Posts Tagged ‘jobs in America’

Camp Influences

Posted Saturday, July 26th, 2014 by

In their book True North, Bill George and Peter Sims challenge readers to examine the qualities and influences that have made them great leaders through a series of motivational chapters complemented by interactive surveys. In the survey that follows the first chapter, readers are asked: “During your early years, which people had the greatest impact on you?” This is a very significant question to anyone who either attended camp as a child or who works at a camp as an adult.

It only takes a single summer to influence a camper for a lifetime, but the majority of campers attend summer camp for seven summers or more, which exponentially increases the chances of camp counselors having a lasting impact on their lives. Add the community environment of camp in which campers and staff live together 24 hours a day, and it’s nearly impossible to imagine that each camper’s life is not greatly impacted by at least one member of the camp staff. Such a conclusion is evident by the amount of former campers who state the influence of former staff members as one of the primary reasons they chose to return to camp as camp counselors themselves.

George and Sims challenge readers to “discern passion through life experience.” Such an intense task puts the role of camp counselors into a newperspective. Not only do counselors have the ability to greatly impact a child’s life, but to inspire passion in them through the experiences they provide at camp. This is an interesting concept because it is not one about which most camp staff tend to reflect throughout the summer. Camp is a temporary environment that is structured with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Combine this with the fast pace of camp, thinking tends to steer in the opposite direction.  Yet, many campers –and even counselors– are so influenced by their camp experiences that they take away a passion for camp as well as the traditions and values they are taught there.

When examined from such a perspective, the role of camp counselors becomes so much more than a summer job, whether a staff member spends one summer or many summers at camp. When counselors pack their bags each summer and head off to camp, they are taking on the tremendous responsibility of inspiring children to become so deeply invested in the camp experience. It’s neither a small nor insignificant challenge. Yet the hurdles of living up to such high expectations is exactly what draws so many camp counselors to their summer camp roles each summer—and what makes them return in subsequent summers. In this regard, the campers have as much influence and inspire as much passion in the counselors as the counselors do to them. The two roles are interdependent.

It’s easy to go through one’s daily life without slowing enough to properly contemplate the potential influence each of us has over others. But when the concept of influence is examined through the perspective of camp, it’s very easy to see how little time is needed to influence someone for a lifetime.

Staff Profile: Erica Linnell, Dance Specialist

Posted Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 by

A fun summer at Camp Weequahic is only possible because of hard working staff members like Erica Linnell, our dance specialist. Dance is not her only interest; she will be attending medical school this August. We asked Erica to fill out a profile for our readers to show an inside scoop on the background of our talented employees.

Name: Erica Linnell

Role at camp: Dance specialist

Years at camp: 3rd year

Tell us a little about your background.

I graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.A. in neuroscience in 2013, and I will be starting medical school at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson this August. I was on the dance team at Vanderbilt, and I was also on a dance competition team for 10 years growing up.

What do you get out of working with children?

Working with children at camp has given me the opportunity to develop better leadership skills and mature as a person. It is a challenging and rewarding experience in that it allows me to really make a difference in the lives of children and help them grow over the course of the summer.

What does camp mean to you?

Camp means family, friendship, community, and development. Camp Weequahic is especially unique in that everyone from the youngest six-seven year old campers to the camp directors becomes a close family where everyone is accepted. We all have the chance to learn something new from each other and grow together as a community.

What are some of your goals for the summer?

This summer I hope to make a difference in the lives of kids and to continue to develop as a leader and caretaker. My goal is to make this one of the best and most fun summers yet for the campers and staff at Camp Weequahic.

Favorite camp activity: Tubing and Ropes Course (other than dance!)

Tell us a Fun Fact about you:

I love to travel and experience new places, especially historical sites. I have traveled to places such as Indonesia, Europe, Central America, Africa, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Alaska. My favorite vacation was a safari in Tanzania!

I Never Thought I Would…

Posted Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 by

It’s interesting how many times throughout the summer counselors are overheard beginning a sentence with the phrase ‘I never thought I would…’ Working at sleepaway camp is truly a collection of ‘I never thought I would…’ moments. All too often, those are also the remarks that speak for camp itself, because they’re epiphanies from the staff members themselves. Although the “I never thought I would…’ comments are as varied as the counselors, there are a few that consistently come up. From the mouths of the staff members themselves, ‘I never thought I would…’

Make so many new friends

Sure, I came to camp expecting to meet a few new people. But I’ve made dozens of friends this summer from all over the world. I feel closer to some of them than I do to people I’ve known for years. I never imagined that I could grow so close to someone in just a few weeks. I’ve wanted to travel abroad for years, but have been scared of going places where I didn’t know the language or the people. Now I can’t wait to go knowing that my new camp friends are going to be there waiting for me!

