A friend recently relayed an experience that made me think about the purpose of a summer camp counselor…
Walking down the street in his hometown, he came to a construction site with only a few guys working. The site used to contain a few broken down buildings that had stood there for years. Interested in the new development, he decided to approach a couple of the workers to see what they were doing.
The first man he approached who was working with bricks replied in a surly manner, “Moving bricks. What does it look like I’m doing?”
The second man was less surly but certainly not very engaged. “Just building a wall,” he sighed.
The third worker was different. There was a smile on his face. Every so often, he’d stop what he was doing, look around and nod to himself. He was sweating and working hard doing basically the same job as the other workers but there was something different about him.
When asked what he was doing, this worker smiled and replied, “I’m building a cathedral.”
It is so easy think about the job at hand as simply a meaningless or boring amalgamation of steps and processes. When explained as simply a couple of steps that have to be done in a specified amount of time, it’s less than inspiring.
At Weequahic, the ‘cathedral’ we are building is the finest summer camp experience and community of young people possible. We want our campers to leave Weequahic believing that it is the greatest place on earth. We want their families to gush about their family’s experience to their friends. We want our staff to know they’ve been a part of something incredibly special.
Therefore, rather than simply going through a list of things we have to do each day (which, of course, we do) in our summer camp jobs, we seek out people who are passionate about creating a safe and extraordinary community for kids and have the skills to do so. We then train and support them before and during the summer to bring out the best in every child and every situation. Finally, we put them together with campers we feel they’ll work with best and get camp going.
If we do our job well, our counselors know that everything they do at camp should lead to that one goal: creating an extraordinary experience for our campers and their families. Whether it’s teaching a better serve in tennis, getting a kid up on water skis, or serving up a delicious meal, each staff member is there and committed to help us ‘build our cathedral.’
Can’t wait for camp,