Over the past three years, I’ve heard that question so many times: from my friends, my school, my fellow camp staff member’s parents, people considering joining a camp staff, and many more. Why work at camp when you’re going to college, when you have high career prospects? I asked myself that question at some point, I’m not going to lie. Here’s my answer.
Just to put a little bit of context, I’m French, and study business in a French school. Getting into one of these schools in France is a long, hard and studious process of two years after high school. Therefore, when you finally get into college, you’re expected to do internships in big companies, increasing your marketing or finance skills. I chose to work at Camp Mason, against all odds and many people questioning it.
The reason why is simply because what you can learn at camp is something that you can’t learn in any company in 3 months, or even a year, or two. You learn how to be a leader, among your kids and your peers. You learn how to adapt to any situation, to manage any crisis that may come your way, and how to be confident doing it. That’ll change your way of working with people, of explaining things so that everyone (adults as much as kids) can understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, including yourself. Finally, you learn how to be yourself, to be confident in your skills, as diverse as they may be, in a diverse and international environment. Give me one other place in the world you can learn all of that, potentially be a leader at 21 or 22 years old, I promise you it’s really hard to find. I got jobs in the musical industry talking for 30 minutes about camp, because of and I quote “the qualities you show, no one has them at your age”.
If you are a friend, or a parent, trust the guts of that person who wants to come and work at summer camp. Don’t refrain them, they’re learning a different way, and that’s what makes them strong and valuable. And if you are the one thinking about it, listen to yourself, go learn how to be the leader you would like to have and be who you want to be.