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

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.


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.

Popular Right Now

Why You Should Be Getting Involved In Research, Even As A First-Year Student

It can change your life, in more ways than you'd expect.

On my second day of college, I attended my first research class. This class wasn’t just one to learn about how to research, it was a class in which we were actually going to conduct research. It’s huge to be involved in research as a freshman, but I think it should be the norm.

Before coming to Miami University, I was informed about a program called First Year Research Experience, which we like to call FYRE. As I applied for it, I was so excited for everything that might await me. When I got my acceptance email I cried. The specific program I applied for and got into focused on qualitative research.

Qualitative research is a little different than “typical” research. Most people think research can’t be performed or analyzed without statistics, but, for qualitative research, this is completely inaccurate. Because of the structure, numbers are not required to analyze qualitative research. Most of this type of research will analyze spoken words to try to determine patterns.

As interesting as I find qualitative research, I’m sure you’re falling asleep reading the previous paragraph. So, anyway, back to what happened in this class.

Some of the FYRE programs choose what research they conduct but our professor had been asked to do something a little different. There was an initiative group focused on the Age-Friendliness of Oxford that wanted Miami University to conduct research on the city of Oxford and its livability status. The University enlisted us to help with this research.

Livability is defined by AARP as “A livable community is one that is safe and secure, has affordable and appropriate housing and transportation options, and has supportive community features and services. Once in place, those resources enhance personal independence; allow residents to age in place; and foster residents’ engagement in the community’s civic, economic, and social life.”

Once again, I can talk about livability forever, but it’s not that exciting, so, I’ll get back to the good stuff.

Beginning this project, I was unsure about how I would like it. It seemed like a weird concept to me. As I learned more about it, though, I realized how this could affect my life. I have two disabled parents. This project is working to make Oxford more accessible for disabled persons. I’m not sure how research could affect me personally more than this project can.

Throughout this project, I have learned so much. Not just about livability and qualitative research, but about so many other types of research, and about so many things that I will need to use as I transfer into quantitative research (hopefully next year).

As a freshman in college, I have helped create an IRB application. I have developed research questions. I have used online programs to code and analyze data. Arguably most importantly, I researched something that taught me about my new community in Oxford and I am currently working to draw conclusions to help the community members.

Also because of this project, I am currently in Washington, DC (or maybe Columbus by now) individually presenting my research to Miami alumni and various policymakers.

As a freshman in college, I am professionally presenting original research to groups of incredibly important people.

You don’t hear that every day, do ya?

But the moral of this story isn’t “look at what I’m doing, aren’t I cool?” It’s that what I’m doing should be the norm.

Research is not just for graduate students. It’s not just for the hard sciences. Research can be done in all realms of study. Research is what we use to discover new patterns and ideas. Research is the basis of all the knowledge in the world.

My being involved with research so early in my college career has given me so many opportunities that I would’ve never had otherwise. I’ve learned so much from this and I know that I will continue to learn from it for years to come.

Miami University definitely has it right: start research as soon as you can, and continue on with it for the rest of your life.

Get involved in research early, it can and will change you, for the better.
Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Things All 'Overweight' Girls Need Let Weigh On Their Mind

Young, old and in between: there is not enough self love help out there. Hopefully this helps those who need it most.

All of my life I have struggled with my weight.

I have never been skinny, small, thin, or however, you would like to word it. As a child, I was thicker than everyone else. I had thicker thighs, arms, a bigger stomach, and a chubbier face. I was short and stocky.

I never really noticed until I got a bit older and would start comparing myself to other girls, noticing that they looked different than I did.

To this day, nothing has changed. I have large thighs, big arms, a bigger stomach, and a chubby face. I did not grow much throughout my life and never stretched out, as most kids do when they go through puberty. Standing only five feet tall, there isn't much stretching for my body to do. The one thing that changed was my butt got much larger and I grew breasts.

Throughout my development, there were many thoughts that I had concerning my body and the way others viewed my body. My low amount of self-confidence came at a very young age and has not left. At 21-years-old, there are some things I would like to share with young ladies to help with their developmental journey.

1. Everyone is built differently

Not one person on this planet is the same. Everyone has their own body shape, build, and structure. This is the golden standard for dealing with most issues you might deal with being "overweight." Even though no one is built the same, most things are created with a "one size fits all" mentality that our bodies don't fit in.

2. Call yourself what you'd like

There are many different labels out there for a body that is not your average size. Fat, plus size, overweight, big, thick, heavy, etc. As mentioned, I am quite short and I often refer to myself as being little. I have had multiple people "correct" me and tell me, "You're not little, you're short," as if I can't decide what to call myself.

Whatever you are comfortable with defining yourself as do it. I still call myself little and thick. Find something that you can find confidence in. Don't let other people dictate your own language. After all, we do have freedom of speech.

