Sunday Snippet: The Value of Being a Camp Counselor!
Without exception, being a camp counselor is one of the most valuable experiences one can have. As we travel the camp staff recruiting circuit, we often hear that students can earn more money elsewhere. Yes, that can be true, but a closer look reveals that the short term financial gain of a higher paying job is far outweighed by the long term benefits of taking on the leadership and mentorship experiences that camp work provides. And employers appreciate the greater depth of skills, character, and experience that former camp staff offer in a wide variety of careers!
There is a fallacy afloat that suggests that a camp job is not ‘real’ work. The reality however is that when one works at camp one is working within a real living, breathing, dynamic community. A community of people who need support, services, education, and love. Not sure that can be said about working in a fast-food joint or fetching coffee in an office setting! Working within this vibrant camp community provides the staff member the opportunity to acquire and develop the following skills (American Camp Association, Project Real Job, 2019).
One will be required to communicate effectively with people at every level of the organization — campers, fellow staff, camp directors, and parents
CRITICAL THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING
One will be challenged to think on one’s feet to resolve issues from the health and safety of children to how to get 12 campers to make their beds each morning
INTERPERSONAL AND LEADERSHIP SKILLS
One will model professionalism and compassion by managing a group of campers, while contributing to the growth and development of each individual participant
COLLABORATIVE SKILLS One will receive on-the-ground, practical, real life training in how to work with a team and help build the culture of your camp community
CREATIVITY One will develop innovative and fun ways to engage an audience of two to 200
Investing in yourself by working at camp will provide long term benefits for life!
When camp directors choose to hire a new staff member, they are not simply filling a position or covering a shift. Just like their care and concern for their campers, they take great care in helping each staff member achieve their potential as a leader and role model! Training is not only provided prior to the arrival of the campers, training, guidance, and mentoring continues throughout the summer. By helping each staff member become their best selves, the experience of the campers is enhanced as well!
Camp experiences can be easily translated for one’s resume.
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Taking a more practical and immediate perspective, it is important to point out that camp staff have virtually no expenses while working at camp. They are provided a place to live and all of their meals at no cost to them. Parking is free and better yet, there is no commute! And laundry service is provided. Yes, staff will have nights and days off where they will have the opportunity to go to town and spend some of their hard-earned money, but if they are disciplined they should be able to arrive home at the end of the summer with all they have earned! If one does the math (comparing a smaller salary with no expenses against more money but more expenses) one may be pleasantly surprised how much further their camp money will go.
But most importantly, although a camp staff member may arrive at the beginning of the summer hoping to make some money while having some fun. She will undoubtedly leave a changed and better person as a result of the overall experiences she has gained. Camp is much more than the activities. It is truly about the relationships that have been forged working and playing together. The leadership, networking, 21st-century skill-building, diverse and global experiences, professional development, trainings, and certifications will lead to greater opportunities in the future. A job at camp is a long-term investment in oneself!
Thanks for reading and have a great week everyone!