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.