5 Truths You Get From Working At Summer Camp
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Politics and Activism

5 Truths You Get From Working At Summer Camp

It will change your life forever.

5 Truths You Get From Working At Summer Camp
Lake Swan Camp

Summer Camp. Most young Americans have been a part of a summer camp experience at least once in their lives, whether it be YMCA day camp, sleep away camp for the summer or week-long church camp of some sorts. It is kind of like a right of passage in our culture. There is always such excitement as a camper, meeting new people, eating whatever you want or your mom not being able to yell at you when you make a mess, but the experience is totally different for anyone who has ever worked at a summer camp. These are the things I have learned from my experience working at Lake Swan Camp.

1. Authority Figures

Sometimes your boss(es) are not much older than you and sometimes there is a significant age difference between them and the majority of the staff. However, I learned that just because your boss is older, it does not mean they do not know how to joke around and have fun. Sometimes the outward appearance is just hiding their true inner age of child at heart. It also does not mean that they are not going to go out and put as much effort, physically and mentally, into everything they are doing, just like all the other staffers. And just because your boss is younger, it does not mean that they do not know how to do their job and do it fully. Plus their young age allows them to be able to relate to younger staff better because they went through similar stages of life closer together. Having one boss of each type also allows for different perspectives on how to complete tasks. In my opinion, having one of both was probably one of the best first official job experiences I could have had.

2. Co-Workers

Most of my co-workers are younger than me, and at first that was kind of weird for me. Not that they were younger, but that I was one of the oldest seasonal staff members at camp. I think working with people younger than you really prepares you for the "real world." I mean, in what job are you only going to be working with people who are your age? Sometimes you might be the oldest employee, sometimes you might be the youngest. Working with people older than you allows you to look at the world through a more mature lens, not that younger co-workers cannot be mature, and, especially at a summer camp, working with younger co-workers helps you stay connected to the experiences that your campers are going through on a daily basis, because a lot of them are around the same age. Also, you will have a work best friend and they will be your life-saver. Sometimes people may even think you are related.

3. Difficult Customers

If you have never seen an angry, southern parent at church camp, consider yourself lucky. One of the most patience testing situations you could probably ever be in. But, it is also one of the best customer service training experiences you could possibly ever go through. You want to get angry and yell right back in their face because what they are upset about makes no sense at all or is just a small fix, but instead you have to control yourself and listen to them, and then calmly respond to their issue yourself or tell them you will find someone who can help them. It can get pretty nerve-racking, but hearing the campers rave about what a great time they had makes it all worth it. And if they really get on your nerves, you can just flip them in the tube, but not too hard.

4. Camper-Staffer Friendships

Our campers range from elementary to high school aged, every now and then their are some younger ones or the occasional family reunion/family weekend, so the campers are pretty close in age to the majority of the staff they have contact with most often. This has lead to some great friendships between campers and staffers. I follow some of them on Instagram, they follow back, we still have contact with each other, almost a year later. This goes to show how important the relationship between a company or organization, like a summer camp, and their customers, campers is. It is not just a business transaction, but creating bonds between people that will last a lifetime.

5. Job Experience

When it comes to job experience, every camp cultivates different ones. At Lake Swan, you get experience for every possible job you could ever have. I was a lifeguard/boat driver at the waterfront, which teaches you to be aware of your surroundings because people's lives are literally on the line if you are not paying attention and doing your job correctly. I was an archery instructor which taught me how to keep my calm in potentially dangerous situations, like when an elementary school-er is putting an arrow on the bow backwards while facing the rest of the group (yikes). I had to learn customer service in situations where I was dealing with a difficult parent, counselor or camper. I worked in retail while in the camp's snack shack/gift store, in which I had to handle money, make sure everything was stocked correctly and ensure that the facility was presentable for guests. I worked in the kitchen cooking, cleaning dishes and serving food, which will prepare anyone for any other food service job they could possibly imagine. I got experienced in the art of hospitality through housekeeping and learning how to make all the rooms look uniform for the next guests, cleaning toilets and showers and re-making beds. Any job you could imagine, summer camp prepares you for.

After working at camp, I felt more prepared to take on the world. The things I experienced while there, both good and bad, made me grow as an individual, and the people I met created bonds that made my life so much richer. I was so upset at the end of the summer when I had to leave. I cried three times my last day of work. I had seen so many people, including myself, grow spiritually in their relationships with Christ and emotionally in their relationships with others, and I just wasn't ready to let that go. Luckily I have the opportunity to go bad again this summer and experience it all again. and I encourage you, if you ever have the opportunity to work at a summer camp, do it. It will change your life forever.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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