We've each had the joy of working with former camp counselors in many of the positions that we've held. In fact, the two of us started our separate journeys to sr4 via McGaw YMCA Camp Echo in Fremont, Michigan. We love camp and we love camp people. Here are some reasons why we think they're some of the best people to work with.
1. THEY'RE TRUE TEAM PLAYERS
When you sleep, eat, and live in close quarters with all of your coworkers, it's crucial to be a good team player and carry your own weight. Camp people get that. Heck, half of their days are spent facilitating team-building and trust exercises and it's important to practice what you preach.
2. THEY LIVE OUTSIDE THEIR COMFORT ZONES
Camp is a place to push yourself out of your comfort zone into a place of personal growth. Camp people live for the "learning zone" and don't shy away from projects that challenge them. In fact, the more challenging the better; that just means they have a chance to grow!
3. THEY'RE BUILT FOR LOGISTICS
Have you ever had a day so well scheduled that even your meals are announced by the ring of a bell? Well that's every day for a camp person. When you're in the woods and children outnumber adults 10 to 1, order is everything. You need to know where everyone is at all times and have systems in place to find people if they're not where they're supposed to be. It's not surprising why so many camp people work in events; every day at camp feels like a parade that leads to a dinner party that precedes a musical that ends at prom!
4. THEY'RE NATURAL LEADERS
If you can coach a handful of four-foot campers to scale a 10-foot wall blindfolded without talking, then you can pretty much do anything. As leaders, camp people not only motivate people to do things they don't believe they can do, but they energize them in ways that will get the best out of their potential. Camp people understand the Golden Rule, but abide by the Platinum Rule.
5. THEY HAVE SPIRIT
Yes, they do. Sometimes, an overwhelming amount of spirit. But after a summer of coming up with witty things to say at flag-raising at the crack of dawn, you can bet they'll be enthusiastic during the Monday morning meeting.
6. THEY MAKE DREAMS BECOME REALITY
Superheroes, rockstars, and pirates are commonplace at camp as counselors do whatever it takes to create lifelong memories for the campers. They're able to bring wildly original ideas to life by buying into a shared vision and committing for the sake of the dream.
7. THEY TREAT THEIR WORK AS MORE THAN A JOB
You'll never hear a camp person say, "that's not my job." During the summer, counselors really only have one goal in mind: give the kids the best summer of their lives. So that means occasionally cleaning dishes after lunch and hosing down the KYBO (bathhouse) during service task. It means acting like a fool during evening program and cheering your head off during the all-camp Olympics. It means doing whatever it takes to make that summer the best summer ever, every summer. Camp people don't think in terms of "jobs"-- they think in terms of goals for bettering the team. All they need to know is what the team wants to accomplish and who will be involved. From there, it's everyone's "job" to get it done.
8. THEY LEAVE NO TRACE
Cabin Clean-up is no joke. Camp people like things organized, clean, and ready to use again. Don't believe us? Come take a look at our office.