Posts Tagged ‘camp counselor job’

Profile of a Camp Counselor

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

So, you want to be a Camp Counselor?

So you are thinking about being a camp counselor for a summer?  Do you want to spend a summer working in a stunning setting in the mountains with fresh air and beautiful weather and travel to new parts of the world?  Are you looking to expand on your experience working with children or coaching?  Do you want the ability to meet people from all over the world and make everlasting friendships?   Do you want to make a difference in someone’s life?

Being a camp counselor is one of the hardest jobs that you will love.  The relationships you create and the impact you make with campers and staff members will give you memories and friends that can last a lifetime.

The job of camp counselor is very challenging and demanding (along with being a lot of fun!)  While working as a camp counselor you are constantly engrossed with the campers’ experience. You rarely get a chance to check facebook, you barely get a chance to check your phone, and you have kids full of energy begging for you to play cards, play games or shoot hoops with them.  On top of that, you live and sleep in the same room as these campers.

But why do it? The reward of being a camp counselor stays with you for the rest of your life.   Helping a camper shoot his or her first bull’s-eye in archery, having a camper conquer his or her fear of heights on the high ropes course, help teach a camper how to start his or her own lanyard knot only to hear they were able to do it on their own.  It is the little things that as young adults and adults we take for granted.  It is the ability to create fun and lasting memories.

To be a successful camp counselor in any camp environment, you have to be a mature goofball. When you come to work at a summer camp, you need to check your ego at the front gate.  You have to be able to laugh at yourself and allow others to laugh with you.  It shows the campers and other staff members that you are here to have fun and nothing is going to stop you, but you are going to do it in a mature and safe manner.  You have to be able to create games on the fly, play these crazy games and enjoy them like it is best game you have ever played. Finally, you have to be able to put the camper first, no matter how quickly they can push your buttons (which may happen.)

One of the best qualities a great counselor has is being able to listen.  Listen to what your camper has to say; whether it is talking about their arts and crafts activity, of their pets from home, or their crazy stories about family vacations.  If you actually listen to the campers, they will learn to respect you as a counselor and a person.

The one quality we always see in the great counselors we have worked with is their ability to put the camper before him or herself; no matter the issue, no matter the time, no matter how tired you might be.  What happens when a camper has a problem? The GOOD counselor makes sure someone is there to resolve the issue and leaves…  The GREAT counselor sits with that camper until he or she is feeling better again, even if that means leaving late on your night off, and checks in with them over the next couple days.

The difference of being a good counselor, to a great counselor, can also have an impact on whether the campers have just a good summer, or the best summer ever.

The best summer ever starts with you.  When a camper goes home for the summer and begins to tell his or her parents about the great summer they had, YOUR NAME will be said within the first ten words in that child’s story of his or her summer.

You have an opportunity as a summer camp counselor to make a difference in child’s life.  Whether it is life skills, social skills, or just having fun, you have the option to create that for the camper.

Think about a time in your life when someone helped you achieve something you are proud of.  You get a chance to be that person.  That is why we are here.  The work is demanding; that is why being a camp counselor is one of the hardest jobs that you will love.  With hard work comes great reward, and there is not better reward than a happy child.  It is an experience you will never forget.

Make Your Camp Counselor Experience an Effective Tool in Your Job Search

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

So you’ve spent a summer—or maybe the better part of your college career—working as a summer camp counselor.  You’re nearing graduation and you’re starting to pull together your resume for finding a job in the “real world”.  You’ve been wondering, ‘How do I adequately articulate my summer camp experience?’  You’re worried that it will sound trivial to hiring managers, but you know that what you gained from your camp experiences are some of the most valuable skills you’ve learned.  You’ve learned the art of communication, having worked with people all over the world and children ranging in age from seven to fifteen.  You’ve learned the importance of discretion; your campers didn’t need to know EVERYTHING about you.  You’ve learned how to negotiate, mediate, and maintain a positive morale, having coached your campers through swim tests, disagreements, activities, stage fright, and just about a million other things.  You’ve learned time management skills.  How many other job applicants can motivate twelve campers to move across campus from soccer to woodworking in five minutes or less, consistently coax them out of bed at 7am, and convince them that it’s time for lights out after an exciting evening of activities? You’ve learned how to use creativity to solve problems and are MacGyver with a few jars of paint, construction paper, a little bit of fabric, some scissors, and maybe a little glitter…add feathers and beads to that mix and you can practically re-invent the wheel.  In fact, you’ve learned so many things as a summer camp counselor that you’re not even sure how you’re going to fit it all onto one 8 ½” X 11” sheet of paper, nevermind about your other job experience. So how do you convey the importance your summer camp job experience has had on your life in a way that hiring managers will see the value in it, too?

First, as sentimental as those experiences were for you, a hiring manager isn’t looking for the screenplay to the next The Blind Side. They’re looking for prospective employees who can efficiently yet effectively and specifically communicate their skills and abilities in a very concise manner.  This means keep it relevant and as action packed as most of those days at summer camp were.  Convey how active your summer camp job was through the verbs that you choose.
Second, without being too broad, make your resume sing of how well rounded your skill set is because of your summer camp counselor experience.  Employers love diversity.  A resume that sings of it will be sure to get a hiring manager’s attention.

Third, do your homework.  Job hunting is not a one size fits all endeavor.  You need to know and understand not only what you are looking for, but what the company to which you are applying is looking for as well.  If there is a particular quality you feel you possess because of your summer camp counselor experience that makes you a good fit for a position or a company, highlight that one quality in your cover letter.  Explain specifically how you feel your summer job experience and knowledge will translate into the new role.    Having experience is one thing.  Demonstrating that you understand how that experience can be integrated into others speaks volumes.

Fourth, don’t be afraid to remind prospective employers, either in your cover letter or at the interview, that being a camp counselor is a 24/7 job.  Employers are attracted to people who aren’t afraid to throw themselves heart and soul into their work.  What’s more heart and soul than being on duty 24/7?

Finally, be prepared.  Be prepared to tell a hiring manager at an interview EXACTLY why you feel your summer camp experience gives you the edge over other applicants.  When asked, don’t go into a lengthy mumble that basically amounts to a rehash of your summer(s).  Show the hiring manager that you’ve thought long and hard about how your summer camp work experience is relevant to your future and that you understand specifically how to extract your experiences and apply them to other areas of your life.  Most importantly, give examples, give examples, give examples!