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What I Learned After a Summer Working With Kids

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Clarion chapter.

            When I was younger, I never thought that I would ever want to do a job with kids.  Over the years, after deciding what I wanted to do for a career, that idea changed.  I figured if I was going to work with children in my professional career, then I better get some experience starting now.  So, this past summer I got a job as a summer camp counselor that a local college holds each summer.  The age range was 6-14 years old, so we had the little kindergartners, the preteens and the teens all at once!  Here is what I learned from such a crazy, fulfilling experience:

  1. Even on your worst days, they will find a way to cheer you up.  There were days when I honestly just didn’t want to be there, but as soon as I walked in and heard the first camper yell “Miss A” across the gym my day was made.
  2. You will always have a feeling of satisfaction for the things that you taught them.  It goes without saying that in one way or another you taught them things like manners and other useful social skills, but you will always have the satisfaction of the more concrete things that you taught.  On my first day of camp I got to teach a six-year-old how to dribble and shoot a basketball and that is one experience I will never forget.
  3. Kids teach you to not care about things, to let loose and have fun.  In the beginning of camp, I was kind of uptight about my appearance to the other counselors, but by they end of the summer the kids taught me how to be a kid again.  I went on amusement park rides, went swimming and played crazy Minute-to-Win-It games without a care.
  4. They provide you with a sense of meaning and fulfillment.  It’s kind of a given that some of the kids may have difficulties at home from time to time, so being able to be there for them to make situations better really gives the job meaning.  Making any sort of difference in the lives’ of children can be really fulfilling. 
  5. They teach you responsibility.  Having to carry kids’ belongings around the amusement park without losing any items (or any kids) and getting puked on by a child really makes you grow up quickly… Being thrown up on wasn’t that bad.
  6. More than anything else, working with kids of any age will teach you patience.  You have to deal with bad behavior at times, tattling and silly stories where you really don’t know what they’re talking about.  After dealing with those things, it ends up teaching you how to be patient (and you’ll wind up loving those stories).
  7. You learn that kids will say almost anything.  They’ll just tell you what they’re thinking, even if it means hurting your feelings or saying something they shouldn’t.  On one of the pool days, one of the older campers thought up the idea to yell across the pool at the life-guard to tell him that I thought he was attractive.  Who knows what made her think to do that.   

It turns out that kids teach you way more than you could ever teach them in one summer.  If you ever have the opportunity to work closely with kids, I urge you to take it… It is a great experience. 




My name is Adrienne Crist and I am a junior psychology and art major at Clarion University. In the future, I aspire to be an Art Therapist to make a difference in the lives of many people.