The term camp professional doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue of many kids when asked, “what you would like to be when you grow up.” Many people aren’t aware that working in and for camps is a career. The question we are often asked is, “what is your real job or when will you get a real job.” It is OK, people just don’t understand especially if they haven’t had a camp experience that has changed their life. Camp is pretty real to me and all of my colleagues. Some aspects of working at a camp full time are very businesslike. We have budgets, we hire staff and we market our product which is a camp experience. It is not always easy as we have ups and downs, good years and bad years.
I am pretty confident though that many of us do not get into the camping business for the business parts, maybe some do but more often I think we are in it for the people and for the opportunity to change lives. Often, we work in the spirit of giving back because our lives were changed at camp. We know camps help people to grow and unfold into who they are meant to be. We know a camp experience can bring out the best in people.
I find this also true for our summer camp staff and our school year program staff. These young staff members come back year after year, sometimes stealing one last summer or semester before moving on to what most of the world calls a real job to have just one more opportunity to change a kids life.
Check out this post from just last week by one of our Program Staff--
“I spent today with a group of inner-city high school Freshmen. They were at camp for a day retreat. Usually I expect freshmen to be “too cool” to answer questions, but instead I got that and so much more. For only 5 hours together they asked me deep questions, I shared prayer experiences, we played team building activities “games.”
At one point I asked “questions? Comments? Concerns? Fun facts?”
A girl shot her hand up in the air: “I have a fun fact...well it’s more of a statement...I really thought today was going to be lame, but It’s actually pretty fun.”
Another girl: “your jokes aren’t funny”
Groups like this, honest and open to grow, are my favorite. This stuff never gets old.”
---Kristy Hamilton, Program Staff
It is true that camp offers one of a kind experiences that change lives and those of us whom are lucky enough to work at a camp have are truly blessed to help make that happen. And that is about as real as it gets to me.
Angi K Sullivan
Whenever I get the chance to interview a prospective counselor, I enjoy getting the chance to tell them about camp. It’s a huge responsibility and an incredible opportunity to work at camp. I never miss the opportunity to let these interviewees know that a camp counselor is what I have always considered an Automatically Cool Person. There is nothing else in the interview that brings so many tilted heads and barely concealed confusion. But it’s absolutely true: a camp counselor is automatically cool in the eyes of their campers. Just think, a camp counselor is an adult, but they’re a fun adult. Adults don’t usually wear tie-dye five days a week, or sing the Weewee song with operatic intensity, or dance to Send Me on My Way while wearing a tutu, but camp counselors do.
I think often about my camp counselors and what I loved about them. They were funny, they were compassionate, they wore silly clothes like they were the most fashionable outfits in the world. They answered our questions, they learned about our lives, they immediately welcomed us and waved goodbye. I can’t remember an exact moment when I knew my counselor was cool, but I know that I left camp at the end of the week wanting nothing more than to be a camp counselor.
Not only can camp counselors be silly and funny and loud, but they care. They make their campers feel heard and understood. They model healthy friendships. They encourage self-care and good hygiene. Most importantly, their job is to encourage, rather than deny. In a world where there are so many expectations that kids are expected to meet, how great is it that camp counselors give them the chance to just be themselves? We often talk about how we could hold camp in a parking lot, and I know that it’s absolutely true. Take away the activities, the cabins, the creek, the games, and camp is still camp because of the people that are there. Being an Automatically Cool Person gives you the chance to be a role model, to show everyone that you can be accepted just by being yourself.
Assistant Camp Director
Camp is such an unique experience! Our staff take turns sharing their perspectives of the experience that is CYO Camp Rancho Framasa!
Hot off the press…
Subscribe to CYO Camp Rancho Framasa Blog by e-mail.