The Staff Experience
If you are looking for meaningful work, pristine nature, and personal growth that will serve you for years to come, then look no further!
At Camp Augusta, we believe that every child needs a childhood! Our mission is to reclaim and foster the beauty, wonder, awe, potential, and innocence of childhood. Camp Augusta is about FUN with all of the activities you’d expect, but also so much more. In a small community set in natural splendor, campers develop self-confidence, independence, social skills (emotional intelligence), creativity, activity skills, environmental awareness and appreciation, friendships, and healthy living skills. Campers also learn what most modern children have forgotten — how to simply play and be a kid without television, video games, cell/smart phones, the internet, or social pressure.
One of the greatest factors in this mission continuing to be a reality for our campers is the incredible staff that dedicate their work towards the shared goal of Growth, Challenge and Play! Additionally, we give our staff a ton of perks and benefits that make their experience at camp unforgettable.
Please read through these pages on what being a staff member at Augusta could look like, and click below to fill out our interest form, or email us at email@example.com to begin the application process!
Please carefully review the staff experience material.
Whether hunting for a job or a partner, you need to look over several possibilities until you find one that is a great fit. There are over 12,000 summer camps, and this one is unlike most of them. Make sure you are a good fit for this camp, and then we can start the courtship process. 🙂
Randy – Director of Camp Augusta
Top 10 Reasons to Work at Camp Augusta
Not a Job, a Home
People who “work” here don’t come for the money. It’s about people – being with them as they play, laugh, learn, struggle, and grow. You’ll live with your fellow staff, and they’ll become your second family. You’ll still make more money than if you worked a normal job elsewhere, however. People can have a job, career, or a calling. We’re looking for folks who have a calling.
Friends You’ll Keep for Life
Fast and deep friendships are made living and working with your teammates. People often keep in contact for years, and our alumni are a testament to friendships kept for decades. Also, more than a few have found their life’s mate working at Camp Augusta. Nearly one marriage results from every summer.
Connection with Children
Working so closely with children, it is inevitable that you’ll form bonds. You’ll also be instrumental in the development of children. Help foster self-confidence, independence, life-long recreational skills, safe risk taking, an appreciation for community, a healthy lifestyle, caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, environmental awareness, and fun!
The time of your life? Well, comments such as those are frequently shared at the end of summer staff banquet, in letters received after the summer, and on the community e-mails/groups.
A Beautiful Place
Camp Augusta has many treasures . . . a small lake, miles of hiking trails, nature that sometimes gets too close for comfort, the very nearby Yuba River, beautiful creek, diverse forests, and the smoke of campfires among 80 acres in the Sierra Nevada, near the Tahoe National Forest. On a clear night, our view of the heavens is simply breathtaking.
You’ll find that your work offers both an outlet and a challenge to your creativity. Seeing your fellow staff be crazy and innovative adds fuel to the creative fire that amazes us all every year!
We Are Interested in Your Personal and Professional Growth
a. Skill enhancement often reported: organization, motivating others, problem-solving, leadership, emotional intelligence, prioritizing, decision making, risk management, working with groups, behavior management, project management, first aid, CPR, lifeguarding, team building, responsibility, self-confidence, child development, skill integration, and knowledge of more games and activities than you thought existed. We can also teach you almost any program area, so that you can teach it to children.
b. Self-definition / career selection: it is common for staff to say they’ve learned more about themselves in three months than in several years before being here. It is also common for people to change their major/life course after experiencing a summer working at Camp Augusta. Will this job change your life? Probably. “I think my experience influenced me more than any other job I’ve ever had – had more of an impact than I think any job could have had.”
c. We run the longest staff training of any summer camp in the country.
Your photo album will be full of pictures that you will treasure for the rest of your life. You will also make memories for others. You will have the opportunity to make friends with people from other countries.
Work and Play in a Real Community
Work with staff from around the world, and children from all walks of life. You’ll be with high-quality staff who survived a rigorous selection process and share the same values. Your suggestions are heard, discussed, and often used. Everyone evaluates each other – it isn’t just from the top down. Be yourself and be accepted. People pitch in and share the load. People belong. There are no edicts at camp, and everyone has equal power.
The days are quite long, the activities are often rigorous, and you’ll sleep well, eat well, and get plenty of exercise! We use as much organic food as possible.
