and Kurt Wissing of Buffalo, N.Y., receive the “Counselors of the Week Award” from the Boys’ and Girls’ Club. Photo by Megan Tan.

Patrick Hosken | Staff Writer

Amidst the chaos of lunchtime at the Youth Activities Center, two Boys’ and Girls’ Club counselors stood out as recipients of the prestigious “Counselors of the Week” award.

Emily Horak, a nature counselor from Jamestown, N.Y., and Kurt Wissing, a music counselor from Buffalo, N.Y., were Week One’s winners.

Horak, 27, said her job allows her to explore two things she loves — teaching and being outdoors.

“It’s a really great opportunity, so they feed off my energy just as much as I feed off theirs,” Horak said.

Wissing, 23, said he enjoys being able to have fun with his Groups 1–8 girls and Groups 1–5 boys.

“I think once you have fun with them, it doesn’t seem like a job anymore,” Wissing said. “It’s a good gig.”

Wissing brought his acoustic guitar, a mandolin, a tambourine, some shakers and other instruments for his kids to experiment with. He teaches group cheers and different songs in his music class, along with some “rhythm play.”

His kids are currently learning “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas.

Horak takes her Groups 1–5 boys and girls on the trails and the woods around the grounds. She likes to teach short indoor lessons — such as the difference between living and nonliving things — then highlight those lessons by going outside.

Whether entering their first season at Club (like Wissing) or their third (like Horak), counselors of all experience levels are open to be named “Counselor of the Week.” With eight more weeks to go, anyone could win. Stay tuned.