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Lessons I’ve Learned from Working at a Summer Camp

I’ve worked as a camp counselor at an all-girls summer camp in Maine called Camp Fernwood for the past 3 years. I found out about this job because I went there myself from the ages of 11 to 15 years old. The past three summers I have taught guitar lessons and have worked with young girls from ages 8 to 15. Being a camp counselor has its ups and downs, but it is an amazing experience. Towards the end of the summer, we meet with the campers in our bunk and discuss what they have learned at camp and how they can apply it to their lives in the outside world. Taking inspiration from that activity, I am going to list the lessons I’ve learned as a counselor and how they apply to my everyday life. 


1. Adaptability

This word played a huge role this summer, especially whilst running camp during a global pandemic. Going into summer 2020, I knew that camp was going to look different from any other summer. We had to eat all our meals outdoors, wear masks, get constant temperature checks, and be confined to cohorts by bunk groups. Some days the schedule would change due to weather. One day, we even had to eat lunch inside our bunks while there was a big storm. It’s important to know that sometimes plans will change, but if you approach it with a positive attitude, everyone around you will stay positive. I apply this in my life because this year I had to adjust to learning online. 


2. Patience is key 

For the past three summers I’ve lived with the same group of campers. I started with them when they were 11 years old and this summer they were the 13 year olds. When you are 13 years old, the campers live in one big bunk instead of separate smaller bunks. This summer I had 22 campers and 7 other female counselors living with me. My patience got tested so much this summer from getting them to clean up, go to sleep, wake up, etc. If my girls were not listening to me, I would take a step back and revisit the issue later with them. Since we are doing online school this semester, patience has also played a role whether it’s waiting for a professor to reply back or working with glitchy technology. 


3. Taking time for yourself 

Being a camp counselor, you are always surrounded by kids, and it can be tiring. This summer we weren’t given as much time off as usual because of our shorter season due to the pandemic. So whenever I wasn’t on duty, I would always go down to the waterfront with a few of my friends and we would swim and chill out by the lake. Doing online school can be stressful, so I always make sure to leave sometime for me to relax in between working on assignments. 


Though being a camp counselor has its difficulties, all in all it's a fulfilling experience. 


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Emma Goldin

Mt Holyoke '21

Hi guys! My name is Emma Goldin and I am from San Francisco, California. I am a psychology and education major at Mount Holyoke College! I am part of the class of 2021! My interests include writing, singing, reading, playing guitars, and hanging out with my friends and family.
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