Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 9/5/2015 (893 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Where can a young person find a job that helps them stand out in a crowd without competitiveness?
Where can youth find a summer job that results in building lifelong friendships and lifelong employability skills?
On the other hand, where can a caring adult find a role developing young people in an outdoor atmosphere of fun and entertainment?
And finally, where's the best job you can find where age doesn't matter, and the generations blend together for the success of all? The answer is summer camp.
On the other hand, where can children experience positive personal growth and self-reliance while making new friends with other children they wouldn't normally meet? Where can children develop outdoor and wilderness skills that will last a lifetime?
And finally, where can children join together to have fun and just be themselves in a relaxing and fun environment? The answer here, too, is summer camp.
Summer is an important season in Manitoba, bringing with it the Friday-night mass exodus to the lake cottage starting on the Victoria Day long weekend in May. Hardy camping families have booked their favourite spot well before the season opens. They are excited to pack up every weekend and enjoy the open fire, the fresh air and the opportunity to take leisurely walks outdoors.
Still others, young and old, head for the local beaches to enjoy the weekend sunshine and create some fun and entertainment. Let's face it: Summer, beaches, cottages and camping have become a tradition for Manitobans.
At the same time, camping has moved beyond simply an individual family event and has now become a "movement" and/or a "cause," where a group of people takes action to focus on creating social change by facilitating positive personal experiences.
In 1891, the YM/YWCA was the first of the Manitoba camping movement to start a summer-camp program, now known as Camp Stephens. The goal was to improve the lives of children and foster the growth and development of mind, spirit and body.
Since then, specialized camps such as art, music, sports, wilderness, horseback riding, cooking camps, construction and science camps for girls and health-related camps are populating the landscape.
It would be great if every child had the opportunity to attend a summer camp. With that in mind, the Camping Association of Manitoba started its well-known Sunshine Fund to help children attend summer camp regardless of race, faith, family income or special needs. Donations at this time are welcome.
As with workplaces, families want their children to be in a place where it is safe to learn and play. Here, too, the Manitoba Camping Association takes the lead and has developed and maintains standards for organized camping in Manitoba. These standards range from sound financial practices to ensuring safety in various program activities to recommended environmental standards.
But let's get back to the topic of jobs. Just what are the benefits of working at the many summer camps located in Manitoba? I can tell you, it won't be for the money. For youth, it's an opportunity to develop broad-based skills and friendships that will hold you in good stead for the rest of your life. You'll learn skills such as leadership, problem-solving, crisis management, communication, relationship-building, public speaking, influencing others, listening and how to think on your feet.
You'll also leave summer camp being more patient, more compassionate, motivated about life and more creative. Not only that, you'll have had the experience of working outdoors in the fresh air, enjoying the sunshine, and marvelling at the beautiful nighttime skies with a circle of friends of all ages.
And, just what types of jobs are available in a summer-camp program? Summer-camp jobs range from camp directors to program managers, front-line activity workers, camp counsellors and cottage counsellors.
Of course, there are a large number of behind-the-scenes support jobs required to operate a camp, such as nurses and first-aid specialists, cooks, housekeepers, grounds and maintenance staff. Many job-seekers come with specialized skills in sports or physical development, music, the arts and wilderness activities, while others may be involved in acquiring their specialized technical accreditation in a chosen field.
All are needed. All are welcome.
The job of any camp worker is to help children have a fun and safe experience, to facilitate friendships and to encourage children to try new adventures and learn new skills. All in all, the goal is to have participants leave with increased confidence and self-esteem and an enriched personal experience within a natural environment.
As I mentioned earlier, camping has become a social movement; one that attracts and retains those with a passion for helping others. Camp "comrades" are special people who come back year after year. When their work experience is over, you'll often find them volunteering at the association board level. Camping creates lifetime friendships and becomes a lifelong commitment to the cause.
As well, because of their involvement working in the summer-camping field, many youths go on to to highly responsible professions where all of their skills are utilized, especially the relationship-building strengths they've gained. Their experiences are memorable.
Today with a growing city-based population, summer-camping experiences for young people is an important ingredient to fostering the growth and development of our children's minds, spirits and bodies. It's one way to focus on ensuring the next generation of young people are taught a positive and balanced approach to life and learning.
From a work perspective, I refer to a summer-camp job as a "futures job," not only because of the multiple skills learned but also the lifelong friendships and networks that are built each summer season.
For more information about jobs and/or about contributing to the Sunshine Fund to help children attend summer camp, check out the Manitoba Camping Association, mbcamping.ca.
Barbara J. Bowes, FCHRP, CMC, CCP, M.Ed. is president of Legacy Bowes Group and president of Career Partners International, Manitoba. She is also a radio host, author and professional speaker. She can be reached at email@example.com.