Working at Summer Camp?

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Working at Summer Camp?

Postby pipestone1991 » Fri Sep 29, 2006 4:36 pm

I've been considering for some months now about working at summer camp next season. MY SM disapproves (my SM has been campmaster,asst. campmaster,field sports director, the lists goes on at summer camp). He thinks that some of the people that work there will bring me down. What'd you guys think? He told me that he encourages me to work at Philmont during my college years (apparently my mother told him I wanted too), but he said some staff will bring me down and want to quit scouts if I work at summer camp.
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Postby gwd-scouter » Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:09 pm

Pipestone. I don't know what summer camp you'd be working, but I can say without hesitation that my older son, now in 2nd year of college, has worked at our Council summer camp for four years and wants to go back again next summer.

He has had nothing but positive experiences working there - even though it is HARD work, LONG hours, and LITTLE pay. The staff he's worked with are among the best people he's met and may are now close friends.

As for me, I don't think I have ever seen him enjoy Scouting as much as the summers he has worked at camp. He has always worked in the Ecology (Nature) Department and this past summer was the Director.

Hope you get feedback from others on this forum about working at camp. I know some may have had negative experiences. I can only speak for what I've seen in my son.

Good luck to you.
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Postby WVBeaver05 » Fri Sep 29, 2006 11:22 pm

My experience is somewhat dated, but I can say without hesitation that the summer that I worked at the Council summer camp was a positive experience in Scouting. The only reason that I didn't do it every year was the rather low pay (I won't even say what it was because even most of the adults here just wouldn't believe it).

Friends, Scouting skills, leadership skills, confidence, improved interest in Scouting..... and much more resulted -- for me.

I have heard of some problems with staff members in recent years. I have observed the Staff at the same camp I used to work at for a week in each of the last two summers. Were there some problems? Yes there were! Did I see some conflicts? Yep! (Would some of the staff have been sent home "way back when"? Absolutely!!)

But, did I see positive staff actions and development? Yes!! Did I notice any of the "bad" pulling down the "good"? Not in the time that I observed. Could it happen? Of course.

That means you have to prevent it for yourself. If you follow the Scout Oath and Law as your guide you will seldom go wrong, at Summer Camp or most anywhere else.

Another benefit should be a strengthening of your new OA bonds!!

If you want more info about my experiences, just e-mail me directly.

One last piece of advise is to find a Scout (or several, if you can find them) who has served on the staff and discuss the experience in detail with them.

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Postby FrankJ » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:36 pm

Does your SM disapprove of any summer camps or just the one he worked at? Does he think working at summer camp is a bad idea idea for anyone or that you would not like for a specific reason?
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Postby ship3bosn » Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:57 pm

I can tell you from personal experience that working at summer camp is awesome. I worked at all of this past summer and I made a lot of friends and have a lot of memories. I can tell you for certain, however, that there will be people working at camp that may, if you let them, have a negative effect on you. At the camp I worked at, smoking was especially prevalent, and some of the staffers had negative attitudes. As a whole, the staff was mostly supportive and many of them were fun people to be around. You will be able to knock off quite a few merit badges over the summer (provided your bosses let you, which they should) and you'll gain a new prospective on scouting. Helping out the younger scouts is definitely a rewarding experience. I can't tell you how awesome it feels to get a kid who never swam before to pass the swimmers test.

Overall, you really have to weigh the pros and cons. On the plus side, I guarantee you will have one heck of a summer. You will have a multitude of memories of good times over the course of the few months you are there. On the negative side, the pay is excruciatingly low (the most any staffers made at my camp was about $90 a week, most made $70-$80) and the hours are long (you are on call 24-7 and this past summer I had to move boats at 3 AM in a flash flood, NOT fun). You will get just one day off per week and you're contact with the outside world will be minimal. Most likely, you'll be in a tent, although many camps are going to cabins for the staff. The food will be dining hall with the campers (mine was one of the few that has patrol cooking, which means the staff eat in piece) and you will be constantly expected to be on your best behavior.

All this said, what do I recommend? DO IT! You will have a blast! 10 years from now it won't be the bad food or that really annoying camper or any of that stuff that you remember. What you will think about for the rest of your life is all the friends you made at camp and all the hilarious times you had with them.
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working at camp

Postby mommatoodle » Sat Oct 21, 2006 6:24 pm

my son volunteered at cub camp this past summer. he will cit next summer. he loved it...he can't wait for school to be out so he can go back. i have seen him grow in self reliance and self confidence. go for it...don't let someone else's experience turn you off.
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Postby jr56 » Mon Oct 23, 2006 1:51 pm

It's been alot of years since I worked at Summer Camp, but I would say, all in all it was a positvie experience and I would reccomend that you do it.
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Postby T83NCMomma » Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:28 am

My son did not enjoy his experience, and so far, every one of our scouts who has worked at summer camp (except the Venture Girls) has come back from camp wanting to hurry up and get their Eagle and "get out of Scouts".

We had at least three campers sent home for smoking pot, and also had boys peeking into the girls tents while they were changing this past summer.

I was not impressed, and my son will not be going back to this particular camp.

That being said, I think that there are probably great camps out there, you just need to find a camp that has good leadership. I believe that it can be a great experience, but I would really be mindful of the camp you choose.
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Postby NatureBoy » Wed Nov 08, 2006 11:14 am

Working at summer camp is one of the best jobs I have ever had. You learn so much just being away on your own. Especially if you haven't had a college experience yet. Being a camp counselor was also great because the best life lessons I have learned have been at summer camp. You learn so much more about yourself and how you deal with other people. It is just an amazing experience overall. I highly suggest it.
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Postby Ridge Runner » Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:51 pm

I've had both good and bad experiences working on staff. The worst was as a Program Director at a camp that I won't mention. By the end of the summer I had become a proxy Camp Director ending up by nearly firing the whole staff and running program with CIT's (just don't get me started on HUD, please).