We believe . . .
. . . that spirit, mind, and body must be nourished richly and simultaneously. We value music and art just as much as sports. We foster respect for self, for fellow humankind, and for the created world of which we are stewards. We find that the deepest community can arise out of the strongest individuality when trust, tolerance, and understanding prevail. Above all, we love to have fun—because smiles and laughter and joyful optimism are the forge of community, relationship, and our own humanity.
Modern Day Hero
What did people say when you told them that you were going to work at camp this summer? Did they laugh? Tell you to get a real job? Ask if you’d seen the movie Meatballs one too many times? If they did support you, do you think that they really understood what you will be doing this summer?
If this is your first summer at camp, you may not be aware what you are really doing here. Even after a summer or two, the full scope of what we do may not be totally evident. Whether you really understand it or not though, you have assumed a position of tremendous responsibility. Camp is obviously a place where both you and the campers have fun, but we’re playing for higher stakes here than simply showing the kids a good time.
In short, your mission this summer is to be a hero. Not a superhero, because those don’t exist in real life. Real heroes usually aren’t on the news or in People magazine. Real heroes don’t care about fame, fortune, or a place in history. Real heroes are just that—real, ordinary people that have an extraordinary effect on the lives of other people. The motivation of a hero is nothing more than the simple fact that being a hero is the right thing to do.
Children need heroes. However, many people think that children need heroes so that they “know what they want to be when they grow up” or “have someone to look up to.” While those things are important, that’s not the role of a hero.
To be a hero, you must provide a child with one thing—hope. It is your calling to give that child hope wherever they need it. Maybe they’ve had bad experiences with adults. You show them that adults are not all bad. Maybe people laugh at their dreams. You teach them that it isn’t only ok to dream, but essential. Maybe they come from a broken home. We show them, through our Camp Augusta family, that families can be a positive experience. Maybe they’ve never really been loved. By caring for them in the proper manner while they stay here, you give them the hope that love is more than just an idea, but rather something real they can experience. Heroes allow children to have hope for themselves and their future. Heroes keep the glimmer that we see in the eyes of children from fading as they get older.
Just being here doesn’t make you a hero. It does give you the opportunity to become one. You have a choice to make this summer. There are a lot of distractions here at camp. Will you choose to be remembered forever as a hero in the eyes of your children?
Do you have the right stuff?
Camp isn’t for everyone. You have to put your needs behind the children’s and the camp’s, and that isn’t something everyone is able to do, or able to be happy doing.
Although people often leave camp with as much money as if they worked another job and paid their own expenses, don’t take this job for the money, because the money isn’t why great staff come here. You could certainly earn more money in many other jobs. In coming here, you must be dedicated, have an open heart and mind, be very patient, and demonstrate an uncommon degree of responsibility in everything you do. Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility all speak well to your soul.
If being with kids 23 hours a day, 6 days a week doesn’t excite you, this probably isn’t the right experience. We expect you to pace yourself, know when you need sleep, and work as consistently at the end of the summer as in the beginning. We expect you to be a very good big brother or sister while mixing parental responsibility with the compassion of a best friend.
During the summer, you might get oatmeal dumped on your head, get thrown in the lake, dress up like Mary Poppins or a pirate, comfort a homesick child, put cream on poison oak, work with distressed children, share in contagious laughter, and sleep under the stars every week.
As a professional role model for impressionable children, smoking isn’t possible. Smoking is hazardous to our campers’ health and we don’t want a camper to learn that smoking is “cool” from his or her counselor. Being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs at camp is prohibited. We have an obligation to keep our campers safe. People under the influence of alcohol and other drugs make poor decisions and place campers at risk.
Popular is often defined by what you wear, what you know, and what you do. With the most overweight nation of children in the world, record child mental illness, and the sexualization of children and adolescents, we believe that it is difficult for children to be and love their true selves. Brittany Spears, Hillary Duff, Pokemon, Aeropostale, Miley Cyrus, Abercrombie, sitcoms, Teen Magazine, and some hit television dramas have morphed the innocence and potential of childhood into something quite different. We believe that at camp, children benefit from not thinking about what they wear, what it takes to be cool, and growing up too fast. Children benefit from thinking about canoeing, roasting marshmallows, appreciating community, enjoying true friendships, singing, wondering at the stars, and communing with nature. Thus, we leave popular culture at the door. We believe that imagination is a precious gift to be protected and not trampled by intense media bombardment.
