So what makes a great summer camp experience for your child? Awesome friends, a ton of fun activities and great memories, but most of all an amazing group of staff members. The counselors we hand pick to join our staff are really what makes the camp experience that much better for campers. But what draws counselors in to the Weequahic family? Let’s ask some of our new and returning staff members to find out!
Camp: “Sidney, this is your second summer. It’s great to have you back! What brought you back to CW?”
Sidney (Junior Girls): “I had an incredible all around experience last summer, so I had to come back for another. I was also really excited to see returning staff who have become some of my best friends. And, of course, I can’t forget the awesome campers here!”
Camp: “We are so happy to hear that you had such a great time. Tell us what your favorite part of this experience has been?”
Sidney: “I would have to say watching and getting to know the kids and staff has been an incredible experience. Forming the awesome relationships that make up the Weequahic family has been great too.”
Camp: “And what have you learned this summer?”
Sidney: “I’ve learned a lot being here; especially patience, how to work well with many different types of people, leadership, and how much the little things truly matter.”
Camp: “I would have to agree completely with that statement. One last question for you. What will you miss the most when you leave?”
Sidney: “I will miss waking up every morning and being here at camp with this Weequahic family. This camp truly is a home away from home and it’s because of all of the wonderful people here.”
Camp: “Thank you so much Sidney! Jeremy, same questions for you. What brought you to camp?”
Jeremy (Senior Division): “Well this is my first summer here and what brought me to Weequahic was the fact that I really wanted to do something new, but also fun over the summer. After my first interview I knew this was where I wanted to be.”
Camp: “That’s great! And what has been your favorite part of this experience?”
Jeremy: “I would have to say interacting with all the campers. No two kids are alike, even siblings! You have to approach each one differently which I believe allowed me to grow as a person.”
Camp: “Wow, that’s amazing Jeremy. What have you learned from being here?”
Jeremy: “I’ve learned that attitude is everything. I came into this with an open mind and a positive attitude and it has been the best summer I’ve had in a long time.”
Camp: “We are so happy to hear that you have enjoyed your time here! Tell us what you will miss most when you leave?”
Jeremy: “I’ll definitely miss the campers and my fellow counselors. They are irreplaceable. I’ll miss my co-co’s because they have gone through this camp experience with me from start to finish and I wouldn’t trade a single one. I’ve built so many great relationships with the campers and their genuine happiness and joy for life gives me energy each day. The first few days without seeing their smiles or hearing their laughs will be pretty tough.”
Camp: “Thank you so much for sharing that with us!”
On behalf of all the counselors and staff members here at Weequahic, we would like to say thank you. Thank you for sending your kids have one of the best experiences of their lives here with us. Thank you for giving all of us a chance to be mentors to your children. We have all learned so much from every camper hear and have truly grown to admire the wonderful people they are growing up to be. It has been an amazing and memorable summer that we will always remember and we wish only the very best to each and every member of the Weequahic family this upcoming year.
Whether you’re a new or returning staff member who is preparing to work at camp this summer, the decibel level of those first few days at camp are always a bit above what you anticipate. Of course, we hear noise every day. But camp noise is different than other noise. A camp staff member once relayed a memory of her first summer at camp. She recalled the shock of the day the campers arrived. ‘It was suddenly very loud,’ she said. ‘They don’t prepare you for that at orientation. Then again, there is probably no way they could.’ She is right. There is no way to describe what several hundred excited children who have been waiting for a moment for ten months sounds like. It’s certainly not noise pollution, though. It much more closely resembles environmentally friendly noise. It’s the noise of excitement, happiness and anticipation.
A strange phenomenon happens with environmentally friendly noise. You not only expect it, but anticipate hearing it every day. You don’t even realize how much you look forward to camp noise until the end of camp. When the buses pull away on the last day of camp, the quietness that settles over the campus is one of the saddest moments of the summer. You realize the kids are gone, and the summer really is over. Even after you return home, you find yourself wishing to hear the sounds that defined your summer–bugle calls to signal daily activities, constant cheering and laughter, mealtimes with hundreds of other people. Everyday noise just seems like noise pollution.
If you submit prospective babysitters through background and reference checks just for a date night with your spouse or significant other, then you probably have an extreme interest in just who will be taking care of your children at summer camp. Thanks in part to movies and television, many parents have images of young, barely out of high school teenagers filling counselor roles. However, the truth is that camps conduct searches for months to locate and fill leadership and key staff roles with mature, knowledgeable professionals, many of whom work with children in some capacity year round.
