Summer not only provides a much needed break from the nine months of college courses; it also gives time to try a summer job. As students there is an ever present pressure to be better than our peers; the push to attain paid internships becomes more and more competitive. However, internships are not the only outlet for valuable work experience. Working as a camp counselor provides many positive opportunities to college students.
Because of the competitive nature of the current job market, summer employment, such as day camps can be neglected as students search for the next internship that will set them apart from their peers. What students are failing to realize is the valuable knowledge that can be gained from a summer camp counselor job.
For starters, camp counselors are given immense responsibility. Depending on the camp, they can be in charge of large groups of campers ranging in grades, from preschool to high school. As a counselor, students are not only responsible for the general welfare of the students but also for creating safe, and exciting activities for everyone to participate in. This ties in to another skill that can be developed through a summer camp job, planning. Each day requires a specific plan of what will be taught, when each activity will occur, and what supplies will be necessary. Often times counselors are required by their camp to create a lesson plan that details games and activities and how they pertain to the camp theme.
Perhaps one of the biggest gains from working as a camp counselor is the leadership experience. Think about it, the counselor is not only responsible for the campers but also for managing the group, setting goals and helping others to reach those goals, as well as directing other counselors. These experiences are so valuable and provide the individual with a skill set that can be applied in any industry. What many fail to realize is that the skills gained from a summer camp job are very marketable. Working as a camp counselor teaches patience, flexibility, empathy, and compassion, all traits that would be a useful addition to the work force.
Do not discount a summer camp job just because it is not that internship that you feel you need. Camp counseling is just as valuable if not more because of the unique opportunities and interpersonal interactions that it offers.
If you are interested in looking for a summer camp near you feel free to stop by or make an appointment with the Career Center to help you with your search. The Luther College Career Center can be reached at (563) 387-1025 and is located on the second floor of the union.
Also, check out this fascinating take on being a camp counselor from The New York Times blogger, Dan Fleshler, by clicking here.