Posts Tagged ‘summer jobs’

You Can Never Have Enough Socks

Posted Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 by

Arrival: The time has finally come and you have one million different thoughts racing through your head. I can’t believe I am here! Will I fit in? Will I make friends? Will the kids like me? How am I this excited and nervous at the same time? Did I pack enough socks? These feelings are par for the course when coming up the camp road for your first summer at Weequahic. It’s a feeling that any returning staff member remembers vividly and one they are not likely to forget.

Orientation: It’s officially started; your bags are in a bunk, you’ve exchanged a few smiles or started small talk with a couple people, and you are wildly curious as to what a week of training will have in store. You attend meetings that are less of meetings than they are events. Chants, cheers, and skits may not be in your normal comfort zone, but here at Weequahic you have flipped a switch you never knew you had. You have immersed yourself with this group of complete strangers to make a week of learning fun and the nerves of where your summer is headed completely vanish.

Campers Arrive: The nerves are back as fast as they went. The two weeks of orientation felt a lot longer (in a good way) and you’re not too sure you want anything to change. You are attempting to perfect your bunk for the campers’ arrival and also trying to decide how much paint to put on your signs. Cheers erupt as the buses emerge. Nerves are at an all-time high, but the energy of the moment is temporarily paralyzing any fear that attempts to escape. Camper after camper joins your group until the last makes it and you begin introductions as you head towards your bunk; relief sets in.

Week 3: You are at the end of the first session and the halfway point of your summer. Just a few short weeks ago your campers knew more than you did, but that seems like an eternity ago. You are now proficient in the camp schedule, spirit, and probably even the songs. Nerves, what nerves? Only half of the summer has gone by and you are determined to make the most of it. You are sad to see your first session campers leave but can’t wait to meet the new campers who will arrive in a couple of days.

Closing Time: You are in the final days and are trying to relive your summer as it has flown by way too fast. Every “last” moment brings both cheers and tears; you really don’t want to leave. The kids board the buses and the magic of Camp Weequahic has come to an end….for now. As you pack your bags and say your goodbyes to friends who you are so thankful for meeting, you realize a few things: you’ve made friends and memories that will literally last a lifetime, you can’t wait to come back next summer, and when you do you will most assuredly bring a few more pairs of socks.

10 Reasons Working as a Camp Counselor This Past Summer Was the Most Awesome Job Decision You Ever Made…

Posted Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 by

1.) Being able to put “Provided excellent care and fun for several hundred children” or “helped children improve athletic skills” on your resume is a pretty sweet bonus.

2.) Saying, “My friend who lives in Australia…” or “My friend who lives in Arizona…” sounds a lot cooler (and more worldly) than, “My friend who works two cubicles down from me…”  Not to mention, you’ll save a whole lot of money on accommodations the next time you travel!

3.) You’d take tutus over “business casual” as dress code any day.  Shorts and staff shirts meant you got some extra Zs in the morning, too, because you didn’t need an extra half hour to stand in front of your closet wondering what you should wear.

4.) Fetching snacks for your campers was so much more fun than fetching coffee for a boss–and your campers were more appreciative, too.

5.) You got paid to do lots of fun outdoor activities everyday.  Your friends had to request a day off to do fun outdoor activities.

6.) Your “office” had a much better view than your friends’ cubicles. Summer camp provided plenty of breathing room in the form of roomy campuses as workplaces.

7.) Every day brought new opportunities and challenges that, by the sounds of it, were much more gratifying than spending an entire summer filing and creating mail merges.

8.) Letting loose and acting silly was not only acceptable, it was encouraged.  Your friends got verbal warnings for laughing too loudly in their offices.

9.) The amount of friends and connections you have through social media outlets multiplied exponentially.  Who knew summer camp would be such a great place to network?

10.) Tribals and Olympics are EPIC fun!

