If you know anything about working at camp, you know it’s supposed to be a fun summer gig, maybe something you do once or twice in college, before you leave your youth behind and start a “real job.” You may have even felt pressure from parents or mentors to take advantage of your precious few college summers to take an internship in your field, or catch up on classes to get ahead of your peers.
There’s no denying that working as a camp counselor can be a lot of fun; you’ll find yourself belting out silly songs, jumping in on a game of Tetherball, and participating in a skit to make your campers laugh, all within a few hours! But all that fun is just the icing on the cake of a job that will help you grow as a person and develop as a leader in an environment that will both challenge and encourage you.
We’ve talked before about the skills you gain working at camp, and why you might choose Greystone over an internship, and today we’re looking at the whole picture, from the people that know best: our former staffers! What factored in to their decision to work at camp? How did they grow while they were here? And (most interestingly!) what feedback have they gotten from employers about their years at a summer camp? Read on to hear from the people that have been in your shoes. And if you decide you want to be a part of our team and grow as an employee this summer? We’re waiting for your application!
“The first summer, the summer after my freshman year, was an easy decision and lots of my friends were taking similar jobs, so it felt very much the norm. The second summer I came back was a much different story, and I felt a lot of pressure to take a job with more direct experience (especially since I had not had any internship experience at that time). Ultimately, I felt that the “soft skills” I could garner from another summer at camp would be largely beneficial to my future career and decided to come back to camp.” - Teddi
“I originally signed my contract for Summer 2020, but we all know how that turned out. When Greystone was canceled, I didn’t have anything to do, and I felt even more pressure to get an internship to “catch up” even though the entire world did nothing. At this point, I was a rising senior and had to decide if I wanted to re-sign my contract for 2021. Ultimately, I decided to re-sign and teach Tennis because I felt like it would be my most stable option with Covid. As the summer grew closer, I became more anxious over whether I had made the right choice to work at a summer camp at 21 years old, especially since it felt like we were returning to a more normal world. I can now say with certainty that it was the best decision I ever made. I am now returning for my second summer because it was THAT good.” - Mary Carroll
“My first summer on staff was in 1995, after my freshman year in college! I ended up staying for August Camp even though I was supposed to be back at school for our sorority work week heading into Rush. When the summer of 1996 rolled around, I felt the pressure to take an internship with a major accounting firm. So, I dressed up in work clothes and high heels, went to fancy lunches and thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. But I thought about camp EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. I can’t remember if it was Laura or Jimboy that I talked to in the middle of June, but a week later I had quit the internship and driven from Dallas to Greystone to be there before Main Camp Opening Day. I stayed through August Camp again. I have never regretted this decision and was never asked about only doing an internship for one month!” - Allison
“I gained a ton of skills at camp! I learned how to take care of 10-12 girls of various ages in a cabin, how to effectively communicate with others, how to be a team player and not a “me-me bird”, and so many more. I knew coming into the first summer that the work would be hard and challenging, but oh so worth it! I was surprised at how much I learned about myself.” - Kelley
“Primarily, the skills I gained were “soft skills” that could be applied to all the jobs I have had after college. I learned teamwork, time management, leadership, creative problem solving, motivation, working in changing circumstances, planning, and working with a good attitude despite being tired or grumpy on the inside. As a communications professional in a nonprofit, I use the skills daily.” - Teddi
“I think every job I approach is easier because of Greystone. Problem-solving, leadership, creativity, and interpersonal skills are all things employers value that I was able to develop and bring back to the “real world.” Whether it is a retail job or my publishing internship, I never feel above any task.” - Mary Carroll
“Working in a camp environment allows you to make real connections with people. As a counselor, you are a learning to work with different personalities doing all kinds of crazy things. Without even realizing it, you are gaining valuable interpersonal skills most jobs are looking for. You will get more comfortable speaking in front of others!” - Allison
“The CEO that hired me for my current position loved hearing about my camp experiences and said from the beginning that she knew that anyone who worked at summer camp was a hard worker. In fact, she regularly comes to me with an idea and says “I need you and your camp skills to put together this game, event, contest, etc.” My first job out of college was in insurance, and that boss also was happy to see camp on my resume. He had daughters that had attended a similar summer camp and had seen how beneficial it was to their personal growth each summer. He remarked that he knew what a wonderful environment camp was how hard the staff at his daughter’s camp worked. It was a treat to have someone know and recognize that.” - Teddi
“Being at camp helped me grow in getting out of my shell and in learning about and relating to people better. My employers have appreciated my ability to command respect in the classroom while also helping students feel at ease. That ability is something I was able to hone from teaching classes at camp.” - Angela
“Being a camp counselor is the most wonderful experience! You learn so much about yourself and valuable life lessons. If you are on the fence, take a leap of faith, trust God, and go for it. You won’t be sorry!” - Kelley
“The environment is so amazing it’s impossible to be sad or have a bad day. It was a lot of work but so much fun, and I left a better person than I came. Camp has a way of bringing your best self to the forefront. If I could give any advice to anyone on the fence, it would be to ignore your peers and the competitive nature of the world. You have the rest of your life to have a “career,” so really, what’s the rush?” - Mary Carroll
“Consider this as well. You are doing something different. Not everyone chooses this path. It is a conversation starter, an ice breaker, a way to show how amazing you are. Choose Greystone! You won’t regret it.” - Allison
So don’t just take our word for it! Working at camp is the most valuable, joyful, meaningful, growth-filled thing you can do with your college summers.
Ready to take the leap? Fill out an application to start the process. We can’t wait to get to know you better, and tell you more about how you can make an impact here!