8 Reasons Why Working at a Summer Camp is the Absolute Best

8 Reasons Why Working at a Summer Camp is the Absolute Best

The Perfect Summer Job for Any College Student
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I’ve attended and worked at a variety summer camps for nearly a decade. When I counted it up last week I realized I know have 5 different camps under my belt and I’ll add a 6th this summer with a position with Duke’s TIP program. I love being at summer camps. They have an atmosphere all there own. It’s a weird fun fact that people don’t seem to always understand. But camps with kids of any age is a total blast and one of the best summer jobs a high school or college-age person can have.




  1. Camp will build teamwork skills like no other

Camp counselors cannot be lone wolves. It’s in the nature of the job. Teamwork is everything when you’re working at a camp, both because of your position but also because you’re often trying to build teams with your campers. Teamwork is essential to nearly every field, so these are skills you can reference later in life. As a counselor you get the benefit of establishing your own team with your co-counselors all while observing and moderating your team of kids.


2. You learn how to be a role model

As a counselor you’re expected to supervise and encourage the kids you oversee. But another huge part of the job is acting as a role model. This is particularly important when you’re working with high school and middle school students. Adolescence is a rough time — between puberty, general awkwardness, first relationships, and the general stress of growing up, they are going through a lot. Showing your campers that they can get through all of that to be successful young adults is essential.

I don’t sugarcoat things. I tell them that college is hard, that sometimes they’re going to hate it and lose confidence in themselves. Going to college is difficult and scary. But it is also wonderful and adventurous and a time of self-discovery. Being a role model means being upfront, not hiding the truth but illuminating it in all of its complexities.


3. The kids will inspire you as much as you inspire them, if not more.

The majority of camps I worked at were with gifted students. These kids were not only incredibly intelligent but they were often very creative. It was too easy to be impressed by the things that they made, the ideas they shared. There are gifted artists, writers, musicians, comedians, those that are exceptionally skilled at science and math, etc. They did weird and funny things like write out algebra formulas on the sidewalk during our Art Night. They’re unbelievably nerdy and unbearably loveable.

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A lot of them come from small rural schools and they have a difficulty finding peers that share their interests. At camp they blossom with new friends and new interests. I cannot describe how much it affects a person to watch a shy student, initially reluctant to join the group, bloom in leadership, make new friends, and truly be themselves. It serves as a reminder to me (someone who is very anxious in new situations around new people) that oftentimes if you simply commit to the situation it often turns out alright.




4. It’s a fun yet challenging summer gig

I won’t lie — there were moments I cried, some days when I felt off my game and needed extra coffee and chocolate to get me through. At times I did not get along with my coworkers. Once or twice I called my parents crying. Occasionally I used my off hours to simply get away and experience a world outside of arts and crafts and name tags.

You run on little sleep and a lot of stress and pressure. But that is nothing in comparison to the sheer pleasure of working with kids, knowing the you’re positively impacting their lives.

All of that stress and weariness is worth something. Because I know now that I can function fairly well on a week with only 4-5 hours of sleep a night and still be patient enough to handle middle schoolers. I’ve learned a lot about myself at these camps, how I function under stress, how to provide self-care, and how to best manage my limited amount of free time. Overall, there is a lot to be gained from the stress and strain.




5. You will make life-long friends

Three of the six weddings I attended last year were of some of my fellow counselors. I will undoubtedly invite them to my wedding. I regularly text and snapchat many of my co-counselors. We keep a group text running year-round. I often pick up my phone after class to find texts seventy or more texts discussing logistics of camp. These are people I text when something very good or very bad happens in my life. We share in each other's struggles and successes long after our session is over because we simply care about each other so much. These are people I hope to keep in my life forever. Two weeks of shared sleep deprivation binds people in a remarkable way.