Even though camp is still six months away, chances are that your child’s summer camp (or prospective summer camp) has already kicked its recruiting season into high gear. To find counselors, many camps traverse college campuses across the country searching for college students and recent grads who are pursuing careers in education, social work, youth athletics, or other fields related to working with children. In order to avoid staff members that are too immature—or mature—the target demographic for counselors is typically between 20-25, although some camps will vary from this in certain scenarios or for special needs. A successful camp counselor works 24/7 and must be mature enough to make split second decisions that concern the welfare and well -being of children. Although counselor staffs tend to have relatively high turnover rates from year to year because college students complete college and move on to full time jobs that they cannot leave for an entire summer, leadership staff tends to return more regularly.
Camp leadership is often comprised of seasoned teachers and coaches who have been involved with summer camp in some capacity for several years or even decades. Some of them grew up as campers and worked their way into leadership positions beginning as counselor assistants or counselors. Others began as counselors and loved the experience so much that they have returned from year to year. Still others are hired directly into their leadership roles after extensive searches by camps to find the best candidate for the role. However their camp experience began, one thing that all camp leaders have in common is that they not only have extensive experience working with children, but thorough knowledge of the intricacies and behind the scenes goings on of summer camp.
Aside from leadership staff, other mature individuals are employed to staff health and dining facilities as well as offices. In fact, parents are sometimes surprised to learn that so many mature, experienced professionals spend their summers at sleepaway camp. But, for many, the experience, as it is for the children, is beyond compare. Those who return each year will tell you that they wouldn’t consider spending their summers anyplace else. They love what they do, they love their campers, and they love their camps! How many traditional jobs can boast such high morale and collective years of experience?
Straight from Pasadena, TX, Lucy arrives at Weequahic for her first summer as a division head. Happy as can be, she just adores the camping environment, amazing counselors, and, most of all, her Junior campers’ love of life and sense of imagination. With an abundance of experience working with children, she brings enthusiasm and determination to cultivate the most dynamic and memorable summer for them. Her tireless energy rivals theirs. She is the last one standing after a fun-filled evening activity! In college, Lucy studied to become a Child Life Specialist and one day hopes to work at a summer camp full time or in a hospital setting. Lucy enjoys the outdoors, learning new sports, reading and traveling.
One can hear Fred’s accent from afar, encouraging his charge of campers and counselors alike. A third year veteran, he knows the drill of Weequahic. He is excited to impart his infectious enthusiasm for camp-life in his new leadership role this summer. Having instructed tennis then sailing, he knows what it takes to inspire and motivate campers, and he is determined to ensure that his group of Inters have the most enjoyable summer possible. Fred just adores his job- he will no doubt exceed his goal! Born and raised in Luxembourg, Fred returns to camp while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Engineering where he hopes to work on solutions for developing countries’ water problems. Some interesting facts about Fred are that he speaks four languages, enjoys traveling, cooking, and watching sports, especially Cricket.
One of the most touted benefits of working at a summer camp is the network one may build even within the parameters of a single summer. Unlike many work environments, which tend to draw locals with a telescoped set of talents, summer camp attracts staff from virtually all over the world who possess an array of abilities. A successful summer at camp requires the expertise of athletes and artists alike. Because summer camps are 24/7 communities, staff members tend to form very close bonds within the two months that they reside at camp each summer. Camp breeds a sense of family, which is precisely why, for a good many staff members, goodbye at the end of the summer is seldom goodbye forever. Thanks to a little help from social media outlets such as Facebook, it’s possible to stay in touch with summer camp friends no matter where on earth they live. Whether it’s couch surfing while traveling, hunting for a job, needing a little bit of advice or support, or sharing an inside joke, camp friends are there. Working at summer camp is more than just a summer experience. It’s a way to form a global network of friends for life.
An average camp is considered to be successful if the kids come home safe at the end of the summer and had fun. Weequahic is about so much more than that. The people who work at Weequahic want to teach and help children grow up. Working at Weequahic will wear you out. By the last day you will have no ounce of energy left inside of you. But that’s what it’s all about. It’s the most satisfying feeling you can think of. It’s so worth it and that’s why I love working at Weequahic!
My name is Fred Goddard and this will be my third summer at Camp Weequahic. I have been a tennis coach, sailing instructor and am really excited about moving into a leadership position as Division Head for summer 2012. When I’m not at camp, I live in Bristol (UK) and attend the University of Bristol.
My friends back in the UK always ask me why I am going back to camp, and I always tell them… Because I am trying to put off the day that I am going to have to say no to coming back. I am lucky to say YES to my summer home again in 2012!
