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, December 21, 2009

American staff, interviews

I just read an interesting article in the Boston Globe, written by a Babson College professor. It is entitled "My lazy American students". At Maine Arts Camp, we run a shorter camp season than most camps (5 weeks), with most staff only staying for 4 weeks. Since we run for such a short time, we don't hire international staff like most camps, as those staff come on longer visas. Some of the article certainly rings true, as last year we did have a problem with some staff texting and/or taking cell phone calls while on duty. It was limited to just a few staff, even though we made it clear in our Staff Handbook and at staff training that while on duty, the only time staff would use their cell phone would be a camp related call. We have also had to talk with staff about checking e-mail during meals a couple of years ago. We will make our policies even clearer this summer during staff training and discuss the rationale. Any camp staff need to understand that if the campers can be unplugged, the staff needs to set an example and do the same. Taking a summer camp job is different than working a 9-5 job and staff need to set aside some of their normal habits. As a whole, I think that our staff are quite good and dedicated to working with campers. The interview process is the key. If we receive a staff application and the reason that the applicant wants to work at our camp is to just have fun, we move on to other applicants. During the phone or in person interview, and through checking references, we can also quickly gather what level of dedication an applicant will have toward being a camp counselor. I think that the professor from Babson (the author of the article) is probably accurate as a whole, but there are lots of quality American staff working at camp. Camp directors just need to be picky, which is easy with so many people looking for summer camp jobs. If you're looking for some good interview questions, we have sat in on a good ACA workshop with Gary Forster. Noel Corpuel of Camp Wayne is also quite expert at staff interviews. We appreciate all of the great resources and fellow camp directors, but these two come to mind first.

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

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