6. New Experiences

One of the best parts is getting a chance to learn new things. It was at camp that I learned how to play the cup song from Pitch Perfect. I took my first Meyers-Briggs at camp. I attended a Leadership Ranch and learned new methods of team building. Camp was the first time I went black-light bowling, and my group of kids held a contest to see who could do the flashiest roll. This last summer we took the kids on a field trip to a local art museum and we experienced exploring American art together. My campers have taught me new games, shown me new music, recommended some amazing books.

There are summer camps in every state, so finding an opportunity near you won’t be difficult. You can also find camps covering every kind of topic. In the last 4 years alone I’ve worked at art camps, conservation camps, gifted education camps, and this summer I’ll be working in the area of archaeology. One of my friends has spent several years working with special needs kids at Camp Barnabas in southern Missouri. I know many people that have spend their summers in Arkansa at Camp War Eagle, which is for underprivileged kids. Explore your options and figure out what might be the best place for you and your unique talents.


7. There is no summer job like it.

Camps can last anywhere from a few days to two months. A lot of them pay fairly well, and if they don’t the volunteer experience looks great on resumes. This is a great option if you’re doing a study abroad in the summer, class, or a short-term internship and you cannot fit a part or full-time job in the mix. Most of the camps I have worked at last between one and two weeks, offer room and board, and references afterwards. I’ve attended plenty that offer half-days, leaving most of the afternoons free for relaxing (balancing a part time job or online class). If you only have a few weeks out of the summer to work, what’s better than that?


It’s good to note that “camp” doesn’t always mean roughing it in a cabin with plywood bunk beds. Today a lot of camps are housed in fully air conditioned universities or public schools. While traditional camps still exist, if you are not the type to roast s’more around a bonfire, there are other options out there for you.


8. It might help you find a direction

It did not take me long to realize that I am not cut out to be a teacher. I love my kiddos, but when working with them I do have to pull out a patience that I don’t normally apply to my day-to-day life. So while I like kids I’d rather just have my own then spend the rest of my working life corralling other people’s children.

But that was me. So many of my coworkers really found something when working with these kids. Ultimately, a good number of them changed their majors or went towards another career following camp. If you’re thinking about being a teacher or otherwise working with young ones, a camp might be a great way to test the waters before you get too deep into your program.




Being a camp counselor can be a growing experience. I can say without a doubt it’s been one of the best experiences of my life and I’m sure many of my friends would say the same.

Working at a summer camp isn’t for everyone. If you’re not really a fan of kids, have difficulty working in a team, or lack patience, you should maybe go towards a more traditional summer job or internship. If it does sounds appealing, you should start applying right now because a lot of places are recruiting.


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I'm That Girl With A Deep Voice, But I'm Not Some Freak Of Nature

I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man.

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My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I joke that rather than getting higher, my voice got lower throughout puberty.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when my family members say "Hi Todd" when they pick up the phone when I call. Todd is my brother. I am a girl.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when I have been asked by other females if they're "in the right bathroom" when I tell them "I'm not in line" or "someone's in here" when there's a knock on the stall.

Keep in mind that in most female bathrooms, there are no urinals present and there is a sign outside the door that says "WOMEN." Quite obviously, they're in the correct bathroom, just thrown off by the octave of my voice.

For the girl who asked me if she was in the right bathroom because she was "caught off guard and thought I was a boy," I'm just wondering...

What part about my long hair, mascara, shorts not down to my knees, presence (small presence, but a presence none the less) of boobs, and just my overall demeanor was not enough validation that you are, in fact, in the correct restroom?

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man. Or, when someone calls me over to talk to their friends so they can see how "offsetting" my voice sounds to them.

My favorite story is when I was in a store, and I asked one of the women there a question about a product.

This woman had the audacity to ask me when I "went through my transformation."

She was suggesting that I was a transgender girl because of the sound of my voice. Please recognize that I respect and wholeheartedly accept the trans- population. Please also recognize that I was born a girl, still am a girl, always will be a girl, and asking someone if they are a different gender than they appear to be is not the best way to make a sale.

