If you are like many college students, you may be focused on finding internships and summer employment within your future field. People may steer you away from working at camp by suggesting you need to find a more “serious” summer job.
In reality, working at camp will prepare you in many ways for the “real world”; you just need to be able to express what you learned and how the experience prepared you to be successful in your next job.
As camp staff, you have acquired the important skill of being able to communicate effectively with children, parents, co-workers and supervisors. You have learned to express expectations, empathy and compassion clearly. In a society where face-to-face communication skills are getting weaker and weaker, you have learned to be an excellent communicator.
Every staff member at camp works closely with one another to ensure the very best experience for each and every camper. You have learned to work with people of different abilities, talents and gifts towards a common goal. You have the understanding that you cannot do everything alone and this allows you to accept help from others and to offer assistance. The ability to be a team player is extremely necessary in whatever career you choose.
Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
By the time you have spent just one day working at camp, you know that you have to practice flexibility and adaptability. Leadership at camp work hard to keep things scheduled and organized but even the very best plans can be turned upside down unexpectedly. Camp staff are able to think on their feet and instantly (and creatively) come up with a new plan which is often even more fun than the first!
The very definition of a camp counselor is to be a leader. Counselors are responsible for a group of campers and their daily needs. They spend their days teaching, encouraging and motivating the campers in their groups to try new things, meet a goal or work together. These leadership skills are invaluable in all professions.
Camp staff tend to be empathetic people; after all, they are choosing a job that requires them to put the needs of other people over their own each and every day. Even so, in caring for campers, valuing their perspectives and showing compassion, empathy in camp staff continues to develop. Empathy is the foundation for future success – relationally and professionally – because it helps us connect with others which is imperative for success in the work force (and life!)
A summer spent at camp teaches staff how to handle just about anything from camper illness, leading group games and helping a camper who is afraid of thunderstorms – all at the same time! A day at camp is never easy and staff manage it all with a smile and good cheer. Camp counselors are given daily feedback and are able to bounce back and incorporate the necessary changes.
One would be hard pressed to think of a more important job than caring for someone else’s child. Camp staff show an incredible work ethic. They are up early each and every day and are working full time hours each week. Counselors are required to pay attention to every detail ensuring that allergies, sunscreen application and camper belongings are all taken care of each day. One miss could cause pain, illness or upset (or all three!). Camp counselors are constantly trying new things and often eager to learn new activities or leadership skill. While camp leadership are supervising and supporting staff, counselors have to be self-starters willing to take initiative and be accountable with what happens in their group or activity areas.
Use your summer camp experience to your benefit by sharing the amazing skill set you’ve acquired that simply cannot be replicated elsewhere.