Arts & Culture / Mosaic / February 13, 2013

Knox students go back to camp

According to Punxsutawney Phil, it will be an early spring this year, and as spring term approaches, so does the thought of potential summer jobs.

While some college students remember summer as a time for water fights, popsicles and summer camp, now that they have gotten older, summer camps provide long-term summer job opportunities for college students as camp counselors. This job requires patience, a knack for fun and lots of energy.

Junior Megan Kapes was a counselor at an all-girls camp called Camp Kupagani in Leaf River, Ill. last summer.

“[Camp] was amazing, I love working with little kids. I want to be an elementary school teacher so it was perfect,” she said.

Some of the responsibilities Kapes held were always being there for her campers and always having responsibility of her campers. She had the opportunity to work with children ages 6 to 12. Her favorite part of camp was the activities with the kids.

Senior Mike Carr has had camp experience working with a much younger age group of 4-5 year olds. His job at Glenview Parks District’s “Little Giants Camp” was to “teach the kids basic sport technique and keep camp fun for the campers.”

Carr talked about some difficulties he encountered.

“[There are] children who don’t want to leave their parents in the morning. Sometimes a camper will be having a bad morning, so they will cry when they first get to camp and it is the counselor’s job to cheer them up.”

Overall, Carr said he enjoyed the experience because it was fun to play around with kids.

Senior Aimee Neilan has a plethora of experience when it comes to summer camp. The last three summers, she has worked for Camp Laurel in Maine, and before that, she worked at a day camp for elementary age children.

“To me, the positive experiences at camp always outweigh the negative ones,” she said.

In addition to being a counselor, she has worked as a tennis instructor, and most recently, she designed the nature and experiential learning program at Camp Laurel. At night, her campers would put on skits, dances or even lip sync. Neilan agrees that being a counselor at a sleep-away camp can require a lot of patience.

“At a sleep-away camp, counselors don’t get very much down-time away from their campers, so they really have to be prepared to be with them 24/7. Counselors help campers with their problems, cheer them on, listen to their complaints, encourage them to try new things, comfort them when they are home-missing and always try to be their advocate,” she said.

Her experience as a camp counselor has shaped her career, as she is an education major. She loves the experience of helping kids learn something new.

“I think I realized my passion for teaching during my camp experience, and it led me to pursue teaching as a career,” Neilan said.

Tags:  camp camp counselor counselor summer camp

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