Be so enthusiastic about little things

One of the most awesome things about working at summer camp is that even the smallest of details are a big deal. The campers getexcited and I can’t help but feel it too. Going to our favorite activity during the day; getting ready for an evening activity; walking into a meal and seeing that it’s my favorite; telling silly knock-knock jokes in our cabin at night; and, in particular, those moments when I really connect with my campers.

Like working so hard

Camp is hard work! I start early in the morning and end late at night. It’s TOTALLY worth it though! I’ve never had so much fun in my life. Sometimes I forget that this is a job and I’m getting paid. So much happens in one day of camp. At night, I lay in bed and try to remember everything that happened during the day just because I don’t want to forget.  I’ve started keeping a journal of my days at camp. This winter, when it’s cold outside and I’m missing camp, I’m going to read it. I’m so glad I decided to work at camp instead of accept an internship. This is SO much better than an office! Now I know I want to spend the rest of my life working with kids.

Talk a camper through something difficult

There are a lot of activities at camp and some of them require courage—especially if you’re a kid. I can’t imagine having the guts to maneuver a ropes course thirty feet in the air when I was ten. I really admire so many of my campers for trying brave and adventurous activities. The best part is being able to give the ones who are a little scared that extra push that they need to take on the adventure. There is nothing more gratifying than a smile and a high-five from a camper who just did something they thought they never could and knowing that I helped them do it.

Live so much in the moment

At camp, it’s simultaneously easy and impossible to forget about how short my time here really is.Every day just flies by, which is also reminder that the end of camp is one day closer. I find myself really wishing that I could slow down time, and I’ve started making an extra effort every day to savor each and every moment of camp. Doing so has made me very conscious of how much time I spend in my everyday life planning and thinking ahead. It’s really nice to keep things in the now. I hope to apply my new focus on living in the moment when I return home at the end of the summer, and stop spending so much time thinking about tomorrow.

Become so attached to my campers

I never imagined that I could become so close to a group of kids. I came to camp to be their leader. But it’s so much more than that. It’s impossible not to be attached after spending so much time with them at activities, at meals, in the cabin and getting to know them one-on-one. It’s blows my mind to think that I’ve become so attuned to their individual personalities in such a short amount of time. The summer isn’t even over, and I already know that I’m going to miss them.

Catching up with James H. of the Camp Weequahic Woodshop

Posted Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 by

Even though many campers anticipate sports and outdoor activities at Camp Weequahic, The Woodshop has become a very popular place at camp. Our woodshop is full of tools that enable our campers to build creative masterpieces, but one of the main reasons woodworking is so popular here is our talented and enthusiastic staff, including James H. We thought you’d like to know more about this great CW team member!

Camp Weequahic: Hi James, we’re so glad to talk to you today. You’ve done great work with us and we’d love to learn more about you and how you help make Camp Weequahic awesome. Please tell us a little about yourself.

James: I come from a small community back in Wales where I have lived all my life. I have two sisters that are older than me and I have always had a passion for sports (soccer and rugby) and teaching and leading my peers.  I’m lucky to be able to pursue my profession, carpentry, while doing everything else I love at CW.

Camp Weequahic: Camp Weequahic is a fantastic place to integrate those interests. You seem to love helping kids. What other experiences have you had working with kids before your time at Camp Weequahic?

James: Since I was 16 I have been coaching social and fitness to a local under 9’s soccer team in my community. Plus when I was in School I used to teach woodworking to younger kids. Also, when I was at camp last year, working with our campers was a great joy.

Camp Weequahic: The campers definitely connect well with you. What does it mean to you to work at camp?

James: Camp means everything to me, for the friendships, the experience, but most of all for the FAMILY we create by the end of the summer. It’s amazing how everybody feels at home here in such a short period of time; that’s what camp means to me.

Camp Weequahic: Camp is a great time to make connections with others and grow individually. What are some of your goals for the summer?

James: Some of my goals would definitely be to step up and be more of a leader, to help my DH out with activities. Also to be sure I am a role model to the kids and to make sure that woodworking will be one of the ‘’HOT-SPOTS’’ at camp!

Camp Weequahic: Those are admirable goals and I’m sure this year will be one of our best summers yet. What is your favorite camp activity?

James: WOODSHOP! Camp has many different activities that I thoroughly enjoy, so I am going to say that I enjoy nearly everything.

Camp Weequahic: Lastly, tell us a fun fact about you.

James: One fun fact about me would have to be that I am a people’s person. I can get along and introduce myself to anyone. It is definitely one of my strong points.

Camp Weequahic: Thanks so much James, and we’re thrilled you’re back with us for another summer!