If the weather report is accurate, today will be Camp Takajo’s last cool day for a while. Like you, I pay careful attention to the weather this time of year in hopes that Mother Nature will bless us during your visit next weekend. It is too early to predict the long-range forecast but we know in the next few days the temperatures will rise, and we will experience real summer heat. Today’s temperature was perfect for our sixth grade boys who had the opportunity to head to Old Orchard Beach; a shore town with an amusement park on the coast of Maine.
After consecutive days of inter-camps our sixth graders were very excited for this change of pace as they got to experience fun rides, pizza on the boardwalk, and snow cones, all while spending the day with some of their best friends at the beach.
The other day, while talking to a parent on the phone, I was asked how we attract such amazing men and women to our staff, especially at a time when today’s youth is so focused on their long-term careers. I suggested to this parent that we feel that being a camp counselor is an invaluable experience for today’s college students. If they can successfully complete a summer at Takajo, they will be well-prepared for future endeavors. I went on to say that, in order to be successful in the real world, one needs strong communication skills.
In camp, in order to be a successful counselor you need to communicate with your campers, fellow staff members, and the administration. In the real world, employers look for individuals who are adaptable. In camp, a successful counselor is one who can adapt to a child’s needs. For example, adjusting on the fly is a huge part of the job. A counselor might find himself teaching basketball one period and then dealing with sixty children in a rec. hall playing dodgeball later in the day as a result of inclement weather.
Employers look for individuals with leadership qualities. In camp, a leader is not only one that has to get up in front of hundreds of children. A leader is one who can motivate a child having a bad day or missing home. A leader is one who can encourage a child after he strikes out or drops a fly ball. A counselor who can motivate others, both campers and staff, has a great chance of being successful in the job market, where employers look for individuals who are team players. In camp, a counselor must be willing to put the needs of others ahead of their own needs. A counselor understands that their job description extends far beyond teaching a land sport, hobby, or skill. A true team player is willing to do whatever it takes in order to get the job done.
If a counselor possesses a team-first mentality, they are likely to become a valuable member in another organization. Finally, employers look to hire individuals who process problem-solving skills. A camp counselor can make a hundred decisions in a given day. Whether it be resolving bunk conflicts or cultivating relationships among campers, a successful counselor needs to address problems and find positive resolutions. Every counselor knows that this is a seasonal job with no Christmas bonuses or chances of hefty promotions.
However, our counselors recognize that the skills needed to be successful in life are cultivated here in our camp community. I have spoken to countless staff members from years past who credit their experience at Takajo as a major contributor in making them great parents, great teachers, and great role models for others.