We believe that campers benefit from doing their best work whenever possible, and not engaging in something half-heartedly. Campers benefit from taking pride in their work. Beauty in the experience occurs when children strive to have the arrow fly true, the art be artful, the drama well-rehearsed, and the dining decorum playful, yet reverent.
We believe that children learn best when they discover truths for themselves. Children thrive when they explore, create, and challenge. Feeding children answers and giving them facts deadens their thirst and hunger for what is true and possible. Play is a tool for learning, and not something given so many minutes during the day. Through play, children learn social skills, their passions, and their potential.
If after reading through our website you’re excited to be at Camp Augusta, then we will be absolutely ecstatic to talk to you! Please give us a ring, drop by, or e-mail. We’ll make the hot chocolate with marshmallows.
If you are really interested in knowing more about what your life will be like at Camp Augusta, then check out the other links in this staff section, and the two special links below. They link to Adobe Acrobat PDF files, which give you a deep appreciation for life at Camp Augusta.
What Is A Counselor?
By Phyllis M. Ford, 1970
Somewhere between adolescence and adulthood there occurs in human development an age which is physically and psychologically impossible. It is that unfathomable stage known as the camp counselor, a creature undefined by psychologists, misunderstood by camp directors, worshiped by campers, either admired or doubted by parents, and unheard of by the rest of society.
A camp counselor is a rare combination of doctor, lawyer, follower or leader. She is a competent child psychologist with her sophomore textbook as proof. She is an underpaid babysitter with neither television nor refrigerator. She is a strict disciplinarian with a twinkle in her eye. She is referee, coach, teacher, and advisor. She is an example of humanity in worn out tennis shoes, a sweatshirt two sizes too large, and a hat two sizes too small. She is a humorist in a crisis, a doctor in an emergency, and a song leader, entertainer, and play director. She is an idol with her head in a cloud of woodsmoke and her feet in the mud. She is a comforter under a leaky tarp on a canoe overnight, and a pal who just loaned someone her last pair of dry socks. She is a teacher of the outdoors, knee deep in poison ivy.
A counselor dislikes waiting in line, cabin inspection and rainy days. She is fond of sunbathing, exploring, teaching new games, an old car named Mrs. Beasley, and days off. She is handy for patching up broken friendships, bloody noses, and torn jeans. She is good at locating lost towels at the waterfront, fixing stopped up toilets, making friendship bracelets, and catching fish. She is poor at crawling out of bed on rainy mornings, and remembering to fill out forms.
A counselor is a friendly guide in the middle of a cold, dark, wet night on the long winding trail to the TLC. Who but she can cure homesickness, air out wet bedding, play 16 games of 4-square in succession, whistle “Dixie” through her fingers, carry all the cook-out food, speak Pig Latin in Spanish, stand on her hands, sing 37 verses of “You Can’t get to Heaven”, and eat four helpings of Sunday dinner.
A counselor is expected to repair 10 years of damage to Jill in 10 days, make Julie into a woman, rehabilitate Judy, allow Joan to be an individual and help Gertrude adjust to a group. She is expected to lead the most prized possessions of 16 adults much older than she. She is expected to lead them in fun and adventure, even when her head aches; to teach them to live in the outdoors, even though she spends 9 months a year in the city; to teach them indigenous activities when she can’t even spell the word; to guide youngsters in social adjustment, when she hasn’t even reached a legal age; to ensure safety and health, with a sunburned nose, a band-aid on her thumb, and a blister on her heel.
For all this she is paid enough to buy the second text in psychology, some aspirin, some new socks, two tires for Mrs. Beasley, and some new tennis shoes. You wonder how she can stand the pace and the pressure. You wonder if she really knows how much she is worth. And somehow, you realize that you can never pay her enough when, as she leaves at the end of the summer, she waves goodbye and says, “See ya next year!”
Staff reflect on what it means and takes to work 3+ months at Camp Augusta. The video is divided into three parts. Please watch these and be sure to comment on them in your writings to us. Enjoy! 🙂
How Does Camp Look on a Resume?