Frustrated, I told her that she should find a better plastic surgeon and walked out.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be.

And, to make matters worse, I am not your typical "girly-girl."

I die for the New York Rangers, have maybe two dresses in my closet but three shelves full of hand-me-down sweatshirts from my brother and Adidas pants. I do not own a "blouse" nor do I plan on owning one except maybe for business-casual occasions.

Naturally, when a deep voice is paired with a sports-oriented, athletic short-loving, sarcastic girl who couldn't tell you the difference between a stiletto and an average high-heel, I GUESS things can seem "off." However, regardless of the difference you see/hear, no one has the right to make someone feel bad about themselves.

What I always struggled with the most is how (most, moral, common-sense) people will never tell someone they don't know, who may be overweight, that "they're fat" or that they don't like the shirt that they're wearing. Yet, because my voice is not something physically seen, it has become fair game for strangers and acquaintances alike to judge and make comments about.

I used to break down into hysterics when I heard a comment about my voice, whether I was six years old or seventeen years old.

There are times that I still do because I am so fed up and just completely bamboozled by the fact that at the age of twenty, there are still people who just have a blatant disregard for others' feelings and a lack of understanding of what is okay to say and what is not okay to say.

But, just like I ask those people not to judge me, I suppose I can't judge them on their lack of common sense and respect for others.

I'd be lying if I said that the hundreds of thousands of comments I've heard and received targeted at my voice growing up did not play a role in my life. I used to want to be a sports broadcaster. I no longer want to be heard on the radio or seen on TV; snarky comments about my voice being one of the reasons why (among others, like a change of interest and just overall life experiences).

I'd be lying if I said that my struggle with public speaking didn't partially stem from negative feedback about my voice.

I'd be lying if I said that there weren't days I tried to talk as little as possible because I didn't want to be judged and that I am sometimes hesitant to introduce myself to new people because I'm scared my voice will scare them away.

I would also be lying if I said that my voice didn't make me who I am.

I joke constantly about it now, because half the shit that comes out of my mouth mixed with my actions, interests, beliefs, etc., would sound absolutely WHACK if I had a high-pitched "girly" voice.

My voice matches my personality perfectly, and the criticism I have and continue to receive for my "manly" sounding voice has helped shaped me into who I am today. I have learned to love my voice when people have relentlessly tried to make me hate it. I have learned to take the frustration I felt towards my voice and turn it into sympathy for those who have something going on in their life, and therefore feel compelled to make a comment about me, a stranger's voice, to make themselves feel better.

I've learned that to laugh at yourself is to love yourself.

And, I say this not for sympathy. Not for someone to say, "Wait, Syd, I love your voice!"

I say this because I want it to be a reminder for people to watch what they say, and use that noggin before you speak. I say this because I also want to be the voice (haha, get it, 'voice') for those who feel like they've lost theirs.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So no, I would not be a good alto in a choir because I think I'm tone deaf. And, when you call MY phone number, it is very unlikely that it is my brother or dad answering. Just say hello, because 99.9% of the time, if it's ME you're calling, it's ME that's answering.

Dr. Suess said, "A person's a person no matter how small."

Now I'm saying, "A girl is a girl no matter her octave."

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9 Things I Learned In College, But Not In Classes

Your education is expensive, but not as valuable as the lessons that you learn between classes.

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As I creep closer and closer to graduation, I've started looking back at my college career with a wider lens. While there are a decent amount of things I would rather not relive, I don't regret those moments. However, I did learn a lot just from making friends, experiencing things by myself, and going out a weekend or two.

1. It's OK to procrastinate on that paper

Sometimes, things happen and our schedules get the best of us. I can't tell you how many times I have procrastinated on a paper until the genuine last minute. While that isn't necessarily a good habit to follow, it's never too frequent. As long as you get it done and don't half-ass your work entirely, you did your job better than you think. Also, sometimes people work better under pressure. I can definitely say that when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, I tend to perform better on assignments.

