Few people think of finding a summer job until memories of days spent bundled in scarves, coats, and gloves as they attempt to maneuver roadways and college campuses after the latest snowfall have faded almost completely. However, whether 2011 is the first time you’re considering a summer camp position or you’re a seasoned veteran, now is exactly the time to start the process of securing summer employment, if you haven’t already done so. Many camps attend campus recruiting fairs in order to assemble the perfect staff. So why should you attend one of these fairs or complete an online application now? To begin with, a camp job is definitely fun, but also a lot of work…so be prepared! Where else can you get paid to play all day while building valuable job skills? Whether you work in a specific area and focus on a sport, activity or hobby you love or you work as a counselor who travels from activity to activity with campers, your day is full of exciting challenges and a probably even a few surprises, both of which will develop your problem-solving, critical thinking, and negotiation skills.
If you like working with children and aspire to a career in a field such as education, sports training, psychology or sociology, then you already have another reason to work at a camp. Camp is an excellent place to gain valuable experience and is impressive on a resume. Although camp seems lighthearted–and it is in many ways–working at camp requires a lot of responsibility, flexibility, and adaptability, all of which are very valuable characteristics sought by employers. Each day guarantees new challenges, many of them unexpected. Summer camp is often organized chaos. Yes, there is always a plan in place, but the unexpected is also inevitable. While this may seem scary the first couple days, it also brings an excitement and satisfaction that delivering pizzas or serving food (or even working at an investment bank) never could. Working at camp also requires a lot of communication and interpersonal interaction, two more transferable skills that are highly valued by employers. At camp, you must effectively co-exist with your campers, co-counselors, and other staff members to be successful. You will also be able to tell future employers that you worked with people from all over the world and from many different socio-economic backgrounds. That you’ve overcome cultural, language, and social obstacles with others tells recruiters that diversity is not something you fear, but rather embrace.
Working at summer camp can also be very healthy for your bank account. You won’t become Donald Trump spending your summers at camp. However; camps provide housing and food in addition to a salary. It’s possible to live virtually expense-free for a couple of months. Many summer camp counselors take home all or most of their salaries at the end of the summer.
Finally, you will form lifelong friendships at camp. You may arrive alone and nervous in June, but you will leave in August with literally hundreds of friends from all over the world. Two months may not seem like a long time, but when one lives and works in close proximity with co-workers, it’s more than sufficient to form bonds that ordinarily would take years. There are always tears on the last day of camp, not only when saying goodbye to your campers, who will have secured a special place in your heart forever, but to co-workers—the ones you know you will see again as well as the ones you know you will not. Regardless, the world will seem like a much smaller place to you.
Though it may seem early to begin planning such a special adventure with so many possibilities, building a successful camp staff not only requires individuals who possess all of the qualities previously mentioned, it requires finding the right mix of personalities and talents. Such an endeavor, of course, takes time. Camp recruiters review literally thousands of applications each year and speak with hundreds of candidates to find those who are the best fit for their camp’s atmosphere, philosophy and program. Starting your job search while the ground is still white and the tree branches still bare provides you with the advantage of a larger pool of positions from which to choose. By April, most camps have nearly completed their hiring and only difficult to fill or highly specialized roles remain.
So, after a winter of wading through piles of snow, are you ready for a summer full of adventure?
If your child is dreaming about camp, it’s not too soon to make a choice for summer 2011! Many campers are counting the days until they can return, anticipating seeing friends and staff, and looking forward to another super summer. Others are wondering about camp for the first time. For everyone, there are a number of resources and ways to find out more about each camp.
Here are a few suggestions for choosing which camp is the best fit for your camper:
1. Talk to friends and family who have already been to camp. One camper recently chose Camp Weequahic to follow in the footsteps of a cousin and a friend. Since the seasoned campers had a wonderful time and could not stop talking about their adventure, the new camper decided to go and experience things for herself. Other first time campers go to camp with a special friend or cousin who is also a first-timer. Some campers follow in the footsteps of an older relative and start a new generation of alumni—so, make sure to ask for suggestions from family and friends who may have been campers!
2. Watch camp videos, attend an information night (or both), and it will be easy to visualize the fun ahead. It often helps to picture the experience and imagine a specific setting. Campers can watch a video more than once and report that the video often gets them “hooked”. They start to see themselves at camp. A home visit is also a great way to make personal contact with actual campers and staff.
