Be a Camp Counselor Instead

Two girls being camp counselors

Did you know that being a summer camp counselor is more beneficial to your career than taking a summer internship, that the skills practiced and learned working at camp have far more value than the clerical duties often assigned college student interns? That’s exactly the claim put forward by Darryl Brown in his short article appearing in USA Today. He describes being a camp counselor as the “perfect summer job.”

“In this job, I am part of an organization that gives me duties that are critical to its long- and short-term success. Supervisors give me responsibilities such as interacting directly with customers on a daily basis, and they fully integrate me into the professional hierarchy. To top it all off, I am learning legitimate skills that will help me develop professionally when I move into the workforce.”

It’s true; having “camp counselor” on your resume is a very good thing. The skills required to be a great counselor are valuable and in demand by employers, things like problem solving, leadership, creativity and imagination, being a “team player,” stamina, compassion, responsibility and maturity.

Being a camp counselor means receiving training in all of these areas, and then means practicing them in the real world, working with kids and taking on the complexities of life in a summer camp community. Everyone will tell you that being a camp counselor was the most challenging and the most fun job they ever had. I suspect most summer interns won’t be able to say that.

What are you going to do this summer?

How To Bring Your “A” Game

Walk in the Woods camper
Rockbrook camper Suzy demonstrates the benefits of being outside

As hardworking students, you’ve rounded the corner into that time of the school year that can be laden with academic demands. The middle of the semester can keep you busy writing papers, studying for midterms, and maybe even preparing a senior thesis. A heavier workload usually translates into longer nights in the library, yet as important as scholastic success is, don’t forget to step outside every now and then. According to child environment and behavior researcher Andrea Faber Taylor, our directed attention, which we use when concentrating on tests and work, is not a limitless resource. Cracking the books day in and and day out leaves you with a serious case of both physical fatigue and mental fatigue.

So, what’s the cure? Go outside. Taylor’s theory of attention restoration argues that “walks in nature and views of green space capture our involuntary attention, giving our directed attention a needed rest”. Your physical environment has a significant effect on your mental state, and perhaps locking yourself in the basement of the library isn’t really the answer to your quest for academic accomplishment. Make a point to sit in the sun, walk around campus, or even eat lunch outside. Mother nature might just be your best study buddy yet.

Take Our October Challenge

This week we sent out the first installment of our monthly staff newsletter. Aside from including tricks of the trade (how to French braid!) and recipes (chocolate chip muffins- yum!), we challenged our counselors to pause from the hustle and bustle of the “real world” to do a few things to remind them how sweet this life is. See if you can take our challenge!

Can you complete five of the following tasks by the end of the month?

  • Make a new friend.
  • Say hello to ten strangers on the street.
  • Play with shaving cream.
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Make someone you love breakfast in bed.
  • Pick wild flowers.
  • Send snail mail (or snail texts!)
  • Start your morning with a dance party.
  • Read a good book.
  • Write a list of everything you’re thankful for.
  • Take a walk.
  • Take a bath.
  • Ignore Facebook for a whole week.
  • Go fresh-faced: no make-up for a day.
  • Eat a s’more.
  • Watch the sunrise.
  • Carve a pumpkin.

Camping in the Mountains

Check out this great page from a 1941 Rockbrook Catalog.  Campers had the opportunity to go on lots of different adventures including overnight camping trips.  Camping trips now follow the principles of Leave No Trace, but back in the 1940’s you can see that the camp outs were quite elaborate.  Don’t you know those S’mores tasted delicious?!

Campers at Rockbrook enjoy an overnight camp out
Rockbrook Catalog Excerpt, 1941

Wouldn’t You Like to be a Counselor too!

Who wouldn’t want to come back for another summer in the heart of a wooded mountain as a Rockbrook Counselor? It’s the place to be. Here is the next installment of familiar staff faces for summer 2011. Stay tuned for even more staff information in the coming weeks!

Amalia Engelberger-The University of the South: Sewanee
Jackie Hancock-University of South Florida
Ashley Lankford-Appalachian State University
Eliza Chamberlain-Florida State University
Coco Street-The Lovett School
Gabby Esposito-Georgia Tech
Eva Jorgensen-Graham-Elon University (alumna)
Margaret Morgan-Charlotte Country Day School
Grayson Randall-Appalachian State University
Jane Pierce-The Corcoran College of Art and Design
Grace Wallace-University of Michigan
Sarah Seaton-Todd-Mentor High School
Paige Salsman-Appalachian State University

Returning Counselors at Granny Bingo
Jane Pierce, Christine Alexander, Michelle Postma and Gabby Esposito heading up Granny BINGO!

Gearing up for 2011 Counselors

Staff Director Sofie has been working around the clock to bring our campers an amazing team of counselors this summer! She has been doing interview after interview to pick out the most fun, talented and spirited gals around. Here is a sneak peek at a few of our returning counselors.

Christine Alexander-George Washington University
Hunter Futch-Millsaps College
Michelle Postma-University of Georgia
Meg Ammons-James Madison University
Michelle Batlle-Stanford University
Haley Hudler-Denison University
Chelsea Bighorn-University of Arizona
Stephanie Brown-University of South Carolina
Maggie Cameron-Wake Forest University
Elizabeth Fowlkes-Auburn University
MacKenzie Collins-College of Charleston
Blaisdell Shaw-Santa Monica College
Chase Nelson-Univeristy of Tennessee

Hunter and Maggie
Camp Counselors Hunter and Maggie enjoying carnival!

