Wherever your life takes you after camp, the skills you will gain as a Ramah staff-member will prove to be invaluable. We guarantee: you will use what you learned at Ramah in any future job you do. But don’t take our word for it:
Originally created as part of our annual campaign, these staff testimonial videos describe the exceptional impact of a summer spent at Ramah:
Joshua Arcus, President & Broker at The Siderow Organization, New York, NY (Ramah staff-member, 2003-05, 2007): The tremendous responsibility that I had as a counselor is unlike any other responsibility that I have had. I used what I call my “camp attitude” to problem-solve situations with my campers and other staff members. I learned when it was appropriate to stick to my position and when it was the right time to compromise. My friends who had conventional internships received very little real life experience. I was fortunate to have what I call my “internship for life” – through this work, I developed into a much more mature and responsible person. And by helping campers, this work was also good for my soul.
Ariella Slovin, M.D., Emergency Room Pediatrician, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC (Ramah staff-member, 2003-06):Being a counselor at camp is so multi-faceted, thereby promoting and developing a number of different skills that are applicable to pretty much any job … If it weren’t for camp, I would not be the doctor that I am today. The abilities to work in team settings, be confident in my decision-making, and quickly propose possible causes of the symptoms I see were all strengthened at an early age, as I took on the role of camp counselor. I wouldn’t have guessed that would be the case, but I also wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Click here to read Dr. Slovin’s full reflection on her experiences on-staff at Camp Ramah.
Many wonderful articles have been written that emphasize the importance and value of summers spent working at camp!
Click here to read “Jewish Camp vs. Summer Internship? For Me, the Decision was Easy.”
From the article: “I developed the skills necessary to thrive when fully immersed in important and meaningful work. I learned to think strategically, remain calm under pressure, and collaborate with a team. The work was challenging and engaging, and my contributions were respected and appreciated. I can’t imagine better preparation for full-time employment.
… Since entering the ‘real world’ after graduation, I know I would not be as successful in my current position had I not gone to camp. I am constantly tasked with thinking on my feet, developing strong working relationships with colleagues and donors, and problem solving – all skills I learned at camp. Camp was absolutely the best thing that happened to me, and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. Internships may be the link between college and careers, but camp was the link between me and the best version of myself: someone who is thriving both personally and professionally.”
This is a great article on how working as a Counselor at Camp Ramah is The Best Management Training Program out there!
From the article: “Over the summer, I spent a week helping provide some leadership training at a rigorous management training program. The attendees were all college age, and it was clearly an intensive program: They had programmatic and oversight responsibilities throughout the day, held frequent meetings to review team priorities, conducted regular reviews of their customer service priorities, and worked tirelessly, often from 7 a.m. until about 9 p.m. at night, including – and especially during — mealtimes. They enjoyed one day off per week – otherwise, they were on call.
This is what it looks like to be a summer camp counselor these days. Far from the image created by goofball movies such as Meatballs and Wet Hot American Summer, today’s summer camp counselors have to be unbelievably organized, mature and capable. At the camp where I volunteered for a week this past summer, Camp Ramah in Palmer, Massachusetts, I rarely saw counselors doing anything other than working.
And if employers are smart, they’ll soon recognize that veteran counselors of summer camp are capable of doing far more than leading campfire sing-downs or calming a homesick child (though, to be sure, those skills are pretty important in life). These are work-ready young adults who have been entrusted with far more responsibility than they’re often given credit; you’d be wise to hire one (as I have recently).”
This is a great article on Why You Should Be a Camp Counselor (Instead of an Intern)! From the article:
“For the second year in a row, I worked at a sleep-away camp that I attended as a kid. For nine weeks, I was in charge of someone’s child. I held the most terrifying amount of responsibility in my hands—caring for the most precious thing in people’s lives. I’m always terrified of it, yet every summer, I find myself going back to this magical place that is camp. I get the same disappointed and unenthused look every summer from people—how could I possibly be working at a summer camp when I could be looking for an internship at an awesome magazine and pursuing what I want to do with my life? Well the truth is folks, there’s no better way to spend the summer… Rather than fetch someone coffee, I learned more about myself than I would have if I worked in an office. When you’re an intern, you want to impress the head honchos above you, and are so nervous about making a fool of yourself. As a camp counselor, I dance around my cabin in my snapback, staff shirt, knee high socks, and Birkenstocks, and just be. Of course my campers make fun of me, yet they looked up to me in awe at how I didn’t care how weird I was and how goofy I looked. In all honestly, I was amazed too. Camp brings out the best version of you.”
