Many college students plan to use their summers in a way that is productive towards their academic or career goals, and will often do so by seeking a job or summer internship. There are many benefits to either option, but did you know that working at a summer camp might be able to fulfill both options? We’ll tell you how working at a summer camp is not only a fun and uniquely rewarding experience, but how it can also be an opportunity to further your academic and career goals. Below, we’ll be breaking this down into two categories – either you are required to find an internship, or you are deciding if you should seek an internship vs. a summer job.
Situation 1: You Need to Have an Internship
If you are in a situation where you are required to find an internship relevant to your degree, you may be in luck! Many summer camps are staffed primarily by college students. Since many camps rely on college students to fulfill their staffing needs, some have developed partnerships with universities that allow them to have positions that can fulfill an internship requirement.
If you are interested in finding a way to work at a summer camp as a means of fulfilling your internship requirement, then you must first have your academic advisor outline the requirements and expectations of your internship. When you find a camp you are interested in, ask if they have ever done something like this before. Be sure to let them know that a condition of your employment would involve fulfilling an internship requirement. You and the camp director would then take a look at the requirements outlined by your advisor to decide whether or not they could be fulfilled by the camp. A common requirement is the duration of the internship. If the summer season does not appear to be long enough, check to see how long staff training is, as many universities accept staff training as a part of the experience. If that’s still not enough time, ask about off-season opportunities, as many camps need help setting-up and breaking-down the camp.
While it may seem like the only obvious courses of study an internship at a summer camp would work for would be Recreation or Education, there are lots of different jobs that make a camp work, and you could likely gain relevant experience in fields like Marketing, Human Resources, Sports Management, Counseling, Nursing, Graphic Design, and more.
Situation 2: You are Deciding Between Finding an Internship and Finding a Summer Job
While internships have been a traditional rite of passage for many college students, there are seemingly more and more advantages to skipping them altogether in favor of job experience.
Young people entering the job force are often faced with the contradiction of being told that they need to have more job experience to be qualified for the entry-level positions they are applying for right out of college. Unfortunately, most internships simply don’t provide the kind of useful experience jobs are looking for. Add onto that how many internships are unpaid, and you quickly see the value of opting instead for a summer job.
While all summer camps are different, they will all likely provide pay, food and board, and a host of valuable work experience. Expect to actively work on leadership, communication, time-management, problem-solving, teamwork, delegation, and adaptability; all highly-sought-after skills. You’ll also get plenty of chances to practice public speaking, which will help you stay cool and confident in interviews.
While being a camp counselor alone is sure to give you more than enough great stories to share with future interviewees, keep in mind that there are plenty of positions within summer camps. If you can dedicate more than one summer and show that you worked your way “up” into a development or management role, you will be sure to stand out to future hiring managers. To learn more about how working at a summer camp can look awesome on your resume, read our article HERE.
If you need more convincing from someone who lived through the decision of internship vs. summer camp, we really enjoyed this read: This One Time at Summer Camp: Why I’ve Never Had a Summer Internship
Now that you have an idea of how working at a summer camp can help fulfill your internship requirements, we hope you find a camp that is a perfect fit for you!
Want to learn more? We make it our mission to gather all the necessary information to help you find your perfect camp job.