3. Explore each camp website to find out what’s distinct about that camp, check faqs and read firsthand accounts. You’ll find links to social media conversations and get a feel for each unique location. The websites are also a good place to check out changes and additions from previous years—there’s a lot going on.
4. For questions about homesickness, safety, how to tell if your child is ready for camp or more, read previous blogs that are packed with information and answers. If you’re wondering, someone else is probably wondering too!
5. If you’re planning for Summer 2012, make arrangements to visit camp this year. You can tour Camp Weequahic during the summer. Throughout the summer, Camp Weequahic your child can also sample the Weequahic experience through the Camper for a Day and Camper for a Week programs. Camp Starlight offers tours, as well.
6. Always remember that there are no dumb questions. Make a list and don’t feel that you can’t ask. Now is the perfect time to communicate with camp staff before camp is in full swing and fun is in full gear!
A Camp Weequahic parent recently shared with us that after seeing camp pictures, she immediately felt jealous and wished she could go too. That summer, her daughter’s first letter from camp arrived asking if she could stay 6 weeks instead of the 3 she had signed up for! Those first instincts from looking at photos online and a little research had helped find a perfect fit. Moral of the story: You don’t have to go far to find out more about camp. Don’t be surprised if the process turns out to be a lot of fun—everything about camp has a way of being that!
Do you have a story to share about selecting a camp with a friend or relative? Who would you choose to take to camp?
Have you ever dreamed of adventure?! Have you ever wondered what life would be like in the Poconos? Have you ever wanted to do awesome sports, eat great food and live in fantastic cabins (great for relaxing)? The best place to be is Camp Weequahic!
Did you know Camp Weequahic offers more than 10 sports? Wow!!!! I can do a lot of water sports like swimming, tubing, wakeboarding, fishing, and waterskiing. I can also hike, do archery, gaga, soccer, gymnastics, roller hockey, track, football, and more. Camp Weequahic is the perfect place to learn and find a new favorite sport! But if I do so many activities I’ll need a good meal.
Weequahic is a marvelous place to find delicious foods! I can dig my fork in a plate full of salad. Or maybe twist my fork in a plate of spaghetti. Or maybe try a soft warm pizza. And for dessert: chocolate chip cookies, cookies, brownies, and more. And on my birthday, I get a big homemade cake to share with your cabin mates. After a long day, I’ll probably want to head down to my comfy cabin for some well-deserved rest.
Comfy cabins with roomy beds and a beautiful bathroom, Weequahic has it all! I can share a room with all my friends my age and have a fantastic game of cards. My roomy beds are comfy and just like at home, not stiff or too mushy but just right for me! At evening time I can plop down in my bed then take a breather for the night.
Weequahic is the best summer camp I know! From sports to food to cabins with my friends! It’s a fantastic place to spend the summer break! “Please Mommy and Daddy let me go the best place that I know!”
We are proud of our ‘no tech’ policy at camp. It allows our campers and staff to focus what’s important – the interactions with each other that can only happen at camp. That said, tech is certainly not all bad.
Believe it or not, camp doesn’t end with the buses heading home on August 10th. Sure, there won’t be 300 Weequahic maniacs enjoying Olympics, roasting marshmallows, or singing (shouting, really) songs for another 10 months in Lakewood, PA. But, thanks to modern tech, the Weequahic community continues to thrive throughout the year.
I’ve just enjoyed four reunions in Florida (Hollywood, Palm Beach Gardens, Orlando, and Boca). As I type this out, I’m on a plane headed to Los Angeles, CA to have a reunion and meet new families. We’ve got more get togethers coming up in New York and New Jersey soon as well.
The phone has certainly been useful in getting these events up and running but the internet has really made it easier. We’ve started to build a thriving Facebook community with parents and our older campers. Twitter has also been useful, especially when I visit areas around the country. This blog is helpful in spreading the major messages of Weequahic: gratitude, courage, and great staff, among others.
