Why Summer Camp Is a Real Job

This summer, I worked as a counselor at my old summer camp. I taught Climbing and Ropes Course, as well as act as a “bunk mom” for 15 girls collectively over two sessions this summer. 

My daily schedule included waking the girls up and getting them dressed in uniform with their teeth brushed and beds made so they could walk out the door just thirty short minutes later for flag raising and breakfast. Then after breakfast I facilitated our bunk clean up time, which is no piece of cake. After about half an hour of a chaotic clean up time, all the girls would head off to their different focuses, and I would head off to the ropes course or climbing wall to teach my focuses. In ropes course we do lots of team building and personal growth games, and we really begin to facilitate outdoor learning. In climbing we strived to help campers expand their comfort zones by reaching the top of the wall, and also try to teach them to support their campmates the whole climb up. 

My summer camp is also deeply rooted in its values of personal growth, simple living & traditions, respect for the outdoors, community, friendship, loyalty, diversity, and responsibility. Throughout the summer, it is the counselors’ job to facilitate these values in every one of our campers, and even more, make these “extraordinary” qualities so deeply rooted that they will last throughout the school year until they arrive back at camp next summer. 

My job does not only have long hours (7 AM-10 PM), but the intense character development that we facilitate is absolutely draining-- but also rewarding, of course. While the campers are growing, us counselors are doing the same. No matter what focus area you’re teaching in, us counselors are all learning about our teaching styles and how we interact with kids, plus learning concrete skills such as communication, time management, improving on feedback, and much more. Plus there are tons of advancement opportunities within your age group, activity area, and even with office jobs and administrative positions. While summer camp is all fun and games for the participants, it’s more professional development for the counselors. 

Personally, I go back year after year for the kids. The campers really are the best part of camp to me. Another part of returning, though, is that I become the best version of myself every year at camp. I work on these concrete skills and come out a more positive, creative, and happy person than I was when I arrived. Camp not only works to make you a better employee and counselor-- it works to make you a better person, and that is why it is a real job.