Summertime is valuable. As college students, we are being pushed further and further away from the poolside and mall to internships, offices, and 9-to-5 days. Don’t get me wrong, internships and jobs that boost our résumé can indeed provide good experiences for us and for our futures…
However, there is something to be said for working at a summer camp (see The Camp Counselor vs. the Intern). Sure, I never had a desk-and-chair office, nor did I once put on a blazer and red lipstick for a meeting while at camp. But there is something about working for camp that can impact you, your résumé, and your future far beyond what coffee runs and making copies could ever do.
Many benefits can stem from spending your summer working for a camp. Not only are you making a difference in the lives of others, but you are also spending your treasured time at a never-boring, always-interesting and oh-so-rewarding job.
If you do a basic Google search of “why you should work at a summer camp,” over 70 million results pop up in all of .56 seconds. If you’re good with kids (ranging from kindergarten all the way up to high school) and like the outdoors (or even if you don’t …), this might be the thing for you, besides the fact that there are a plethora of reasons that employers are looking to hire former camp counselors.
Camp counselors are good communicators. They are problem solvers. They are creative thinkers. They are team players, leaders, and, above all, they have a determined and distinguishable work ethic.
Sometimes kids can’t wait to go to camp, and other times parents push their hesitant or reluctant children to go for the week. Whatever the case may be, camp is a fun and safe environment providing kids the opportunity to learn, grow, be challenged, try new things, and have the time of their lives.
Alongside the campers, I have learned so much, grown a ton, been challenged in multiple capacities, pushed outside of my comfort zone to try new things, and have had an absolute blast doing so.
My Camp Background
My experiences working for a summer camp – SpringHill Camps – began the summer before my senior year of high school. I enjoy volunteering and wasn’t doing much that summer. I didn’t have a job besides cutting the neighbor’s grass once a week, and I needed something to do.
One of the SpringHill day camp teams was traveling around the central-Indiana area close to where I live. My school was hosting a week of SpringHill day camps and was looking for high school volunteers to help out.
I was free that week and since I had heard only good things about SpringHill Camps, I thought to myself, sure, why not? and signed up.
Three summers later, I have moved from being a volunteer CIT (Counselor-In-Training), to a counselor on staff, to an Area Director on leadership.
There is so much that I have learned from my time spent at SpringHill Camps, and I look forward to all that I will continue to learn in the summers to come.
Camp life has taught me hard work. There are few things in this world that come easily. In fact, most things take hard work to achieve and, more times than not, these are the things that become sweetest.
Camp is hard, in many respects of the word. It is physically hard, emotionally hard, spiritually hard, and mentally hard. The summers that I worked, I was pushed to my limits. And yet, it was all so worth it. Having an awesome community of coworkers alongside me every step of the way enabled me to do it. It is rewarding to get to the end of a task, a day, a summer, and know that it took all of the effort in me to make it great.
I learned the value of hard work and all the many benefits that come with it. Camp taught me how to push myself as an individual and as a part of a team. It taught me that I could push myself to my limit and be successful. I learned that hard work does indeed pay off, and others do indeed notice.
Camp has instilled a passion for service inside of me. Camp life gives the opportunity to understand what selflessly serving others truly looks like.
From day to day, there are so many things in this world that scream at us to focus solely on ourselves and our wants, needs, and desires. At camp, however, a selfish attitude does not get you very far. The shift must be made from a me-mindset to a we-mindset.
Working with a team of 25 other rockstar individuals made me realize that I was a part of something bigger than myself, and that along with the sense of community that was developed, can change a person for the better. I learned that I must work with others and serve others selflessly in order to truly thrive.
Camp life has taught me leadership skills that I know I couldn’t have learned elsewhere. From teaching others hands-on, to learning when it is okay to step to the side, camp has taught me a complete range of leadership skills.
I’ve learned that leadership isn’t being loud, bossy, or knowing it all. Leadership takes quiet strength, knowing when to submit, and humility. I learned what it takes to be an outstanding leader through my experiences and even my mistakes. I also learned what a good leader should look like by watching the individuals in leadership both above and around me.
I learned so much about myself working for SpringHill. I learned that I am a super efficient person, that I like to make a plan then execute that plan, and that I love serving others. I learned about leading others, and that leading is serving. I learned about patience and humility and putting others’ needs before your own. I learned how to communicate with a wide range of groups of people, and how to communicate effectively and confidently. I learned that I have an impact on the lives of others. I learned that I am capable of only so much, but as a member of a team, we are capable of so much more. I learned how to submit and agree and how to speak up and disagree, all while being professional and graceful.
I learned skills that I never could and never will learn by sitting in an office. I learned the hard way, the hands on way, the best way. Camp has changed my life, and I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything in the world.