Ditch the internship, head to camp

July 13, 2017



Allison East Vining


The tulips have bloomed, graduation pictures have flooded Instagram and your friends at semester schools are packing up and heading home. It can only mean one thing: summer is coming.


We all picture summer as beaches, parties and time to relax, but the older we get, the less likely that dream becomes. Instead of making incredible summer plans, we’re bombarded from advice from parents, grandparents, advisers and other adults. Get a job or at least an internship. Bummer.


But what if I told you that you could get a job that would give you an unforgettable summer experience and that would do more for your future than an internship? You’d probably be all over it, right? Well, I’m here to tell you that job exists. It’s at summer camp.


Whether you went to camp as a child or not, you’re probably thinking the same thing: how in the world is camp better than an internship or a real job? Well, there are many, many ways, but I’ll give you just a few.


Most importantly, underneath all the kayaks, silly songs and all-camp games, working at a summer camp teaches you soft skills that you will use in the real world. You can put them on your resume, and you can talk about them during interviews.


Camp teaches you responsibility by putting you in charge of children, staff, activities or programs, and it teaches you advanced problem-solving by putting you in different situations each hour of each day.


Additionally, summer camp teaches you leadership. Not only are you getting a daily dose of those soft skills — communication, networking, enthusiasm, etc. — but you’re also getting to develop those skills in the children around you. Even if working with kids isn’t in your future, the ability to lead a group and teach others important skills translates well to any environment.


If you’re worried about learning professional etiquette for the work environment, camp has you covered. Drop-off day, when parents leave you with their most prized possessions in the entire world, requires peak professionalism. Camp staff members often have one two- to three-minute conversation to prove they know what they’re doing and they’ll do a great job caring for their child. Years later, if you need to convince a CEO or company president that you can care for his or her company and employees, you’ll have it in the bag.


More and more often companies are looking for people with buzzwords like “teamwork” and “culture.” Summer camp gives countless opportunities to hone these skills by throwing staff members into a group of people they may not know and doing team builders, icebreakers, games and activities to help them become a family.


So if you don’t have plans for the beach, an internship or a job, look for a camp you can call home.


Summer camp provides the fun you’re looking for with the future skills you need for success.


Allison East Vining is a former Tech Talk editor and former Student Government president who now serves as director for Camp Weed in Live Oak, Florida. Email comments to allison@campweed.org.


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