​Why I’m Working A Summer Camp And Not Getting a 'Real' Job

​Why I’m Working A Summer Camp And Not Getting a 'Real' Job

Desk jobs will always be there for you, but opportunities like this one are limited.
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Going through my first year of college, I've heard people suggest I get a “real” job for the summer or doing an internship to gain valuable job skills. However, working a summer camp has just as many benefits as working a “real” 9-to-5 summer job.

This summer, I have been hired to work for FUGE Camps, which has been my ideal summer job since I was 13 years old. I honestly could not imagine spending my summer anywhere else. I will be working for eight weeks doing a mixture of church camp activities and mission trip work. I can’t picture a more exciting summer.

This summer, I will gain valuable experience by working around the clock for weeks. I will work almost 18-hour days each day this summer. I will learn more valuable skills than doing basic office work such as stapling papers, answering phones, and (gasp!) getting coffee.

I will be on my own, more than I would in an internship. I will deal with people on a more intense level and more deeply. I will be in charge of other people. I will grow with my fellow staff members. I will not only experience the public but do work out in the public. I will be able to minister to others. I will deal with people of every age, from all different backgrounds. I will rely heavily on teamwork. People will depend on me. I will put the needs of others before my own. Those are a few of the exciting things that I will take away from working a summer camp, and I would rather have this than any 9-5 internship.

I will be on my own, more than I would in an internship.

Wake up, breakfast, morning meeting, morning celebration, Bible study, sites, working hang time, dinner, evening meeting, worship, church group devotion time, pre-night life meeting, nightlife, and paper party. For most of this, I would be working on my own -- leading my own students. My boss is not constantly monitoring my work, and I can’t get slack. Did I also mention each day starts at 7 a.m. and doesn’t end until at least midnight?

I will rely heavily on teamwork.

This summer, I will work very closely each day with a team of more than 20 people. Preparing what needs to be done for the day, working with people who need my work, and being a team player will be a big part of my job.

People will depend on me.

Just like relying on teamwork, people will depend on my work. While this is also another point that does happen in a job or internship, this dependability doesn’t clock out at 5 p.m. It goes throughout the evening, and on weekends.

I will deal with people on a more intense level and on a much deeper basis.

Besides answering phones, taking notes, pointing people to an office, or selling a product, I will be talking with people on a deep level. I will get to know so many people who attend FUGE Camps at my location this summer, in a personal way. I will hear their stories, learn about their families, laugh with them, cry with them, and miss them when they’re gone.

I will grow deeply with my fellow staff members.

We live together, eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together, and see each other every single day for two months. We are going to be one big family, and we all have each other’s backs.

I will be in charge of other people.

Each week, we will have hundreds of students from dozens of youth groups at our location. These students will be in our care all week. From sixth to twelfth grade, we are keeping these students safe and teaching them the gospel. They will rely on me, trust me, ask me questions, and let me into their life. Being in charge of students at this level is something you cannot get at most jobs or internships.

I will not only experience the public but do work out in the public.

I’m not sitting behind a desk during the day waiting for people to come to me, I am going out to them. I’m going to the rough neighborhoods, daycares, nursing homes, Goodwills, and any other place you can think of that needs people to minister to them or give a lending hand.

I will be able to minister to others.

From leading students in Bible study, to taking them out to ministry sites in the community during the day, worship in the evening, and constantly praying and working with and for my students, hundreds of hours of ministry will take place — and a summer camp (or a related mission trip) is the only place you can get hundreds of hours of ministry like that.

I will deal with people of every age, from all different backgrounds.

Students of every age, from many states, at different places in life. Ones who are steady in their faith, and ones who aren't even sure Christianity is legitimate. Ones who grew up in perfect families, and many who come from broken homes. Every student you could imagine, I will encounter this summer, and personally, work with them.

I will put the needs of others before my own.

From having to wake up 15 minutes early one morning to go get something, or staying up for an extra 30 minutes at night to help someone do something, you have to look out for everyone else. You may have signed that agreement to aim to be asleep at midnight, but some (most) nights that just doesn’t happen. You will go out of your way to help others out, because this summer, it’s not about me.

Throughout your life, you will only get a few chances to spend your summers working at a place like a summer camp. Desk jobs will always be there for you, but opportunities like this one are limited. While the pay isn't spectacular, and you are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, each second of this summer will be spectacular.

Cover Image Credit: FUGE Camps

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The Night I Cried Myself To Sleep.

From one teacher to another...
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It was the 14th of February, most commonly known as Valentine’s day. A holiday that is supposed to radiate love. While I have so many things in life to love, today, I cried myself to sleep. It was the night of a mass shooting, killing so many innocent children. My mind was running off of anger and fear. Here’s why I cried myself to sleep:

It could have been my students. MY students are my world. They bring joy and light up my life in ways I never knew possible. Just the thought alone of losing them makes my heart ache. The night I cried myself to sleep, I made myself a promise: tomorrow I’m going to hug my students a little bit longer and a lot tighter.

It is not fair. It’s not fair that 18 students (as of now) will not have the opportunity to wake up in the morning. 18 students won’t have the chance to see tomorrow's daylight. Many mothers and fathers won’t have the opportunity to hug their sweet child goodbye. 18 parents won’t be able to remind their child to “put their homework in their backpack.” 18 parents won’t have the opportunity to see their child graduate high-school.

It’s not fair that hundreds of students will have to return to the same school they once trusted and be fearful of what might happen. It’s not fair teachers will have to return to the same school they once trusted and fear for the safety of their students, and of themselves. It’s not fair. The night I cried myself to sleep I made myself a promise: tomorrow I’m going to hug my students a little bit longer and a lot tighter.