3. Shopping might be harder

One of the struggles that I have run into as a plus size woman is the lack of selection and realistic pricing on clothing. There are stores that are for plus size women, such as Torrid. I remember my first time stepping into that store and I felt so shocked. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to spend up to $100 on a pair of jeans. This is not an uncommon thing. Clothing stores will charge you more for something that is labeled plus sized. According to some employees that I have discussed this with at various stores, it is because of fabric. But, I have had multiple instances where the straight size (cheaper) pair of jeans will fit but the plus size (more expensive) jeans will not fit, making it not about extra fabric.

The selection of clothing is small and pricey. Be prepared. Shop around and find other stores that might work for you and your budget. If you are looking to splurge on a pair of jeans, then go for Torrid or Maurices. They have great quality clothing, but they are not budget friendly. Walmart, Target (watch the new brand, sizing issues), Meijer, Rue21, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and Old Navy all have relatively affordable clothing options as well as the number of options. So if all your friends want to go shopping, look for stores similar to these, that way you don't feel let out.

4. Being overweight does NOT mean you are unhealthy

Too many people have the misconception that being overweight means that you are unhealthy. I have been overweight for almost all of my life and I am an extremely healthy person. As mentioned earlier, everyone is built differently. Your body may change with exercise and dietary changes, but it might not either. Make sure to speak with your doctor about health concerns that you may have and keep track of these issues as well.

Following that, do not let anyone misplace a conversation about your weight. My weight has been mentioned in medical settings where it wasn't appropriate nor necessary. Educate yourself on what your weight MIGHT affect and be prepared. If you feel as though someone is giving you advice about your weight in a situation that isn't necessary, tell them. Do not let people, even medical professionals, body shame you.

5. Make changes because YOU want to

If losing weight is something you would like to do, then please, do it. But if there is one thing that you take from this, please let it be to not let other people dictate what you do. If you are healthy, confident in yourself, and love your body, there is no reason for you to change it (unless you want to). So many people in your life are going to confront you about your weight and encourage you to change it. But nothing is going to be followed through with if it is not something you want to do. Other people have nothing to do with the way your body is.

6. Wear what you want

Being plus size, people try and limit your outfit options. If something catches your eye, wear it. Plus size women look just as good as "straight size" women in the same type of clothing. Crop top? Looks great! High waisted jeans? Rock them! Two-piece bathing suits? Go for it!

Understanding that this type of thing is going to take time to gain confidence in, take it slowly. There are ways to style certain outfits to take steps towards being comfortable with them. For instance, with a two-piece bathing suit, do a darker high waisted bottom with a regular top. This will provide more coverage of your stomach area. This is how I have done it and I love the way it looks. It took me some time to get adjusted to it. For a long time, I would wear my cover up to cover everything. Eventually, that came away. Now, I feel comfortable wearing my bathing suit.

7. Someone finds your body attractive

For the longest time, I thought that a guy was never going to like my body. I was surrounded by all these women who were getting a lot of attention from guys and I wasn't. The only thing I could see was that I looked nothing like them. I looked at myself and didn't think there was anything attractive about me. Once I graduated high school, all of this changed. I received attention from people but not in a positive manner. That didn't matter to me though. To me, this attention was what I thought I deserved.

Never, ever, settle. You will find a person who appreciates your body and you just the way it is (trust me, I found mine too!). You will know when they do because there is no pressure, no ultimatums, no secrecy about being with you, or any questioning it. Make sure to give it time and be aware of what you are looking for as well.

8. Surround yourself with support

Human beings are social creatures. It is essential for there to be forms of interaction, specifically positive interaction. When dealing with an issue such as self-love or positive body image, it is important that there are people that you can have conversations with and receive healthy support from. It does not matter who that person is, whether it's a parent, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a friend, or someone else. It matters that you have an outlet for your feelings about yourself and the changes your body may or may not be going through, along with the way you view yourself.

One form of support that I have recently found is watching Plus Size beauty bloggers/vloggers on YouTube. For me, I have been watching Sarah Rae Vargas, Sometimes Glam, and LearningToBeFearless (I will post their links at the end of this section). Now, this isn't a traditional form of support with it not being face to face. But it has been very helpful for me to see that I am not the only one that is going through self-love and body image issues. It has been helpful to see their clothing choices, where they shop, and how they style outfits.

LearningToBeFearless, RavingsByRae

, Sometimes Glam

9. Say one positive thing about your body a day

Sometimes it might feel as though there are not any positives that you can say about your body. But there is always something. For me, I love my eyebrows. I am very focused on them, take care of them and get them done at least twice a month. I always mention my eyebrows to myself whenever I look in a mirror and I will always raise one eyebrow up, just to show off.

This might seem really silly to some, but it has truly helped me along with this process of learning to love myself. Once I found positives about my eyebrows, it led to finding positives about my eyes and the color of them. Then to my hair. I haven't done much progress from the neck down but I work on it, every day. And if I wasn't doing this "one positive thing a day" about my body, I truly don't think I would make any progress.

10. Remember, you are beautiful!

Though this is a very cheesy line, it is so important. All of us are beautiful human beings, no matter what your size. Do not let size define your beauty. You are so much more than the negatives you see in your body.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

Related Content

Facebook Comments