From afar, summer camp can look like all tie-dye and glitter (it’s not!) but those perceptions can lead employers to miss all of the incredible skills that come from camp experience – especially soft skills! There are tons of articles out there about the soft skills that modern employers are looking for. A summer at camp will put those super desirable soft skills front and center on your resume. Keep reading to learn our top 5 soft skills that summer camp puts on your resume.
What Are Soft Skills & Why Do They Matter?
When employers put out a call for new hires, they are first and foremost looking for people who can do the job e.g. you need medical training (technical skills) to be a doctor. Once an employer has a pool of qualified applicants, it is the soft skills that take center stage. Soft skills are the traits and abilities inherent to you, your work ethic, and way of being. If hard skills are what you do, soft skills are how you do it.
There is no better soft skill developer than summer camp. Let’s talk about the skills camp is going to put on your resume.
The Top 5 Soft Skills Summer Camp Puts On Your Resume
Like any skill, you only grow when you are challenged and there is no better place to have your soft skills challenged than summer camp. Your job as a counselor is to create a magical summer – and without a magic wand you must rely on your own abilities to make it happen.
Anyone who went through a summer at camp is going to walk away with some seriously toned soft skills that are guaranteed to wow employers. Let’s check out those Top 5!
1) Adaptability & 2) Problem Solving
Every day at camp, counselors are hustling through a huge range of tasks and meeting a variety of needs from both campers and fellow staff members, often with very little oversight and guidance. The wonderful chaos of camp puts Adaptability & Problem Solving in our Top 5 Summer Camp Soft Skills.
In a single day at camp, a counselor might encounter situations like,
- Four campers fighting and they each want to tell their side of the story first
- Missing supplies for the activity that is supposed to be happening right now
- A twisted ankle in the middle of a nature hike
When things go wrong the only choice is to adapt to the situation and try to solve it by diagnosing what needs to be done and swiftly taking action.
Remaining calm when the world around you starts to feel shaky takes some serious skill. While you might feel like a deer-in-the-headlights at first, your adaptability and problem solving will grow from reactionary to proactive. With these finely tuned soft skills you will,
- Spot and avoid pitfalls from miles away
- Breeze through obstacles with such finesse that campers will have no idea something isn’t going according to plan
Adaptability and Problem Solving is super desirable to employers because Summer Camp far from the only place things go wrong. In any job you go into, plans will go awry and fires will pop up that need to be put out. Employers need adaptable and creative people on their team who have experience with problem solving on the fly i.e. they need camp counselors.
3) Emotional Intelligence
When it comes to avoiding problems at camp, especially ones that directly relate to camper behavior, you will find that it takes more than a “stop that” to amend the situation. To succeed at camp, you will need to be able to effectively communicate with campers and fellow staff members, which puts Emotional Intelligence & Communication into the Top 5 Summer Camp Soft Skills.
Depending on the structure of the camp, you may see hundreds of campers throughout one summer. That’s a lot of personalities that you are meeting for the first time – and are meeting each other for the first time. Without a guiding force, it’s a time bomb.
Take it from a former counselor who made her fair share of rookie mistakes, emotional intelligence is everything – it is what separates you from a child. As a counselor, campers are looking to you to interpret and meet their needs. When you are able to build stronger emotional intelligence within yourself, you are better equipped to take on challenges within your cabin without letting it drain you.
Employers are looking for people with strong emotional intelligence because it is a sign of maturity and responsibility. The last thing your future employer wants to do is babysit you or treat you like a child. If you can demonstrate strong emotional intelligence, your employer will see a resilient, thoughtful, and life-experienced employee.
Emotional intelligence is a must for guiding your kids through camp and preventing yourself from burning out over the course of a summer – pair that internal power with a strong outward expression and you’ll be unstoppable. Effective communication is necessary for advocating your needs, building trust, and making sure things get done the right way.
During the summer, it is practically a guarantee that something will go wrong or you will butt-heads with someone. (Check out our piece in what camp is really like). Counselors who are able to handle conflict directly, intelligently, and quickly have a better summer because they do not allow frustrations to bog them down for too long – they take the bull by the horns and communicate with their team about what is going on or what they need.
Future employers find strong communication skills highly desirable. In the future, you will be asked to work with people who you may not have a natural rapport with, or who you find downright difficult. When it comes time to work with challenging individuals, your experience working on a summer camp staff team (which is made of all sorts of personalities) will set you up for success while impressing the people around you.
As projects are passed along or tasks require collaboration, employers want to make sure that their employees are able to effectively communicate with each other, regardless of personal tastes. Employees who lack communication skills and are afraid of asking questions or addressing problems will ultimately hold projects back – something employers definitely want to avoid.
5) Time Management
I have yet to meet a day that is quite as jam-packed as a day at camp. From before breakfast to long after campers have gone to sleep, there is always something to be done. Time is a scarcity at camp and being able to make the precious free time you have count makes Time Management our last Top 5 Soft Skills.
Summer camp is wonderful in that it allows staff to create and build their own magical ideas into the camp program. Whether it is a skit, adventure hike, or day wide program, these require a certain level of planning – and often not the time available to do it. Staff members who are able to quickly move ideas into reality will gain more satisfaction from summer camp because they are able to make their mark on the summer while still balancing important tasks like showering and sleeping.
Future employers find time management highly desirable. The saying “time is money” rings true for employers when they assign roles and responsibilities. Employers of course want things done right, but when they are paying for your time, they are looking for a level of efficiency that will benefit the company. If you are able to self-sufficiently manage your time and produce results that balance efficiency and excellency, you will quickly be noted and appreciated by your employer – your value by the hour will go up!
The Top 5 Soft Skills camp will put on your resume are:
- Problem Solving
- Emotional Intelligence
- Time Management
Now here is how they will show up on your resume.
Putting Your Soft Skills From Summer Camp Front & Center On Your Resume
If you are early in your career, you might not have the most impressive resume. That’s okay. The way you phrase your camp experience can make a world of difference and will make it clear to any employer that camp is more than tie-dye and glitter.
For any resume, you want to display where you worked, what your job title was, and when/for how long you worked there.
Your header might look like the following:
Camp Augusta | May – September 2020
Under Cabin Counselor you will bullet point the highlights of your job. This is where we put those soft skills on display! Every bullet point starts with a VERB, ideally the action-version of your soft skill.
Camp Augusta | May – September 2020
- Adapted to the fast paced camp environment and thrived in daily life
- Utilized problem solving daily as plans changed or campers conflicted with one another.
- Communicated my needs with the leadership team and fellow staff to build a cohesive summer
- Practiced emotional Intelligence to help sooth campers and build confidence
- Managed multiple original projects in a time crunch that resulted in strong positive feedback from staff and campers
Woah!! Check out those soft skills! You may have been doing tie-dye or life guarding or a silly skit in some of those examples, but chances are your future employer isn’t looking for your technical friendship bracelet skills, so show them what they are after, those incredible campy soft skills.
We hope you found some inspiration from this list, and have a better idea of what soft skills summer camp can put on your resume. Check out our tools to get hired at summer camp to learn more and make sure you get your dream job!
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!