​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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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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Today, I'm Grateful For The Accident That Nearly Ended Everything

It changed my life for the worse — and then for the better.

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Four years ago, on August 5th, 2014, I was in a car accident on highway I-80. We swerved over the median and into oncoming traffic. I was in the front passenger seat so I was at the point of impact. I broke my right hand, my right leg and I got a traumatic brain injury. I was in the hospital for almost two months and then was in therapy for a few months after that.

Though it was subtle, the accident changed me as a person and at first, I hated it. I wanted to go back to the way I was before and didn't understand why I couldn't. But looking back, I'm happy the accident happened and turned me into who I am today.

It's an odd thing to say, right? I'm glad my life and personality were almost permanently changed due to this traumatic car accident. But let me explain.

Before the accident, I was a shy little thing that didn't like to talk about my problems. I was depressed but no one knew so I wasn't getting the help I needed. After the accident, however, it was like a dam had broken in me. I couldn't stop talking and I was telling everyone about my problems. I was an introvert that suddenly had to navigate how to be an extrovert. I had to learn where the line was of what was appropriate to say and talk about and what wasn't.

Thankfully, after four years, I have a therapist to help me with my mental health and I think I have the whole socializing thing down... for the most part.

Another benefit of the accident is that is showed me who my real friends are. Most people who I considered to be my friends visited me for my first month out of the hospital. They would tell me how classes are going and how they missed me but then they would talk about themselves and their problems like I was only there to listen; I wasn't supposed to talk about my problems but I did. Some of them drifted away and didn't text me or ask me to hang out with them after a few months. It really hurt and made me really sad and wonder, "What did I do?" I felt so alone.

Eventually, I realized that how they were acting was not my fault and if they treated me like that, then they weren't my real friends. It taught me how I deserve to be treated and it's okay if the only company you have is you.

One of the best good things that came out of the whole hospitalization thing is that I got a dog! His name is Winchester, Chester for short, and he is a mini husky. I picked him out from pictures my dad showed me and I liked that he had one eye that was half brown and half blue. I went with my dad to pick him up from the breeder in Kansas only a week after I got out of the hospital. Chester sat on my lap the whole three hours home. My parents got him for me because they thought it would be nice for me to have a little companion and they were right. He doesn't bark or pee in the house, he's loyal, he can be playful but he can also be lazy. He is the bestest little puppers ever and I love him so much!

Moral of the story: If you want a dog but your parents won't get you one, get in an accident that almost kills you and then maybe they'll get you a dog. (But really don't do that.)

Throughout the years, I've spent too much time thinking about what would have happened if I hadn't gotten in the car that day. But I think this was something that was meant to happen to me. If I hadn't been in that accident, I might've gotten hurt a different way and my injuries could have been worse. I am actually thankful that this happened to me because if it hadn't, who knows the kind of person I would be today?

Plus, if it hadn't happened, I wouldn't have gotten a dog and he makes my life so much better so I'm glad I have him.

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