As a college student, I am used to getting asked the question, “What are you doing this summer?” Most people expect for a student going into their senior year to spend their summer taking summer classes or working as a summer intern within their academic field. Responding with, “I’m working at a summer camp in North Carolina for 10 weeks” isn’t what most people expect. I’m used to the response people give me when I tell them that I work as a camp counselor; they usually say “Oh! That’s fun.” The thing is, a lot of people don’t understand why working at camp is equally as important and enriching as an internship or a babysitting job or earning college credit.
Working as a counselor stretches you. Just like working in an office for the summer, working as a camp counselor provides opportunities for growth in a particular set of skills. Although I may not be growing in my knowledge of Excel spreadsheets or be affiliated with a large business, I am growing in my practice with people. I am learning each and every day how to put others before myself. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially for a college student. As a college student, so much about life is selfish, even if you don’t mean to be. When you’re in college, you call the shots (for the most part.) You are responsible for yourself; you decide when you’re going to take class and you decide if you’re going to go to class. You decide when you’re going to wake up and go to sleep, what you’re going to eat, with whom you’re going to associate. In the college world, it is easy to focus on yourself, your studies, your budget, and your schedule without every really thinking of others before yourself.
It has been long said that the secret of Greystone is unselfishness. This practice of unselfishness is so important for people to experience, and I believe camp is one of the only places where unselfishness is a true part of the job description and experience. Learning unselfishness while working at Greystone for the summer is transformative! It teaches college students like myself that it isn’t all about us, but rather it is about thinking of others and loving them. It is important to work at a place like Greystone, because it builds one’s character and allows one to become less selfish and more mindful of the thoughts and feelings of others.