The Importance of Staff | Spring Lake Day Camp

March 9, 2021

We pride ourselves on many things at Spring Lake Day Camp, but it is our wonderful staff that makes our camp so special. From our general counselors to our specialists, from our administrative team to our lifeguards, our staff is the heart and soul of SLDC. 

To a large extent, our SLDC family is homegrown. So many of our counselors (and even some of our administrative team!) have been campers with us and have also gone through our JTP and LTP programs. This provides us with so many advantages as these young adults already know how our camp day works and they have been trained by us in our leadership training programs to do things the “SLDC way.” They also bring a fresh perspective since they know what they liked as campers and what they wish they could have done. Most importantly, they loved their experience at SLDC and they want to help provide that experience to the next generation of campers, a generation that consists of many children of our older staff!

If you have never worked at a camp, you may think it is a job you take when you can’t get an internship or a “real” job. However, anyone that has had the privilege to add “Camp Counselor” to their resume can attest to the fact that working at SLDC is the most “real” job there is. Our staff knows that there is no job more important than taking care of other people’s children and being a positive role model to those in their care.   

                     

Working at SLDC also provides staff members with a unique skill set that is transferable to any future jobs or professions that they may choose:

  • Collaboration: Our staff and campers are from a myriad of backgrounds, cultures, towns (even states and countries) and our staff members learn to cooperate and work together to make the camp day run smoothly and meet everyone’s needs, a skill that is not only important in the camp environment but in any profession one chooses to pursue.

  • Communication: From writing Daily Reports to interacting with Division Leaders, Directors and Specialists, communication is the key to making sure everyone is on the same page and that the needs of our campers are being met. When our staff communicates effectively with our administrative team, our administrative team can communicate effectively with our camp families. Effective communication skills not only bring success in the camp environment but in personal and professional relationships as well.

  • Adaptability: Days that start out sunny can turn to stormy afternoons, or other circumstances can change the “normal” course of the camp day. Our counselors can quickly pivot and be creative and flexible to ensure that our campers still have a great time at camp. In fact, it is sometimes these “pivots” that make for the most memorable days at camp.

  • Dedication: A strong work ethic is needed to work long days in hot (and sometimes stormy) weather. Keeping a positive attitude and being a good role model, all while keeping our campers safe and happy, takes dedication. This is where our staff shines. Their commitment to our campers and to Spring Lake Day Camp is unparalleled and they, like our campers, consider SLDC their summer home.

For thirty three years our staff has been “essential” in making summers at Spring Lake Day Camp so successful. After a year of social distancing and virtual learning, camp is needed now more than ever and our staff is key to making this summer one to remember. Even the CDC recognizes the importance of camp staff and has now expanded the definition of “essential workers” to include camp staff and lists them in Phase 1b of its vaccination prioritization. It is up to each state governor to decide whether to follow the CDC’s recommendation and we hope that the governor of New Jersey does so and adds camp staff to the list of essential workers so that our staff will be able to get vaccinated in time for the camp season.