It’s not okay. It’s not fair that mothers have to go to bed crying because their child was killed. It’s not fair teachers are crying themselves to sleep because they lost their students. It’s not okay that fellow classmates and friends are crying themselves to sleep because they will return to school and their best friend will no longer be there. It’s not okay that those same classmates will have to return to school and look at the exact spot their classmate used to sit in before they were murdered.

It’s not okay that siblings of the victims are crying themselves to sleep because they will wake up in the morning and not have their partner in crime to voyage off to school with. It’s not fair that just 2 months into 2018, there has been 18 school shootings and WE ARE DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT. The night I cried myself to sleep, I made myself a promise: tomorrow I’m going to hug my students a little bit longer and a lot tighter.

My heart and mind will never be able to make sense of events like this. My heart goes out to the families and parents of the children involved in this incident. My heart goes out to aching teachers. My heart goes out to EVERYONE crying themselves to sleep. The night I cried myself to sleep, I made myself a promise: tomorrow I’m going to hug my students a little bit longer and a lot tighter. I hope you will too.

Cover Image Credit: Milo Public Library

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How To Be Productive In College

True life tips from a girl that struggled first semester -- hard.
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Coming to college is a huge transition, and one of the things I was least prepared for was the abundance of time I have on my hands. In high school, my days often started with a club meeting before school even began. Then, I had an 8 hour school day, followed by practice. The vast majority of the time, I wasn’t home until 6 p.m. at which point, I showered, ate dinner, did homework, and went to bed ready to do it all again tomorrow.

In high school, people were holding me accountable. My school tracked my attendance. My coach knew if I wasn’t at practice. My parents were around to make sure I was doing my homework. This isn’t to say that I wasn’t accountable to myself. I took care of my responsibilities, but there was structure provided for me.

In college, that doesn’t exist. The only thing you have to go to is class. Eh, maybe… if the professor takes attendance. You aren’t playing the sports you grew up playing. You aren’t going to club meetings. Even if you are going to class, it lasts maybe 4 hours per day.

Suddenly, first-semester-me was thrown into this structure lacking world and after a while, I felt like I was losing my mind. Not using my talent, time, and energy to the extent I had in high school was making me miserable.

Around Thanksgiving, I learned a few things that helped me to make more of my time, and regain my sanity.

  1. Join clubs, as many or as few as you want. Find things you are passionate about and throw yourself into them.
  2. Create a structure for your day to day life. Like I said, there’s nobody to do it for you anymore, and trust me, you need some amount of structure to keep your head on your shoulders.
  3. Figure out what hours of the day are the most productive for you and make the most of them.

Let me give you a little run down of my day to day schedule just so you have an idea of where I’m coming from.

7:15 am- My alarm goes off. I brush my teeth and wash my face, throw on my gym clothes, and make my way down to the bus stop where I take the first bus to the gym. I eat breakfast at the dining hall right outside the gym and then get my workout in (which varies depending on the day).

9:30(ish) am- I take the bus back to my dorm where I shower, pick up my room, and sit down to get some work done.

10:30(ish) am-12:00 pm- This is a very key part of my day. From the time I get showered from the gym until I have to go to class, I get a lot of work done. I have a lot going on--taking classes, running a YouTube channel, and working for two publications-- which gives me a lot of deadlines to meet. What I’ve found works best for me is to spend my time doing whatever is due next. If I am picking and choosing which assignment to spend my time on, I find myself procrastinating school work to do the more “fun work” of editing YouTube videos and writing articles.

12:20-2:15 pm- Class

2:15 pm- Lunch

3:00(ish) pm- This is the time I usually get back to my room. I have different class times and meetings after class depending on the day, but it’s generally around here. This is where I have created a huge shift in my schedule since first semester. It’s our (or at least my) tendency to get home after a day of classes and want to take a nap or lounge around and watch Netflix. Instead, I’ve trained myself to use this time to work on whatever needs to be done. I find that I am the most productive in the morning and in the early afternoon, so these are the times I push myself to get the most done.

Afternoon-Early Evening: Depending on the day, I usually have a meeting or event (or two or three) in the evening. On Monday it’s sorority chapter, on Tuesday it’s Relay For Life, etc. I use these meetings (and dinner) as my study breaks. During this time, I get to see friends, take a break from my desk, and give my brain a little rest.

7:00(ish)-9:00 pm: 7:00 is usually when I get back to my room for the night and this chunk of time is the last big push of work for my day. Here’s the kicker: I put away all my work at 9:00 pm. That’s right. 9:00. All work. Away. Done. Not Touched until morning.

This is another huge shift in my schedule that I made. I’ve never been a night owl. Me doing homework past midnight in high school typically resulted in tears of frustration and pure exhaustion. I have friends that thrive in the late hours of the light and that’s when they get the most work done, but that isn’t me. The point here is this: figure out which hours are the most productive for you and make the most of them. For me, that’s 7:15 am to 9:00 pm. For my friend Paige, that’s 8 pm to 4 am, so maybe for her, a nap after class is a better use of her time.

9:00 pm- I wash my face and brush my teeth, and wind down for bed. Typically, this means journaling and reading a book, maybe watching some Netflix, and meditating. I aim to be asleep by 10:00, but obviously, some days are later than others. I am the type of person that needs 8+ hours of sleep to function the next day. Again, find out what works for you and do that.

This is just my schedule. It is by no means the end all be all guide to follow. The point I hope to be taken from this is to use the strategies and techniques that I did to create a day that works the best for you. There are countless variations of what this could look like, and it’s going to be unique to each person, but once you find your fit, you’ll be killin' the game and on your way to becoming the best version of you.

Cover Image Credit: Personal Photo

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