Camp Counselors Gain Job Skills
Our dear Michelle G. has been tirelessly working on her résumé and cover letter for upcoming job applications. The “Skills” portion of her résumé has been the talk of camp over the past week. Though we’ve joked with her about skills such as being “Friendly” and “Nice”, the truth is that camp really does help counselors develop a wide array of skills that they may not otherwise have.
I was inspired by another camp blog in which they also discuss the benefits of being a counselor. A chat with Michelle revealed a whole host of camp-learned skills that will give her a leg up in today’s work force.
The first thing that Michelle highlighted as a skill she’ll take away from camp is teamwork: being able to work with someone else, to set aside differences and tolerate other people for who they are. “You have to put your prejudgments aside,” she said.
“It’s all about effective communication,” and she proceeded to explain her point with stories of working with each camper on an individual basis. She talked about how in each situation she tailored her approach to fit each camper’s unique needs.
When Michelle first came to camp, she didn’t know anyone here. It was imperative that she step out of her comfort zone, engage in activities and meet new people. She said learning to go with the flow, while being confident in yourself, is key.
Whether it’s setting goals in an art class or in the cabins as a group, “we want them to get something out of the camp; we want them to grow, to conquer a fear, to master something, to grow as a person, and to become confident in themselves.” It all starts with setting and meeting attainable goals.
Michelle has gained the confidence to tackle problems out of camp, by her experiences during camp. Not every child can be approached in the same way, you won’t get along with every single counselor, activities don’t always go as planned: these are all scenarios that build strong problem solving abilities.
“Camp makes you aware of other people’s feelings, body language, and social cues.” Michelle pointed out the importance of being conscious of and familiar with different signs that campers give off. A camper won’t always approach you about a problem, and Michelle knows the importance of being able to detect when something is going on. This is a skill that can be applied to all walks of life. Being aware of things going unsaid is something that anyone will face in any job.
Having the energy to get up and go every day is something that every counselor struggles with at one point or another. Matching the energy of the kids, keeping a smile on, and being enthusiastic are all a result of the personal motivation found in each dedicated counselor. This motivation doesn’t start and stop when camp does, but is something that counselors like Michelle develop, and use in all aspects of life.
Enforcing Rules and Policy
Michelle brought up the importance in finding the right balance between being a friend and being a superior. It’s key for counselors to set a responsible boundary between the two, and maintain a level of professionalism. “You have to be able to put rules and policies into perspective so campers understand.”
Skills like these will be invaluable in any work setting, and have certainly made Michelle a more well-rounded, aware, and developed person. Have you been a counselor in the past? If so, what skills did you take away from camp?