Just know that it's OK to procrastinate, but don't make it an every week kind of thing. That's when you'll start to feel like you're drowning.

2. You can't always make solid plans 

Everyone has their own schedule. The more things you're involved with, the harder it gets to find the time to share with the people around you. Whether it be extra-curriculars or too much homework, sometimes plans fall through. I'm not saying that you shouldn't make plans, but you should learn to adjust accordingly. Flexibility is necessary in social life, as well as work life, too.

3. Don't drink heavily in the middle of the week

While midterms really took a toll on most of us, I can definitely say that you shouldn't spend your time booze-cruising your way through your assignments. I know it's... Really hard. There is a way to balance everything, but alcohol is never the answer. It's the reward you get when your work is all done and over with. Don't ever forget that.

4. Put someone in their place, if you have to

You can't get along with everyone. Not everyone is going to like you and you're not going to enjoy everyone you encounter. However, that doesn't give you the right to be unnecessarily petty and mean when things get heated. Sure, you can put someone in their place if need be, but use those moments wisely. Unless the situation calls for pointing fingers, it's better to stay out of arguments. Silence says a lot, too.

6. Make mistakes and take notes

This is real deep-boi hours talk, but it has to be said. The biggest part of life is making mistakes and learning from them to better yourself. This also means blatantly owning up to mistakes when you're wrong or when you've taken things too far. Being able to apologize and mean it can mend fences or get that pressure off your chest. Whether or not it fixes things, know that you took the time to let someone know that you care about your mistakes and how that person feels. You are trying to make things better. It's up to them to forgive you, but at least you tried.

6. Put down your cell phone

Sure, I say this a lot, but take a break!

Social media and cell phones have become things that help you get through your day. But if you think about it, you're missing out on a lot of things. Generations before you didn't have cell phones and got along just fine. Maybe you should turn off the screen, avoid your messages, and take a walk every once in a while. You'll be surprised at what you'll find in the non-digital world around you.

7. Change up your routine

This kind of goes with putting down your cell phone. Getting stuck in too strict of a routine can really take a toll on a person's overall happiness. Things can get monotonous. You start to wonder what you're really doing with your life and forgetting how to truly live it. Add a spontaneous adventure here and there. Treat yourself when you need the TLC. Don't be afraid to step out of the rut.

8. Go out, drink, and have a good time... Within reason

(Sorry, I was looking for an excuse to use a GIF of Brett from "Big Brother". He's very dreamy.)

Don't be fearful of the crowds or how people behave once alcohol takes over. It can seem kind of scary from a distance but, in the spirit of experiencing new things, you should take the time to go out and see what the social scene is like near you. While there is always the fear of danger–as there are a lot of dangerous people out there (especially these days)–don't let that stop you from fulfilling your dreams of going to a bar or club and returning unscathed. There are a lot of police officers and bouncers around to help you in case you get into a jam. Just be careful and know your limits.

9. Open your heart

While this is the hardest lesson for me to learn, it is definitely the lesson with the most benefits. As an example, I still can't tell anyone how I feel about them, but I am trying to be better at that. And just because I am terrible with opening up doesn't mean that you should be. Everyone has their character flaws, but developing your openness should be a constant work in progress. I'm not saying to unload all of your laundry on strangers, but definitely try to feel more comfortable telling people how you're really feeling instead of just saying "I'm fine" or refusing to admit to something that's been on your chest for weeks. Open your heart. You'll be surprised at how much lighter it'll feel.

While some of these things are hard to accomplish, everyone has their strong suits and their weak points. It's all about constantly learning and bettering yourself as the years go by. These are just a few of the things that I've learned. I'm definitely not done learning, either.

long story short, just be a little more fearless. Don't be so cautious or you'll live your life with regrets that you can never change.

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