The summer of 2011 was the first of many summers I would later spend working at a summer sleep away camp, in a small town in Central, New York. Even though I had spent 8 summers as a camper at the camp I had never worked there and I was extremely nervous. Over the past seven summers I have developed friendships and bonds that I know will last me a lifetime, and I have gone through experiences that have made me into who I am today. Being a camp counselor I have learned how to multitask, be flexible, as well as come up with games or activities on the spot. But most importantly being a camp counselor has allowed me to develop self-confidence and a sense of responsibility. Being a camp counselor has given me the confidence to go out and try new things, and take on responsibilities that I would’ve never imagined possible. I started working at camp when I was sixteen-years-old, and this summer I will be twenty-three, I grew up working at camp. Over the years I have taken on new roles at the camp, but also in life. I became the Assistant Waterfront Director at twenty, I tried out and played for the club softball team at my college, and I have maintained jobs where I received promotions based on my abilities to be a leader.
Being in the field of education, working at a summer camp has provided me with experiences that had ultimately led me to obtain a job. When I went in for my job interview at a local elementary school the first question they asked me was about my experiences as a camp counselor. They were interested in how I could use my experiences at camp, to help students be excited about learning. As an educator one of the most important things you can do is make all feel children feel comfortable, welcomed, and heard. Working with kids at camp for seven years has allowed me to see kids be kids while they are in social settings. I’ve learned how to help students come out of their comfort zones, I’ve been by their side as they’ve reached new milestones and learned to be the best person they can be.
You meet people from all over the world, and you learn that everyone has a different background than you. I’ve learned that it is okay to be different, there are no two people who are the same, even twins have their own personalities and differences. The people that I met on my first day as a counselor are the same people who are my friends now, almost eight years later, and the same people who will be my friends 80 years later. They are the friends who have turned into family. They are the ones that have seen me at my best, my worst, my goofiest and my most serious. There is something special about the bonds you form at summer camp, and as my fellow staff members and I say, “from the outside you can’t understand it, and from the inside you can’t explain it.” Working as a camp counselor has provided me with memories that will last me a lifetime, and has helped me grow into the person I am today.
Riley has been attending Lourdes Camp since she was a child, following in the foot-steps of her mom, aunts, cousins, and Grand-Parents. You’d be hard-pressed to have a conversation with her that did not involve the word ‘camp’!
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