However, the camp's over all tone is set by both the Camp Director and Program Director in how they deal with their staff, especially the junior staff, and CIT's. If they are playing favorites, then I would suggest another camp.

However, I would also suggest for those interested, avoiding the base camp experience, and tie directly into a camp's High Adventure program that allows you to operate independent and outside of the camp, working and learning under the direction of a Trek Director. You'll learn more, and take on much more responsibility then you would in a base camp.
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Postby scouter01 » Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:42 am

this is a bit old, pipe, but its really hard and little pay, so it must be really fun to work with younger kids or want to leave ur parents that bad lol.
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Postby pipestone1991 » Sat Jun 02, 2007 9:23 pm

scouter01 wrote:this is a bit old, pipe, but its really hard and little pay, so it must be really fun to work with younger kids or want to leave ur parents that bad lol.


I was going to work at camp this summer (I even filled out my entire application!)....but then I got heavely involved in my Eagle journey and since ZMarch have gotten halfway through my project and my last 3 Eagle req mbs done.....so....next summer it is!
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Postby Craft Lady » Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:23 pm

That sounds like a good plan Pipe.

When I read this earlier today my first thought was that your SM proably knows more then you do about the camp staff enviorment so I would listen, but in the end the choice is yours to make.

With the choice you made even if things are the way he says and it makes you want to quit scouting, you will have your Eagle. However I would like to say, that it would be sad if it does turn out like he says and you do not enjoy being on staff, for your to quit. You have worked so hard and should be proud of all you have acomplished and not let a few people take away something that you clearly love.

Just my 2 cents.

I know I am on Day Camp Staff and it is hard work. My son is on the service patrol each year and that is really rough. Those boys work really hard doing the jobs that the staff don't want to do, like taking care of the trash, etc. They work really hard with ussually little to no recognition. I asked my son why he keeps doing it... his answer ... Because the boy scouts that worked day camp when he was a cub helped make it easier on the staff so the staff could focus on the boys and he had a great time at camp as a result. So he wants to give back to the current cub scouts.

So it is work but I bet if you look at it with an attitude of giving, it will be worth it. Even if you HATE being on Staff, you will have done your part and gave back to a program you believe in.


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Postby WVBeaver05 » Sun Jun 03, 2007 9:19 am

Craft Lady wrote:I know I am on Day Camp Staff and it is hard work. My son is on the service patrol each year and that is really rough. Those boys work really hard doing the jobs that the staff don't want to do, like taking care of the trash, etc. They work really hard with ussually little to no recognition. I asked my son why he keeps doing it... his answer ... Because the boy scouts that worked day camp when he was a cub helped make it easier on the staff so the staff could focus on the boys and he had a great time at camp as a result. So he wants to give back to the current cub scouts.

The amount of WORK required to put on a Scouting event is tremendous. Those with minimal exposure to Scouting events have no idea, and even most long time Scouters who have not participated underestimate it.

I was co-director for a Cub Activity Weekend (that allowed the Packs to camp overnight) earlier this year and the prepatory work ran into the hundreds of hours. The Youth Staff work hard and allow the activity to be a success (and we recognized them every chance we got!), but the Adult volunteers were the ones that spent most of the time getting ready.

Also, just got back from setting up camp for our Council's upcoming NYLT course. Again, almost unbelievable amount of pre-work, but for this event the Youth Staff is more involved in that part as they are more involved in the entire process.

NOTE: Shameless advertisement! All Scouts reading this should give serious consideration to attending NYLT. It is a fabulous course and you will learn things that will help you in your Troop setting AND in the rest of your life. You can count on a new thread on the subject in a couple of weeks when I am back from my Staff position in this course. But, the message remains the same - GO! As for SM's and other Scouters you should be identifying appropriate Scouts and encouraging them to go.

YiS
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Postby Ron S » Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:48 pm

I was on staff for 4 years back in the mid '70s. Best experience of my life! Do it! Starting pay was $30 per week (about the same as it cost a camper to go to camp). You don't do it for the money.
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Postby Ron S » Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:48 pm

I was on staff for 4 years back in the mid '70s. Best experience of my life! Do it! Starting pay was $30 per week (about the same as it cost a camper to go to camp). You don't do it for the money.
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Postby Chief J » Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:46 am

I spent some time on camp staff as a youth in the mid 70's. One of the best experiences of my life. I really enjoyed the opportunity to be away from home and working at a job I loved.

I will say we worked hard, but I never heard anyone complain. If I remember right, I was paid around $400 for my efforts. That being said it wasn't for the money.

I also worked at camp against my SM's wishes (I was SPL of the Troop). As a result of his disapproval and the effect it had on our relationship, I ended up leaving my Troop in the fall, and focused my efforts on the exploring program I was also involved in at the time. Only regret was I did not make Eagle. However, the experiences of camp are still with me to this day.

My son spent 3 weeks at Camp as a CIT this summer. He loved the experience, and is looking forward to the opportunity to go back to work at camp next summer as a staff member for the entire summer. I hope he keeps his enthusiasm and follows through.

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Postby cescout » Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:01 am

I wanted to go and work at my local camp and I just missed the deadline for applications, I wish now I would of, but I guess next year it will be more of a push to get my butt in gear.
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Postby Chief J » Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:14 am

cescout wrote:I wanted to go and work at my local camp and I just missed the deadline for applications, I wish now I would of, but I guess next year it will be more of a push to get my butt in gear.


Keep your eyes peeled, I know in our council, they have several dates set aside for interviews, however, it seems that there usually are a few positions available (or that open up) right up to the start of camp.

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Postby cescout » Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:21 pm

Thanks,

I will look into that.
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