The get togethers are certainly not just ‘camp created.’ I often hear of our younger campers getting together with others in the local area for playdays. Some are even teammates on soccer teams. At the Boca Raton ice cream reunion, I heard all about the plans of some of New Jersey and New York campers to come down to visit south Florida. One of our Boca Raton CITs is actually heading up to NY in December (and I don’t think it’s to see the snow….)
A final way we keep campers, parents and staff up to date with news from their friends is through our newsletters. We collect a lot of great information – such as Miss Katz making it to the cheerleading national championships a few weeks ago! Keep an eye out for the next one in January, everyone. (And keep us posted with news!!)
We do everything we can to keep our community tight, exciting, engaging, and fun throughout the year. Thankfully, with a great collection of nice kids from all over the planet (and a little help from technology), it’s easier to do than ever before. See you next summer!
How would you describe the essential elements of a summer camp? Do the adventures of spending days with peers, learning new skills, trying new activities, bonfires and skits, great counselors— all the fun of the whole experience— first come to mind? These are definitely important elements of summer camp from a camper’s perspective, but there are a lot of other elements that have to be in place for a camp to be successful year after year. Have you ever wondered what it takes to set the scene and develop communities where good times can take place? I have.
The camp experience is part of the heritage and culture of the United States, and for generations, American families have sent their children to camp—about 10 million children last year alone! As you can guess, each camp has it’s own story and distinct cultural and physical environment, so each camp experience is unique.
The ACA is the professional organization tThe American Camp Association (ACA) is the professional organization that educates camp owners and directors in the administration of key aspects of camp operation, program quality, and the health and safety of campers and staff. The ACA also establishes guidelines for policies, procedures, and practices when running a camp. Of course, Camp Weequahic is a fully accredited member of the ACA. Each year, camp professionals gather for a national conference to discuss their work. Last year’s conference title alone, 20/20 Toolbox: Tomorrow’s Camps, Today’s Realities illustrates how camps are focused on creating the very best experiences for today and also into the future.
The staff at Camp Weequahic works all year to make sure that facilities are maintained and prepared for when camp is in session. There are so many details to take care of— from making sure that buildings are cared for, to improving camp facilities, adding or updating equipment and ensuring that health and safety codes are met. Camp owners and managers also have to keep up with changing demographics and expectations from their clientele. So long before campers arrive, camp staff are learning about new practices, meeting up to date regulations, putting current ideas into practice and working towards providing the best of the best. There are activities and events to plan, qualified counselors to recruit, ideas for even more fun than last year to implement and new campers to meet around the country. As camper’s needs and tastes change over the years, camp staff are dedicated to making each year as special as the last–and while traditions are an important part of camp life there is lots of room for fresh programs too.
At Camp Weequahic, we have instituted a Total Choice Program, allowing our campers to develop their own individual summer experiences. Our motto: Your Summer. Your Choice! Each Weequahic day will provide a balance of program periods where campers have the opportunity to explore their own interests through daily choices. This exciting approach to daily programming will make it more interesting for our campers and allow for even better skill instruction led by top NCAA former athletes and current coaches. In addition to the exciting program changes, we have renovated our bunks with new bathrooms and new beds and cubbies. Our facility has also been expanded with the addition of a new Skate Park. It’s out-of-sight!!
This week, I had the pleasure of touching base with Cole Kelly, Director of Camp Weequahic, who has some exciting news to share regarding Weequahic’s program for 2011!
Starting this summer, Camp Weequahic is moving to an individual choice based program where campers can design and create their own fun summer experience. Prior to camp, campers and parents will complete an on-line program selection form where they will have the opportunity to list 8 to 10 of their favorite activities they want to enjoy throughout the summer. These choices are called “Excel” Periods. Once the Weequahic programming team receives this information, they will build a program especially for you! To round out each program day, each camper will then get to choose 2 ‘Explore” periods a day once they are at camp. The Explore periods are age- and developmentally appropriate activities. These “spontaneous” choices are activities a camper may like to try once or twice…instead of being “focused” on that program for their entire stay at camp. These daily choices can be anything in the Weequahic menu of activities and change daily such as climbing, play practice, guitar, baseball instruction, cooking and so on. Try one or try ’em all during these speical “Explore” periods! There are tons of daily activities to choose from.
