Nothing annoys me more than people making negative comments about employment at camp. “It’s not really work is it” and “when are you going to get a real job?” are words I hear far too often. I know people don’t mean it in a bad way, but it irritates me. Call me an over reacter, but if you’ve worked at camp I’m sure you’ll be reading this and nodding your head in agreement to every point, and if you haven’t? You’re probably rolling your eyes but hey, I think you should read on.
Ok, yes we may spend our days in the sun, singing songs at the top of our lungs, racing friends on the zip line, splashing about in the pool, roasting marshmallows over a fire, pulling some questionable dance moves and chilling out at the lake, but there’s more to it, a lot more.
You know those dreaded questions in a behavioural and situational based interview? Yeah, we have an answer to them all thanks to camp.
Give an example of how you’ve worked on a team.
Oh, you know, just every day for 8 weeks of the summer, living and working with people from different cultures/walks of life. You see this group of people here? Yeah, we spend our summer’s, responsible for around 100 kids a week. Ever had to share a living space with 3 other adults and 20 kids? Or eat meals every day with 100+ people? Yeah, we have.
Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure.
Try telling me getting to activities on time whilst; Sally needs a pee for the 5th time, 5 of your kids are just too tired to walk, Mary’s shoe is undone, Polly forgot something at your previous location and now you only have 30 minutes to lead an hour activity, isn’t working under pressure. It’s surprising how “this is a repeat song” can make everything feel normal and keep your campers entertained…for hours.
What do you do when your schedule is interrupted? Give an example of how you handle it.
America, land of the free, home of the brave (and unpredictable storms). Campers have looked forward to Capture the flag as evening activity all day, but a storm appears. No worries kids, let’s go inside and let you loose on your counsellors and enter them into a beauty pageant – you didn’t want to play Capture the Flag anyway!
Describe a time when it was especially important to make a good impression on a client. How did you go about doing so?
Camper drop off and pick up. Within the first few seconds of being at camp, both camper and parents have made a lasting first impression on the camp, and us; the 18 – 25 year olds that are trusted in keeping the campers safe and entertained for their duration at camp. Of course, that’s what we do best, but how do we sell ourselves to the campers and parents at the start of camp, and seal the deal at the end? WESTI.
Stoop to their level/Shake their hand
Tell them how you feel
Introduce them to somebody else
We always introduce ourselves to the campers first. I mean it’s them that have to spend 24 hours a day with us, and vise versa.
“Hi! Welcome to camp, I am SO excited you are here to join us for at camp? What’s your name? (Insert name). Oh well it’s lovely to meet you ____, my name’s ____ and I can’t wait to have a super fun week with you and all our other friends”
Do that in your best American accent and you’ve nailed it.
and by the end of the week, despite the fact you may not look ‘good’ , parents will see it has been a week well done and their camper has had fun.
So, if it’s just a bit of fun, how on earth do we learn all of that, and more, and carry it out for 8+ weeks of summer?
*MOMENT OF APPRECIATION*
and, if it wasn’t a ‘real job’, what are Camp Directors? In my eyes, camp directors are superheroes in disguise. Other than my mum, there s nobody I look up more to, than my camp director(s). For a start, I wouldn’t be able to write this blog post with such passion if I wasn’t hired in the first place, and continue to be offered a position each summer. Camp directors know how to see the best in everyone. They have the patience to work with you and help make you the best you can be. Camp directors are like walking encyclopedias – they somehow know the information to any kind of scenario or question and can always give top notch advice. Camp directors aren’t those kind of bosses where you only ever knock their office door if you HAVE to. It’s likely camp directors office door is always open, with candy at easy reach and willing to talk/offer advice whenever needed. Camp directors amaze me, because amongst all the planning, scheduling, phone calls and emails, you still find them out and around camp, in all the action whenever they get the chance. Ok, you get my jiist. Camp directors inspire me. Sassy, Fitzer, if you’re reading this. You rock, and Thank You ❤
So you’ve probably been reading this and it probably sounds all negative, but you couldn’t be further from wrong. I wouldn’t change the job for the world, and despite the fact that yeah, you may encounter a few issues a week, for every 5 difficult situations, there are 100 enjoyable, memorable ones.
Summer camp. It’s more than just a bit of fun.
– Always Exploring