5 Tips for First Time Counselors

Posted Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 by

You’ve accepted the position and completed the paperwork.  It’s official!  You’re about to spend your first summer as a camp counselor.  Naturally, a lot of people experience a few nerves in the days leading up to camp.  After all, even when you’re a grown adult, leaving behind your family and friends to spend the summer in a strange place is a big deal, especially if you’ve never been away from home for an extended period of time before.  If you didn’t attend summer camp as a child, working at summer camp holds even more mystique because you’re not sure what to expect.  If first time counselor nerves are haunting you, don’t be so quick to call up and accept that unpaid internship filing paperwork in a stuffy office all summer and, for goodness sake, don’t accept that job at the hot dog stand in the local park.  Instead, follow these tips to kick your summer into gear now:


1.)    Relax!  You are NOT the only first time staff member coming to camp.  If you know no one else going to camp or have never been to camp, that understandably may be a pretty difficult concept to wrap your head around right now.  But trust us!  When you get to camp, you will be in good company.  If you’re feeling a little bit lonely when you first arrive, don’t panic and automatically assume you’ve made a mistake.  The majority of people who tend to be drawn to work at camp typically have laid back, easy going and open personalities with an extraverted bend toward making new friends.   Chances are that after your camp’s staff orientation period, you’ll have several new friends for life and wonder why you ever even doubted coming to camp.

2.)    Like your camp’s Facebook page and staff Facebook page if it has one.  Social media has arrived and most summer camps are completely aware that the easiest and most effective way to communicate with their camp staff is through means such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  By liking your camp’s pages, you can make friends before camp, pick up a lot of useful tips, and even possibly connect with a rideshare if you’re looking for a way to get to camp.  Most summer camps also now feature regular blogs.  It’s a good idea to pop onto the camp webpage every now and then in the weeks leading up to camp to see what new blogs have been posted.  Camps tend to post some blogs, such as this one, for which staff is the intended audience during the late spring and early summer.

3.)    Don’t over or under pack.  Packing lists are created by camp professionals who’ve spent enough summers at camp to know what you need to be comfortable for the summer.  So read over the staff packing list, if your camp supplies one, when determining what to pack as well as what not to pack.  Veteran staff members are also usually more than happy to field questions on staff Facebook pages, which makes them a good resource if you’re unsure about some items.

4.)    Arrive with the right mindset; being a camp counselor really is the hardest job you’ll ever love.  Camps tell prospective staff members this during the interview process…and they mean it.  You are about to spend the summer working harder than you’ve ever worked in your life, and you will love most moments of it.  There will also be moments during which you will question how in the world you ended up working at a summer camp and why you thought it was a good idea.  Two things are essential to moving forward when these moments happen, and they’re actually most effective if you prepare yourself with them before you even get to camp.  First, arrive with the right attitude.  Yes, you’re there to work.  You’re there to work hard.  You’re also going to have a lot of fun creating amazing moments for and with your campers.  Second,  know what helps you alleviate stress or frustration and come prepared to engage in it should the need arise.

5.)    Be in the moment.  Yes, we spend our lives being told how important it is to plan.  But at camp, it’s very important to be in the moment and be present with the campers.  It’s how you’ll best appreciate the camp counselor experience as well.  Summer camp lasts only a few weeks each summer, and things tend to move very quickly.  On the first day, you’ll be looking ahead at a whole summer and thinking the end seems like a long way off.  But on the last day of camp you will wonder where it went.   Don’t find yourself with regrets on that day by realizing that you didn’t take advantage of every moment.

Camp through the Eyes of a Program Director

Posted Friday, March 22nd, 2013 by

I’m the camp’s Program Director.  I have a very unique job at camp as the person responsible for overseeing the daily scheduling of the camp’s daily activities.  Even though it’s not one of the traditional camp jobs that comes to mind when people imagine working at a summer camp, it’s a crucial one.  I like that it’s a perfect combination of behind the scenes with hands on.

One of the things I love most about my job is that I get the opportunity to get to know most of the campers and staff through daily interaction.  I’m the person they come to with requests for their programs.  I enjoy speaking with them about the things that are working in their activity areas and hear feedback about things that I might improve.

On those rare occurrences when the sun refuses to cooperate with the camp schedule, I get to demonstrate my creative talents by figuring how we can keep the fun going in all of our indoor facilities.  I also enjoy getting out on campus every now to see for myself how the schedule plays out in real time.  It’s a great time for me to take notes for the next schedule.

In the evenings, before I begin working on the next day’s schedule, I often participate in special events.  Sometimes I judge activities.  Sometimes I lead them.  Other times, I host them or just keep score.  The real reward of my job is when I overhear campers telling their counselors that they just had the best day ever as they’re heading off to bed in the evenings.  It’s a great way to begin another day because just as everyone winds down their day at camp, I head back to my office to begin working on the next day’s schedule, ready to create another “funnest day ever!” for our campers.  If you think working in camp programming sounds like a fun job, apply at one of America’s Finest Summer Camps today!

