How to Use Camp Work as a Resume Builder
You can leverage your camp work experience to support your future career.
While we think camp work is the bees knees, we know that not everyone will end up a “lifer.” Whether you work for one camp season or many, you may eventually look to other industries to pursue other passions, interests, and opportunities. Fortunately, your camp work experiences can serve you well as you move to other roles!
When creating your post-camp resume, be sure to emphasize the following transferable skills and qualities:
People at camp work long, hard hours in close contact with other people. They know how to get projects done in a distraction-heavy environment. Emphasize events and activities you organized, hours you worked, or time spent “on call.”
Just think about it – someone put you directly in charge of the lives of a group of people! Being a camp counselor suggests trust, responsibility, and maturity. Be sure to include how many participants you oversaw, both in cabins you managed and programs you led.
Kids have crises! Responding to a medical issue in the middle of the night or re-organizing and event gone wrong on-the-spot displays some pretty important skills. Your camp roles can demonstrate to future employers that you know how to handle a dynamic, stressful environment while keeping your calm.
Communication is constant at camp! Camp people tend to be experts at working collaboratively, and are used to talking through difficult scenarios face-to-face. Camp folks are also frequent presenters, with skit nights, activities, and lessons being presented to large groups. These skills transfer easily into any workplace and are worth emphasizing on your resume!
Just a few weeks ago, I was talking to someone who offers training to big-name CEOs around the country. He told me how these CEOs gripe that when they were younger, they sought out trainings in technical skills related to their jobs. Once they started work they found it was soft skills like communication and giving and taking feedback that came up more often than finance or marketing. Conveniently, soft skills are exactly what camp jobs develop – your training is ahead of the curve, so list the training you have received!
Post-Camp Work Opportunities
Where can you go after working at a camp? Anywhere! Camping is a real industry and opens up opportunities in education, recreation, social services, resource management, tourism, and more. Others are taking notice of the value of camps to society:
In November of 2016 the Department of Commerce started actively tracking the value of outdoor recreation; also, the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (which replaced No Child Left Behind) officially recognized the critical role “out-of-school time programs” play in the life of children, and camps can now qualify for federal grants to do work they have been doing for years.
We know folks personally who have gone on to work in technology companies, pursue advanced degrees, become artists, or start their own businesses – with a camp background, there is a ton of possibility out there!