May 15, 2021
What’s the best summer job you can get as a college student? That depends on what you want to do with your life. Do you plan on working with other people? You won’t get very far with sub-par communication skills, and you won’t be a team player or a leader if you don’t get practical experience. Do you want a high paying job where you can make a difference? You need to learn how to serve others and help them succeed. Do you want to make connections with people who are motivated and take their lives seriously? Do you want to be challenged but still have fun?
Yes, summer camp. Summer camp is a great place to develop these “soft skills” that are in such high demand. You’ll be surrounded by kids ages 7-16 all day long, every day, and you’ll be the center of their universe. You will be a role model. Your challenge is to live up to the expectations placed upon you by their parents. You need to bring your A game from sunrise to sundown. You need to smile, be patient, think about things from the other person’s perspective, and be content putting others before yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about them.
Working at summer camp as a college student will provide you with more stories than anyone you know — the real world experience you need for your future interviews. At camp you’ll build confidence and character — you’ll be challenged to grow in a way no corporate internship can. So, what kind of experience do you need to be a counselor?
If you’re thinking about becoming a camp counselor, one of the biggest questions you might be asking yourself is: what if I didn’t go to camp? The answer: no problem. If you didn’t attend camp growing up, it’s no big deal!
It is important that you are okay working with children, because that is what you will be doing, but if you don’t have a plethora of experience it’s not the end of the world. A camp counselor’s biggest jobs are making sure the campers in your group are safe and have a person that they can come talk to. That doesn’t mean you have to have all of the answers. There will always be somebody, be it another counselor or a head counselor, that you can bounce questions or situations off of to find out the best way to approach a problem.
The most important quality for a camp counselor to have is an ability to adapt. Whether it’s a planned activity changing five minutes before your cabin is supposed to be there because of a change in weather, thinking on your feet during an argument in the bunk, or simply getting a group of younger campers to bed by inventing a story.
Working as a camp counselor can be one of the most rewarding jobs you can have. Most positions involve working outside in a beautiful location, enjoying the splendor of nature at the same time that you’re having a whole lot of fun. Whether you’re leading an activity like archery, swimming, or the zip-line, or spending quality time with your cabin, or working in the camp office or kitchen — every day is action packed, full of new challenges, and full of opportunities.
Simply put, camp is fun. You don’t get bored. This isn’t virtual life — this is the real world. One minute you’re leading a parade, the next you’re cooling off an argument. You’ll help kids change their sheets, take campers hiking to the tops of mountains, sing silly songs, and clean up messy cabins. None of these things will seem like a big deal at the time — it’s just life at camp — but they’re the backbone of the growth and the stories you’ll take with you. They’re the circumstances of the memories that will make you smile for years to come.
Do you think you have what it takes to be a camp counselor? When we interview you, we’re going to be looking for character, a willingness to work hard, a love of children, and the humility to put others before yourself. Our best counselors have come from all walks of life. Some were former campers but many were not. It’s all in the attitude, and the ability to learn on your feet. When you work as a counselor you’re entering into a community with a plethora of resources available to help you along the way.