August 19, 2021
Working as a summer camp counselor is an exciting, fast-paced, rewarding summer job. Do you like working with kids, ages 7-16? Do you enjoy teaching others how to do things? Can you be a patient and encouraging mentor? Are you brave enough to dance on stage with hundreds of little eyes looking at you?
As a camp counselor you will be trusted with the day-to-day management of a cabin of children. Summer camp is a unique environment. You’ll live in a cabin, or bunk, with at least one other college age counselor and your campers. You’ll wake everyone up, help the kids make their beds, and clean the cabin. You’ll remind campers to get washed up for meals, put their sunscreen on, stay hydrated — all those things your mother told you growing up!
You’ll probably all eat together, and you might be involved with some aspect of the meal — bringing food to the table, serving, or cleaning up. Of course, meals at camp aren’t just about food. There’s singing, cheering, and the unexpected fun that happens at camp.
A significant portion of the day at camp is spent in activities — team sports like basketball, solo sports like tennis, target sports like archery, arts & crafts like ceramics, swimming, waterskiing, sailing, horseback riding, ropes course… the list goes on. You might be an instructor, or you might be jumping in and participating side by side with your campers. Beyond the normal activities, there are special events that happen on a regular basis, and then there are evening activities, and inter-camp competitions, and so much more.
You’ll be spending a lot of your summer outside — camp is an outdoor job! It’s a great change from time spent in the classroom or dorm. You’ll be out in the sun, on the water, running in open fields, playing and enjoying the non-stop activity of life at camp. It’s kind of like living at a resort because most summer camps are located in a picturesque location by a lake. Imagine waking up in your cabin and looking out the window across the water — not a bad way to start your day!
The biggest rewards are the smiles you see on kids faces. A camper in your cabin may not say thanks every time you encourage them, cheer for them, or teach them something new, but you’ll end your summer with the immense satisfaction of knowing you changed their life for the better.
As a counselor you’ll have super-hero status. Every child in your cabin will look up to you. With humility and patience, you will earn their respect and admiration. You won’t always know the answer to every question a camper asks, but you’ll always be willing to listen. You may not know how every cabin dispute starts, but you will possess the wisdom to bring things to a peaceful solution. You will be a parent, a diplomat, coach, teacher, and confidant — from sun up to sun down.
Before camp you will receive training so you will be equipped for the summer, and the senior staff at camp will always be there to back you up. Nobody’s perfect, but it’s up to you give it your all, accept failures with humility, and wake up the next day with a can-do attitude.
Working as a camp counselor is great way for you develop the soft skills employers are seeking but can’t find in most of your college aged peers, specifically: tenacity, teamwork, the ability to communicate clearly, responsibility, perseverance, and a strong work ethic. These are skills that cannot be taught in a classroom. You may be developing some of them on campus, but a summer camp job can cement those real life skills you are learning and help develop them even more.
You’ll also come away from the summer with some amazing friendships with people from all over the world. Everyone says camp friends are the best friends, and there’s a reason.
A few other perks —
No one can tell you everything to expect, but you’ll find working at camp is a great summer job opportunity for college students.