Summer camp jobs - a place to grow!

Welcome everyone to my blog. Running a residential camp (Maine Arts Camp), as well as MySummers (a staffing site) and Camp Finders (a summer camp referral service), I have gained a unique perspective about sleepaway camps. I first attended camp in 1970 in Maine; I'm still at camp and love it!

Rick Mades

Monday, November 16, 2009

Internships, summer camp jobs

With the job market so weak, it makes sense for college students to look into internships. While any internships are unpaid positions, think outside the box and apply for a summer camp job. Most camp directors will be open to filling out the paperwork needed for an internship if they can get quality staff. Even better, camp jobs have a salary so college students get invaluable experience while still helping to cover their expenses for the rest of the year. If a college student wants to gain independence, instead of living at home for the summer and taking the typical retail or restaurant job, take a job at a sleepaway camp. Besides a salary, room and board is included. Yes, that's free food! I used to work at a day/boarding school in Florida and a fellow teacher had a joke he used to tell (and still does!). He said the more you eat, the more you make (you may not want to go overboard on this advice though). Another advantage to working at a sleepaway camp is that many of the camps are in the middle of nowhere, so there is less opportunity to spend what you earn during the summer.

To make the most of your summer camp job/internship, go to Quint Careers for some great advice. Who can benefit from working at a sleepaway camp? When I did my student teaching (math) at Newton South High School in 1990, the department head told me that openings for math teachers only come available every 5-6 years at his school. He also told me that when 50-60 applications come through, he first looks for someone who has worked at a sleepaway camp. Living with kids 24/7 takes a strong commitment and future teachers learn so much about themselves and children in such a job. Besides teachers, learning to work with your peers as part of a team transfers to the business world. By being a camp counselor, one learns how to think out of the box and be creative in problem solving. Good counselors also learn how to ask for help and how to take the initiative.

So, where and when to start? Contact career services at your school and inquire about what it would take to make a summer camp job into an internship. Then, in talking with camp directors, you'll be able to show right away how mature and organized you are. As to when, late fall/early winter is when camps start to hear back from returning staff. So, start the application process in November and you'll have better choices than waiting until late Spring.

There are plenty of web sites that will help you find camp jobs. One is MySummers, the site that I have been running since 1999. About 50 camps subscribe to the site and are looking for quality camp counselors.

Best of luck in your search for a wonderful summer camp job!

Rick Mades
owner of Camp Finders and MySummers
owner/director of Maine Arts Camp


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