Going to summer camp is a long-standing tradition. Camp is an opportunity for kids to gain social, outdoor, and community building skills. It also provides a chance for college-aged people to build important life and work place skills. As a camp counselor you can work with kids of all ages, in all walks of life, and at all types of camps. There are camps that focus on specific sports, only outdoor activities, some that take extended trips, and there are camps lasting the whole summer or ones that only last a day or two. One thing that all these different camps have in common is that they need to be staffed. I have been fortunate enough to work at day camps as a counselor, outdoor education camps as a teacher and cabin counselor and this past summer as a health aid treating illnesses and wounds sustained at camp. All of these positions have taught me a couple different things and they could teach you too.
I have learned first and foremost that I am valuable. Working with kids you must act as a role model and as a person who is there to build others confidence up. Guiding these children into their challenge zones is frightening but once they take the leap they will remember you, the one who gave them a safe place to be confident, for most of their lives. Another camp taught lesson is faking it till you make it, a skill that is irreplaceable. Camp has one of the tightest schedules that most people will ever work with and you must work and be positive 24hrs for 6 days a week, no matter how you actually feel. There are moments where you absolutely hate camp but when you see the kid who hadn’t made a friend all week talking to a new cabin mate, the pain in your throat is forgotten. Talking to these kids and helping them work through homesickness, lack of self worth, and a whole host of other issues will be the most rewarding process ever.
If you are interested in learning about yourself and how you work with others working at camp is a great start. If you are interested in gaining skills like public speaking and active listening working at camp is the perfect place. Consider your hopes and dreams for the future and the skills it may entail. Think about the skill set camp can provide and identify if it fits your dream. Working at a camp is a once in a lifetime. I encourage to you research some camps that interest you. Here are some links for camps that I know of, but if you’re looking for something else just Google it.