Hi everyone. My name is Chad Razey and I’m 22 years old and attend the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs! I will graduate in May of 2012 and look to continue my education at Auburn University. I first came to camp as a basketball instructor and bunk counselor and am now moving into the Basketball Director position. I can remember my interview for the job so clearly. I was able to meet Tony and Sue Baldwin in their home and we had a great conversation. I was convinced that camp was the place for me and I would really be able to apply my physical education major. And I got so much more from the experience!
I love the atmosphere at Camp Weequahic. I have never experienced another place where you can walk in and feel like nowhere else in the world has to exist. Weequahic has it all, from great people to great facilities; whatever you look for in a camp, Weequahic has it. I was not just a counselor or a basketball instructor. I was a part of a family. The staff got so close that many of us formed relationships that will last a lifetime. The children that I worked with looked up to me as a big brother and a role model; they never saw me as their boss.
Weequahic is its own world. While at camp, there are no weekdays or weekends, there is just camp. No one is stressed from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and everything seems to always flow smoothly. The people you are surrounded with always attempt to make your day better in some way. Weequahic is like a utopia, nestled in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania.
I am thankful for new leadership opportunities, and the chance to return to my summer Utopia! Go Weequahic 2012!
According to the American Camp Association (ACA), nearly 1.2 million people take on the adventure of working at camp each summer. They come from all over the world and all walks of life. Some of them are former campers while others have never experienced summer camp at all. Their educations are as diverse as their backgrounds and many of them choose summer camp over a traditional internship because of the unique, well-rounded work experience it provides. Whether the winter weather already has you thinking about what you’ll be doing this summer or you’re just browsing summer employment opportunities, it’s worth asking yourself, “Am I one in a million?” :
Summer camp staff come from all over the world. Increasingly, as summer camps recognize their unique position to promote a global community in a fun, relaxed environment, they are recruiting staff from near and far. The ACA reports that within the last decade “there has been an increase in the use of international staff to expose campers to different cultures.” If you live outside of the U.S. and you’ve been wanting to travel to the USA, summer camp is a great way to earn some cash while getting to intimately experience life here. If you’re an American and a trip abroad just isn’t quite in the budget, you need go no further than a residential summer camp to make new friends from all over the world—and pad your bank account while doing it!
If you think that being a former camper is a pre-requisite to being a great camp counselor, think again. Many camp staff members who return to camp year after year never even set foot on a summer camp campus prior to working at one. Like many of their colleagues, that one step was all it took. They were won over and continue to return each season.
Summer camp employment isn’t just for education majors and coaches. Increasingly, those with majors in the social sciences, sciences, math, engineering, and even medicine and nursing are finding a summer home at camp as an alternative to the traditional internship. Summer camp provides many unique experiences that one can gain nowhere else, such as a 24/7 commitment and the opportunity to simultaneously work with children and adults in a close-knit family type community. Summer camp also develops a diverse range of core skills valued by employers today. As a camp staff member, one must make split second decisions, be an efficient negotiator, use creativity to sell ideas and concepts, resolve conflict, solve problems, be an effective leader, know how to prioritize, be extremely flexible, accept change, and be awesome when it comes to multi-tasking. If it sounds like a big order, it is. But almost all who take on the challenge report that it’s also one of the most fun and rewarding experiences upon which they’ve ever embarked.
If you are an education major or a coach, have you thought of summer camp as an opportunity to build experience working with children ages 7-15? Working at summer camp develops many of the same skills that are often used in the classroom or on the field. Many educational institutions view summer camp experience as some of the most valuable on a potential educator’s resume.
How many traditional internships pay you AND provide you with room and board? In addition to a stipend for the summer, almost all residential summer camp positions offer room and board as part of their employment packages. What this means to you is that, potentially, everything you earn throughout the summer goes straight into your pocket…or your bank account, as the case may be. Even if you allow yourself a bit to splurge on sightseeing around the local area (many of America’s finest summer camps are located in some of the most beautiful parts of the country), it’s still possible to take home a substantial amount of cash at the end of the summer. This is particularly appealing when one considers how much rent and food can add up to over a summer.
If you’re looking for the summer job to beat all summer jobs, summer camp may definitely be your cup of tea. At summer camp, everyday will be a new adventure that takes you both indoors and out from sunrise to sunset. There are no cubicles, no computers (aside from computers available for staff to use on their free time), and no time clocks. And…there are beautiful surroundings, a camp full of campers who depend on you, a slew of challenges you never knew you’d face (and enjoy), and a circle of lifetime friends waiting to meet you. If you’re one in a million, what are you waiting for? If you are a college or university student, check your college’s upcoming career fair lineups. Many summer camps travel to universities to recruit this time of year. It may be possible to meet the first member of your future camp family in person. If your college days are behind you or there are no summer camps scheduled to visit your university, you can apply directly through Camp Weequahic’s web page.