Welcome to our world-famous summer camp advice column – where our resident summer camp expert, Auggie Augusta, answers your questions about anything related to summer camp jobs! Today we talk about making the difficult choice between a summer of fun with a summer camp job, or an internship, as well as how to best prepare for an interview with a summer camp.
Summer Camp Job Or Internship?
My parents are really pushing for an internship this summer. I’m studying finance and they don’t want me to fall behind by not making the most of the summer. I know that if I stick with finance I only have so many summers left and really want to spend it outside doing something new. What should I do here?
– Uninterested in Internship
I am unapologetically pro-camp, so I can’t imagine you expected me to tell you that “no actually a summer in an air conditioned office is actually best for you”. That would just as silly as thinking camp has no value in a future career, even one in an industry such as finance.
Beyond wanting a summer adventure, you are entering a field that is going to ask a lot of you and you will need a vibrant and varied toolbelt at your disposal. I did a cursory search of some of the skills that folks in the finance industry are looking for.
- Finance related training and education
- Interpersonal skills
- Problem solving
- Communication skills
Companies are searching for and value skills beyond technical ability. In other words, future employers want you to have strong soft skills, not just hard hard skills. There is no better environment to hone your soft skills than at camp, which provides opportunity after opportunity to push your comfort zone, problem solve on the fly, and embrace both failure and success.
When you are ready to choose between summer camp and an internship, consider your options through a frame of “Return on Investment” (a little finance reference just for you). A finance internship is going to give you finance experience, which you may already be getting from your finance education. A summer at camp is going to challenge you in an entirely different way. You will not gain a lot of technical finance training, but I guarantee you will walk away from a summer at camp with stronger interpersonal, problem solving, and communication skills.
When you graduate, you are going to be one of many who has a bright shiny new degree in finance. When employers go to narrow that pool of applicants, they start looking at soft skills. Be the fresh grad that wows employers with your strong communication skills and uniquely powerful problem solving ability – and then tell them you learned it at camp.
I never said I was unbiased!
Best of luck,
What to expect from a summer camp interview
I have an interview for a summer camp and I am really nervous about it. It’s over Zoom and I wasn’t given clear guidance for what to expect. Any idea what it will be like?
-Interview Zoom Gloom
If I could gaze into my magic crystal and tell you exactly what to expect, I would. But alas, I am crystal-less. That being said, having been around the camp block, I have a general idea about what camps are looking for.
Camps take a wide variety of applicants. People who were campers as kids, and people who have never been to camp before; outdoorsy types, theater types, athletes and artists. You need all sorts to make a camp go round, so during an interview, a camp is probably looking less critically about what you do, and more about who you are. They are going to want to know about how you handle challenges, how you communicate with others, and what some of your strengths are as a person.
Skills like rock climbing, crafts, and music are all wonderful bonuses, but you should not worry about them being the focus of your interview. The one skill that definitely could make or break any application is experience with children. Some camps are willing to take a risk on an applicant who has never worked with kids before, others have a hard line on mandatory experience before a hire. The reason is no matter how awesome of a person you are, if you don’t like kids, camp probably will not be a great experience this summer.
In preparation for your interview, have some examples under your belt for times you’ve overcome conflict, worked with children, and solved a problem. Make a list of your best qualities and how you see those playing out during the summer. (Make a list of your challenges too! Even if you don’t share these during the interview it is good to go into a summer aware of where you may struggle!) Finally, do your research on the camp and learn more about their program’s goals and philosophies. Then, prepare some questions to demonstrate that you’ve looked into their program.
On the day of the interview, dress for success and do your best to just be yourself.
Best of luck!
We hope we’ve helped you make the important decision between choosing a summer camp job or an internship. Both choices certainly have their pros and cons. If you chose camp, you now know more of what to expect from the interview, and you can find more tools to get hired here!
Want to know more? Our Summer Camp experts are ready to answer any of your questions to help you find the perfect camp job. Get in touch today!