When people ask me how I spend my summers I lead with, “I work at a summer camp in West Virginia for 8 weeks.” That inevitably leads to a few questions, only one of which is, “Where is West Virginia?”
But what I want to share is what being a camp counselor actually is.
I tell them about how rewarding the job is, how funny ‘Ghany girls are (campers and staff!), how the fog rolls off the mountains, and how at the end of the summer I go home knowing I’ve done something important with my summer, made an impact on girls’ lives, met spectacular people, and spent summer in the best kind of bubble.
And when the inevitable question comes up,“But don’t you need an internship in the summer if you want to get a job?”…Well, then I get to smile and sit back and have a conversation about what you learn when you’re running after a ball in Sports and Fitness, explaining the mastery of different complex rope knots or how to use a compass in Wild World, or scheduling Evening Activities for both our Junior and Senior camps while making sure they run seamlessly, simultaneously!
The Skills to Pay the Bills
Here’s what we know: employers look for confidence, for people who know their skills, for leaders, for people who are excited to learn and willing to try new things.
Here’s what I’ve gained my last four summers as a camp counselor:
Every year we sign up for a summer with very little knowledge of how it’s going to go; that shows faith in our skills and trust in our institution.
Each counselor gets the opportunity to lead classes, to connect on a personal level with people of all ages, to manage and schedule their time, and to connect with themselves through challenging activities, special staff training events, and time in nature, all of which helps us to grow personally, and confidently, without outside distractions like fighting traffic every day, omnipresent social media, or spending all our time cooped up indoors.
At camp, we build the foundational skills that employers look for every single day in everything we do.
For every summer I’ve spent at ‘Ghany, I have hundreds of examples of how I have problem solved, how I have built my interpersonal skills, how I have showed commitment, creativity, listening skills.
What does this mean?
This means I can sit down in a job interview and any question they ask, I have an example of a time I have demonstrated that situation in a real world scenario from camp. I can demonstrate I am committed and I truly love my job. I can tell them about all the skills I learn and develop each summer, but really I can do it with a smile on my face and passion in my words because I get to spend my summer with the best people, in the best place, in a way that feeds my soul.
I’d take that over an office internship any day.
–Verity “V” McVey, Head Counselor, Camp Alleghany for Girls