How Working at Camp Prepared Me for University
Hiya everyone! My name is Zya and I’m super excited to head into my 7th season on staff at Cave Springs this summer as the Assistant Director. I started working at Cave Springs as a Day Camp Counsellor the summer after grade 12, right before I started university. Camp helped prepare me in ways that I didn’t even realize at the time! I’ve since graduated and upon reflection, here are some of the ways that working at camp helped prepare me for post-secondary:
I’m not saying I was perfect at this, but certainly, the importance of sticking to a schedule at camp and keeping track of time were handy skills that carried over to my time at university.
Organization and schedule planning
As a counsellor, I was responsible for planning activities for my campers. We were instructed to pencil them into weekly schedules. This type of schedule planning became useful when it came to planning classes, extra-curriculars, work and other commitments into my planner.
Responsibility and Confidence
Being in charge of the care and wellbeing of 10-15 campers certainly instils an intense sense of responsibility that carries over. Camp also gave me confidence in my leadership abilities, which helped me to put myself out there at university.
Making new friends
I didn’t know anyone on staff when I joined and learning how to make new friends is an important skill to work on before starting post-secondary for sure! In post-secondary, you are bound to meet new people in classes, residence or through joining clubs so it doesn’t hurt to get some practice in while you can- especially if you haven’t moved to a new city or switched schools before.
University/ college is full of the dreaded group projects. Working with my team at camp and learning to deal with the challenges that arise helped me gain skills in communication and conflict resolution. Also, you’ll benefit from gaining experience with getting along with people when it comes to roommates in residence, or house-mates in upper years.
How to work super hard
Camp is hard!!! We work long days, it’s hot and sometimes the kids can be challenging. But because of this, I learned how to push myself and worked super hard because the reward (kids having an awesome time at camp) was well worth it. This is like university- some days were very challenging, but hard work and determination lead to the reward of obtaining a degree.
Creative problem solving and flexibility
I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. Two great skills to have when tackling a university degree or any post-secondary option. Camp is an inherently creative environment and it encourages staff to think outside the box. I learned how to deal with tricky situations and a touch of chaos here and there, which definitely transferred to university well.
How to step back and look at the bigger picture
Understanding that all the little things that need to be done to get camp done help make it run smoothly. Even though cleaning a bathroom or sweeping the dining hall floor for the countless time can seem trivial in the moment, it always helped me to step back and think about the bigger picture. All the small parts add up to create an awesome time at camp for our campers. This was like university- I didn’t always love doing my readings or assignments but taking a moment to pause and think about the big picture always helped me to stay motivated.
At Cave Springs we teach our campers about love, trust, respect, patience, kindness, sacrifice and servant heartedness. All good values to apply to life beyond camp as well. It also filled me with a sense of greater purpose and helped me further my spiritual development in a way that helped me stay grounded in my time outside of camp.
I sought community wherever I went
This was a major one for me. After experiencing the way that the community at Cave Springs filled me with such contentment, I aimed to replicate this in the extracurriculars that I chose to do, or the workplaces that I entered.