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Rewards of Working as a Camp Counselor

Updated on November 8, 2015
Become a camp counselor
Become a camp counselor | Source

If you have been contemplating a position as a camp counselor – what are you waiting for?! Becoming a camp counselor will be one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs you will ever have, not to mention one of the most fun and one that will give you the most stories to tell for years to come. There are so many reasons becoming a camp counselor will become one of the best decisions you ever make – not only because of the immediate benefits like getting paid to have fun, but for the skills and experience that will carry you through your professional career.

Check out these reasons to become a camp counselor, below:

Work with kids
Work with kids | Source

You get to play with kids all day and get paid for it

If you love kids or are planning to go into a child-centered career, this job was made for you! Do you have special skills kids love? Like knowing how to make pottery or friendship bracelets? Are you a soccer aficionado or have mad guitar skills? Were you a member of the choir or love to tell stories? Then your campers will love you!

Not only will you get to do the things you love – crafts, sports, music, etc. – you get paid for it! And most of the time, you get free room and board and don’t have to worry about paying for any bills because everything at camp is free!

If you are a college student going into child education, child care, pediatrics, child psychology, or any child-oriented career, your future employers will love to know that you have real life experience working with children of all ages. Nothing will give you better experience learning how to deal with issues like homesickness, picky eaters, or challenging students better than being a camp counselor.

You get to spend your time outdoors

What other job can you spend your work day in a bathing suit and baseball cap, enjoy a s’more before bed, play sports outside, and work on your tan?

Your gig will even give you bragging rights around your friends who decided to take internships sitting in stuffy business casual dress at a cubicle inside all day.

If you love adventure, sports, or just enjoying nature, you will come to know the meaning behind the expression “if you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life.” It will just feel like fun!

Camp counselor family
Camp counselor family | Source

Your coworkers will become your family

There are few other jobs that offer the opportunity to build friendships that last a lifetime and coworker relationships that feel more like an extension of your family. Working as part of a camp team will bind you and your coworkers together. You will be caring and educating children together, solving difficult problems together, and working harder than you ever have before together. And you will likely be doing it in a natural environment, isolated from mainstream society.

You will be forced to work together, make mistakes together, learn and grow together. At the end of your gig, you will feel closer to those coworkers than some of your current close friends and those are relationships that you will carry with you long after camp is over.

Networking is the buzzword of the moment and with social media and networking playing such a huge role in finding a lucrative career these days, your camp family will become a much needed resource as you develop your career.

Roasting marshmallows over a fire
Roasting marshmallows over a fire | Source

You learn leadership skills

Who needs books like “how to work with difficult people” when working at a camp prepares you for working with a wide variety of personalities? Camp counseling will equip you with the skills you need to handle difficult situations and navigate a variety of personalities in the real world.

You can’t choose who you work with and when you are “stuck” at camp together with a small group of coworkers, you figure out how to work together. But don’t worry – even though you may face difficult situations together (a lice outbreak in your cabin? Homesick kids? Injuries on the soccer field?), they give you an opportunity to figure them out together which teaches you flexibility and adaptability.

Other leadership skills you will walk away from after camp include:

  • Increased confidence in yourself and others

  • The ability to learn how to ask for help

  • The ability to communicate openly and honestly

  • The confidence to ask questions and learn things you don’t know

  • The ability to admit when you are wrong

  • Teaching skills

  • Problem solving skills

  • Resiliency

  • Adaptability

  • Flexibility

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You can build your resume

With all these new leadership skills you gain as a camp counselor, you now have the opportunity to beef up your resume for future jobs and your ultimate dream job. You will find there are little skills you learn as a counselor that don’t translate to the business, teaching, academic, or public sector world.

Some jobs like child oriented jobs, outdoor careers, travel gigs and more highly value candidates who have camp counselor listed on their resume. It can give you that edge you need over other candidates. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone who knows how to teach a group of kids a craft project as well as how to build a campfire, make announcements to a dining room full of people, remember 10 different diet restrictions of your campers, and turn an anxious cabin full of newcomers into BFFs?

You will learn things about yourself that you never knew

If you have never worked as a counselor before, be prepared for the one of the most life changing experiences of your career. Being a counselor is fun, it’s hard work, it’s demanding, and it’s challenging.

Like all challenging experiences in life, your counseling experience will teach you things about yourself you never knew before, like

  • The ability to pull together a lesson at the last minute

  • The energy you are able to give to your team mates and campers

  • How creative you are able to be

  • The lengths you are willing to go to help others

  • You’ll probably even discover you greatest strengths and weaknesses.

Make a difference as a counselor
Make a difference as a counselor | Source

You will make a difference

Being a camp counselor is one of the most rewarding jobs out there. The job description offers the opportunity for you to make a difference in the life of kids and as part of a team.

When camp ends, you’ll always have those memories of the campers you helped teach a new skill to or the kid who just needed someone to listen to their fears, worries, or to laugh with and understand them.

Camp can be one of the most significant growth opportunities in a young person’s life – when camp is over, counselors are often at the top of the list of excited chatter that kids run home and tell their friends and family about. Knowing that YOU were a part of that is a rewarding feeling you won’t find from most other jobs.

You won’t want to leave

Saying goodbye is the hardest part of being a camp counselor. You will bond with your coworkers and campers more than you ever thought possible.

Despite the exhaustion,

Even though you may be exhausted, long for home, and can’t wait to shower, you will probably find that the comforts of the real world do not outshine the allure of singing songs by the campfire, sharing stories, and making new friends.

Your camp memories will last a lifetime

Looking through binoculars
Looking through binoculars | Source

And if all those reasons are not enough to convince you to become a camp counselor, the number 1 reason to take the plunge has to be the memories that will last you a lifetime.

Sure, you may have anxiety about working with people you’ve never met, learning things you don’t know how to do, and jumping right into a leadership role, but never fear! It’s all so worth it in the end.

Years later, you will find yourself sharing stories about “that one time that camp” and keeping in touch with your fellow counselors. So what are you waiting for? Your adventure is out there! To find the perfect camp opportunity for you, visit acacamps.org.

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