Click here to read how Jewish Summer Camp Strengthens Resume and Character! From the article: “It turns out that Jewish summer camp is actually a great place for teens to gain experiences and skills that will ultimately make them not only more attractive candidates for college and employment, but also better equipped to face so many of life’s major challenges. Teens are discovering that if they follow their hearts back to camp summer after summer (initially as older campers and then as counselors), they’re not just returning to a place of emotional safety and social comfort. They’re also putting themselves in the best position to become successful, committed young Jewish adults.”
Click here to read how Camp Belongs on Your Resume: Highlighting the Professional Development Value of Working at Camp! From the article: “By working at camp, you learn and demonstrate skills that are valued in the workplace. Activities are the tools for life-skill development. Hiring managers across all different industries look for some common skill sets in their hiring. Organizations are looking for professionals who demonstrate dedication, strong communication skills, effective collaboration skills, adaptability, problem solving, and willingness to take on challenges, among other things. Do these sound familiar?
Collaboration — the counselors who together manage to get a dozen excited boys to quiet down at bedtime.
Adaptability — the art program leader who, with no notice, translates the open-ended drawing project into something the camper who loves robots will enjoy.
Problem solving — the counselor who makes a team of preteen girls. Enough said.
Communication — the village leader who makes a call to parents successful.
Dedication and taking on challenges — well, these don’t even need examples, do they?”
Click here to read how to Tackle Your Camp Counselor Job with an Internship Mindset! From the article:
“If you are interested in making your camp counseling experience double as an internship of sorts, the first step is deciding what it is you want to get out of camp beyond the fun and the other well-recognized benefits of camp counseling. These include developing leadership, management, and organizational skills, along with making wonderful and often long-lasting connections with other counselors, campers, and administrative staff.”
Click here to read tips on how to write about your summer camp job on your resume! From the article:
“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is describing the magnitude of the responsibility camp staff members have. In the sample resume included with this article, I’ve presented contrasting descriptions of the same job. Here are some additional examples of the distinction between an informal and a professional way of describing camp jobs. A program director has either “Scheduled games and activities for campers, and worked with staff to be sure they covered everything” or “Orchestrated a dynamic program of sports, arts, and games for children ages 8 to 12, and “Coordinated activity leadership, and conducted periodic staff and program safety audits.” Same job; different description. A front-line camp counselor has either “Got kids from one activity to another, and made sure the kids weren’t bullying each other” or “Led children and teens through a creative sequence of challenging activities” and “Responded decisively to misbehavior and social conflict by implementing collaborative problem-solving, logical consequences, and one-on-one counseling.” Which will spark the interest of a future employer?”
Click here to read about the life-changing skills one can gain from coming back multiple years as a camp counselor and becoming a unit head!
From the article:
“Not only do unit heads obtain unmatched opportunities for career development, but they also receive the opportunity to truly transform into leaders… Unit heads must navigate conflict among staff members, oversee programming, provide feedback, and enforce rules, among many other responsibilities. Many of these are soft skills that can only be learned via experience, rather than through classroom learning…
Based on personal experience and word of mouth from numerous peers, past summer camp unit heads often disregard all other work experience and talk only of their unit head work during job interviews. The number of relevant stories of overcoming challenges and reaching success are abundant. A close family friend who works as chief medical officer of a large hospital notes that he relies on the lessons he learned as a unit head to do his job. Unit heads engage in reflective analysis of their work and the systems they supervise in ways that forever shape their professional approach. In managing their own staff, they begin to cultivate a range of stances and dispositions indispensable to thoughtful leadership.
While the role of unit head provides a number of opportunities to develop concrete professional skills, it also offers a rare, unparalleled opportunity to learn how to be a leader. Camp leadership teams should not only recognize this but promote it. They should advertise that working as a unit head not only applies to professions but creates professionals. It shapes who people are. While some staff members only return because of explicit career applications, perhaps if they knew of this transformational growth, they would understand how invaluable it would be for their futures.”