Camp through the Eyes of an Athletic Director

Posted Sunday, March 10th, 2013 by

Hi, I’m the camp Athletic Director!

I love my role at camp because in the course of a day, I come into contact with virtually everyone at camp at some point.  I started out at camp as a sports head.  I loved keeping my individual area organized—working with the campers and my staff and maintaining my facilities—so well that I wanted to be more involved.  So I started helping out with inter and intra-camp leagues as well as leading any evening or special activities that involved not just my program area, but virtually anything that had to with sports.  That’s how I eventually became the one responsible for keeping my camp’s entire sports program running smoothly.

My day begins early—sometimes as early as 6:00 a.m.  I’m responsible for seeing off all of the teams heading out to play inter-camp league games.  I make sure we stay on schedule by insuring all of the coaches and their teams make it onto the bus or to the field on time.   If a team is scheduled to be out of camp during any meals, I run by the kitchen to make sure their breakfasts or lunches are ready and, if they haven’t been already, transported to the bus.  I also double check to make sure teams have all necessary sporting equipment, rosters, and, medical forms.  On those rare days when the weather is less than perfect, I also communicate with other camp Athletic Directors about the status of scheduled matches.  It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes games have to be rescheduled.

During the day, I make my rounds to all of sporting areas. I review lesson plans and make sure instruction is adhering to them. I enjoy watching each and every group for a bit.  It’s fun to see the progress of the campers over time.  While I’m there, I’ll check in with the Area Head and Specialists to see if there are any issues that might be impacting the activity that I haven’t directly observed myself.  It’s also a good time for me to give staff members a pep talk by applauding what I think is working and offering some pointers for improving some things.  I might also take some time to schedule league matches with other camps or oversee intra-league play.  At some point each day, I’ll also check-in with coaches to get scores and report updated records for all of the athletic teams to the directors.  During that time, I’ll also communicate any maintenance and facility issues or equipment needs to directors or program director.

In the evenings, I’ll usually help out in whatever way I can with the camp’s special activities.  While sometimes this actually involves something directly related to athletics, the majority of the time, it does not.  A lot of times, I find myself judging contests or dressed in some crazy costume doing something goofy on stage during one of the camp’s shows.  It’s all part of working at a summer camp, and those are some of my favorite moments.  I’m usually pretty exhausted by the time my head hits the pillow at night, but I can’t wait until the next morning so that I wake up and do it all over again!  That’s why I love working at camp!

A Former Camper and Counselor on the Value of Camp

Posted Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 by

I have been a part of the Camp Weequahic family for 13 years, as a camper from 1995 until 2002, and as a counselor from 2003 until 2007.  These were the best summers of my life and I would give anything to simply be a kid and do it all again!

The memories that come back to me every June when I realize a whole new generation of campers get to experience the same things that shaped my life when I was a child and young adult.  These experiences that campers and counselors gain during their summers at Weequahic are priceless; whether it is teaching a camper how to do an activity, learning from counselors and staff that hail from all corners of the world, or just simply having fun with your best friends.

We all looked forward to the traditions that have shaped our summers, including Carnival, MTV Night, Miss Weequahic, Tribal War, Olympics, The Dance, and the hundreds of other activities that all enjoyed.  And the bunk trips were always a favorite, kayaking or canoeing on the Delaware River, camping out in tents and building a fire, going to a baseball game, or riding the coasters at Hershey Park; they all were great memories.

The last days of camp are always the hardest, when we remember all of the fun we had during the past weeks as we watch the candles float out onto Sly Lake or the giant “W” burning on main campus.  As the summer comes to an end, we know it is time to go “home”, but in our minds “home” is the few beautiful acres in Lakewood PA nestled in the Pocono Mountains.  And as the busses leave camp, driving down Woods Road and driving away from the place we call home, we knew it would only be ten short months until we returned.

I urge all Alumni to write in, share photos, and share memories.  It is important that we all give back to the place that has given so much to us all.

-Steve S.

Lucy: Junior Girls Division Head

Posted Sunday, July 1st, 2012 by

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.

A Network of Lifetime Friends

Posted Monday, April 23rd, 2012 by

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.

A Staff Member Reflects on His Weequahic Experience

Posted Saturday, March 10th, 2012 by

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!

Are You One in a Million?

Posted Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 by

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.