Just who will you meet at Rockbrook in 2011? More to come later!

So Many Rockbrook Staff!

We are currently gearing up for another fun-filled summer at Rockbrook led by so many wonderful people! Some folks think that our staff is simply comprised of our cabin counselors and activity instructors. However, the Rockbrook ship needs a variety of crew members to keep it afloat and continue its fun summer traditions. Here is a glimpse of the wonderful non-cabin positions we hire for every summer.

Kitchen Staff: These folks work closely with our Kitchen Manager Rick Hastings to prepare all of our meals and snacks each day from scratch. From sprinkle muffins in the morning to cookout food on the hill, the kitchen staff keeps us energized and happy!

Liz works in kitchen
Liz baking some yummy treats!

Nurses: Our nurses are usually moms of campers who keep us healthy. They live in our health hut, pass out routine medications, evaluate any injuries, coordinate doctor appointments, and keep track of our campers during their time at camp.

Adventure Staff: This group is comprised of some experts in their respective fields who typically live off camp and come in most days to lead a variety of trips. They are specially trained to lead backpacking day and overnight trips, whitewater kayaking trips, rock climbing trips, and a few others. Most are trained to drive buses and get our campers to and from camp safely.

Lexie helping a camper to climb
Lexie helps our campers climb safely

Maintenance Staff: Led by our year-round caretakers Mr. Richie and Mrs. Connie, our extra maintenance staff who join us during the summer keep our facilities in tip top shape. They routinely clean the bathrooms and dining hall. In addition, they help us move the heavy stuff around camp, paint and any other miscellaneous tasks to keep camp beautiful!

Office Staff: In addition to our camp directors, we bring in a fantastic office team for the summer so that our directors can move about camp and work with our campers more easily. They handle camper forms, luggage, the camper photos that go up daily, parent communication, and really anything that arises.

We sure appreciate all of these folks and what they do to keep us going!

Nancy Carrier and Peggy the Great Dane

Nancy Carrier's dog Peggy was a beloved addition to camp life
Mrs. Carrier and Peggy on The Rockbrook House lawn

Many campers and staff from the early days of Rockbrook often mention Mrs. Carrier’s dog and sidekick, Peggy.  We were thrilled to find a photograph of Mrs. Carrier and Peggy together so we could “meet” the girls favorite mascot during those early years.  Here is a great excerpt about Peggy, written by a former camper:

“All the campers knew and loved the Great Dane, “Peggy”, who followed Mrs. Carrier wherever she went.  She seemed in her canine way to be part director, for she watched the girls as though responsible for their safety.  She was a harlequin, the bright patches of white over-lapping the black spots, and though her bark was frightening, she had the gentlest of natures.  Seeing her bounce up the hill at the side of Senior Lodge, one knew that Mrs. Carrier could not be far behind and that as long as her mistress stayed in the camp area Peggy would be nearby.”

If you have any Peggy stories you would like to share we would love to hear from you!

Oh Yea It’s Fun!

Fun Activities for Camp Counselors

Being a camp counselor at Rockbrook is a lot of things. It’s a job that requires you to be a well-rounded mentor, someone who is part friend, part older sister, part parent, and part teacher. It means wearing lots of hats, cheerfully accepting a wide range of responsibilities. It definitely requires hard work, creativity, patience and stamina. The pace of camp life is full speed!

But perhaps surprisingly, for the counselors at Rockbrook, working at camp is also unbelievably fun. This is because our staff members simply love being around kids. They enjoy helping the campers with their activities, participating along the way. They get a huge kick from dressing up, singing songs, playing games, and generally being pretty silly— just like the campers. Cannonball off the diving board? You bet. Trip down the slip ‘n slide? Oh yes. Wear a Super Hero costume to dinner. Definitely. Rockbrook counselors are the kind of people who wouldn’t think of passing up a chance to join the girls in whatever they’re doing.

That’s why it’s such a blast to work at camp. It’s nonstop action. It’s being right smack in the middle of a hugely fun time for everyone.

Rockbrook Counselors All Snowed In!

Like a lot of the country, Rockbrook Camp staff members have been fighting bitterly cold temperatures and LOTS of snow! Right here in Brevard, we are currently experiencing negative degree wind chill temperatures and think this is crazy. However, we have been hearing from our fantastic staff members braving the elements. From what we gather, they are some tough ladies to be finishing up exams and traveling home in that weather. Keep the pictures coming ladies!

Our wonderful Mountaineer counselors up at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina may have experienced the worst of it. They have been getting snow almost every day for weeks and some students are even having to take exams late. We wish Paige Salsman, Grayson Randall, Ashley Harris, and Nicole Lankford the best of luck in those elements!

Summer Camp Snow
Snow at Rockbrook Camp

Our year round staff have been enjoying the beautiful snow here in Brevard and braving the roads and cold to get some fabulous pictures. Mandy ventured into the Pisgah Forest to get some great shots. Enjoy!

Snow Waterfall Near Camp
Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah Forest