This program model also allows camp staff to really focus their teaching because they know what your child wants to achieve, while building in some wonderful flexibility to encourage kids to try things out. Activities that they might have never thought of but heard their bunkmates discussing, for example! Or maybe they just feel like doing something else that day. The model also allows bunks to make group decisions and share new experiences together, such as everyone going to the waterfront for boating, swimming and the water trampoline, which builds community and camaraderie.
Knowing my own kids — two boys under 8 — such an individually based program would be a real treat. They could focus on things they absolutely love, but also be able to choose other activities to explore. Both these opportunities develop their decision making ability, sense of choice and autonomy. So I look forward to hearing about your experiences and seeing your pictures next year at Weequahic!
So you’ve heard from friends that now is the time to be thinking about summer camp. How can that be? Fall has just arrived and we are already thinking about summer? Well, yes we are, and we would love to get together with you if you are too!
Here at Camp Weequahic, we spend a lot of time in the Fall and Winter seasons traveling around the country to meet with future campers. We schedule home visits where you are, to come and meet your child and answer any questions your family has. Families usually contact us anywhere from a month to a week out from where we are headed (you can find out our current schedule here) and gather anyone else who might be interested to meet.
Home visits can be one on one or include several families. Cole Kelly, our director, brings a picture book of camp and other materials for people to go through as he answers specific questions about camp. He usually reviews a typical camp day, answers any and all questions about the program and can provide a list of references. Most families and most kids especially, are intrigued about bunk life — what it will be like living at camp, who will be my bunkmates, where do campers come from, how many counselors are there, what are the counselors like? Other important questions revolve around a day at camp — what the days look like, how do campers choose activities, tell me about the evening activities as well as the special events.
The most productive home visits involve families with a prepared list of questions and Cole especially likes when both parents and kids to ask questions because it is the camper experience that is most important. So please encourage your future campers to ask him about anything! The more actively involved they are in their decision to attend camp, the more they have a sense of ownership over their summer as they build their own experience.
When we can, we especially like to bring new and current camp families together to share experiences. To make this happen, Cole will host ice cream parties in Florida, New York, Connecticut, Philadelphia and New Jersey. Both the home visits and ice cream parties bring Cole a special pleasure as camp director. He gets to meet everyone and to know them before camp starts. That way, they have a familiar face greeting them when they arrive. More importantly, these meetings allow Cole to prepare the best possible experience for the children, from their bunk life to the counselor who will share their summer with them.
If you would like to schedule a visit or would like to know where Cole is traveling this season, you can find him on twitter at @campweequahic, where he posts from each of his destinations!
We look forward to seeing you and don’t forget your questions for Cole!
Each week campers gather for Special Event days centered on certain themes. Providing a break in the day-to-day activities, these events are designed to foster camp spirit and unity. On these days campers bond in a positive way using important skills such as teamwork, creativity, organization, and leadership. Laughter and cheer can be heard across camp, capturing the fun involved as well.
The first happening for the boys featured Weequahic Survivor, led by our proud CIT leaders. Demonstrating their competitive edge, the boys of all ages swam, climbed, trekked and solved riddles, striving throughout the day. They had a ball.
Meanwhile, on the other side of camp the girls were putting their imagination and originality to work in preparation for Weequahic’s Project Runway. Each bunk received a box that included an amalgamation of fabrics and decorations in which to create an evening gown and a “green” themed dress. One counselor from each bunk modeled the finished products that were judged by our fashionable leaders, Kate, Sue, Judy and Brie. The dresses were quite impressive and the girls enjoyed the collaboration in constructing them.
The following snippets highlight the thrill and excitement of the two Special Events:
Alex S. loved the teamwork aspect of the day and Alex B. thought the obstacle course in the gym was the most exciting part.
Max enjoyed every aspect of the day and the culminating relay race was his favorite of all. He especially appreciated the change in scheduling.
Lucas raved about the competition and likened the event to a mini color war.
On Project Runway:
Lauren enjoyed the freedom and independence of creating designs, while Carly had fun selecting the music to accompany their final presentation.
Demi and Claire had fun dressing their counselors and seeing the other bunk’s creations.
Maren liked how it brought out everyone’s creative side.
Upcoming events to look forward to include a carnival and of course, the three day Tribal War. Campers eagerly anticipate creating lasting memories together while carrying on the traditions of Camp Weequahic.