What do people say when you tell them you are considering working at a camp this summer? Do they laugh? Tell you to get a real job? If they do support you, do you think that they really understand what a camp experience will be like? If you’ve worked at Camp Augusta, you’ll know the challenge of summarizing your camp experience into a short paragraph for future employers in the hopes they will understand it. Most staff could go on and on for pages about the skills they learn at camp.
Unfortunately, the challenges, learning, and growth that come with working at a summer camp are not always understood by folks who spend all of their time in the ‘real world.’ As well, it can be difficult to translate the skills you learn and develop at camp to a ‘real-world’ resume or interview. Saying that you were a ‘Camp Counselor’ in an interview may conjure up images in an employer’s head of a goofball who doesn’t like to shower, and who will bring weird games and annoying songs to future staff meetings! Meatballs? Wet Hot American Summer? Parent Trap? That’s what they might be thinking.
Yet, a summer at Camp Augusta offers many opportunities to gain skills and knowledge that are not available in a classroom or office, and which will serve you well and be of great benefit to almost any future employer, not to mention your own life and those you come into contact with. Because camps often use language that makes sense only to people who are familiar with camp life, translating the true scope and magnitude of the skills and responsibility of a summer at camp can be a challenge. Here is an overview of the training and skills an employee at Camp Augusta will receive, with some suggestions on how they can be translated to a real-world resume and/or interview. In this day and age, recruiters are looking for stories and examples of when you have demonstrated the skills you list on your resume, and working at camp provides those stories on a daily basis! You have what employers are looking for; they just don’t know it yet.
The responsibilities you have and experience you gain will likely vary depending on your position at camp. Some of those positions include:
- Counselor…or Child/Youth Development Professional
- Village Leader…or Unit Head
- Equestrian Director
- Master of Fun and Games…or Creative Program Developer
- Program Director… or Program Manager
- Puppet Master… or Program Coordinator
- Master of Operations
- Assistant Director
- Programming Awesomeness Director… or Program Development Consultant
Skills and Characteristics Gained (that employers will be interested in):
- Psychology of child development
- Rational-emotive behavior therapy
- Nonviolent communication training
- Neuro-linguistic programming training
- Emotional intelligence awareness and cultivation
- 1st Aid
- Living in community – responsibility and awareness
- Negotiation and consensus building
- Group development, facilitation, and debriefing, both large and small group
- Knowledge management and learning organization training and experience
- Event management
- Theater training, character, improv, and scene shorts
- Working with emotional emergencies, angered/unbalanced people
- Responsibility and integrity development
- Leadership and power dynamics training
- Explicit and tacit knowledge educational theory
- Training/teaching techniques
- Social networking
- Organizational skills
- Public speaking
- Curriculum development
- Emergency preparedness and risk management models, and execution
- Innovation development principles, understood and practiced
- Communication skills – written and oral
- Lifelong learning
- Self-starter/intrinsic motivation
- Problem solving
- Creative thinking
- Detail orientation
- Teamwork and cooperation
- Work ethic
Hobbies and skills resume section will be a conversation starter!
Living and Working at Camp Augusta Requires:
- Flexibility (responding to quickly changing schedules and needs)
- Stamina (on the job 24/7, working in a physically demanding environment that requires the utmost care and attention)
- Communication skills to people of all ages and backgrounds (fellow staff, children, and parents, including those from other countries)
- Patience and compassion (working with children and staff)
- Conflict resolution (other staff as well as children)
- Ability to work in stressful situations (very tight schedule, high expectations, rapidly changing environment)
- Ability to react quickly and stay calm in high stress environments (accidents/injuries, high-stress cabin group)
- Ability to work with and relate to people of various ages (child-adult)
- Program and curriculum creation/development/evolution/assessment/improvement (new clinic creations, evening program creations, etc.)
Training: Over 300 hours each summer of focused, dedicated, specialized, on-site training (including instruction from outside experts). The longest training with the most diverse curriculum of any camp or outdoor center in the USA. Before staff training, on-the-job learning begins with a 300+ page staff manual focused on child, community, and personal development. In addition, knowledge of child, social, and cultural development expands from over 30 hours of video documentaries. When camp is running, you’ll receive real-time training from a dedicated mentoring structure.
The above is useful to include in your cover letter.
Some things to keep in mind when creating your resume:
- strong resume phrases use action verbs, the active voice, and highlight your specific responsibility, creativity, and innovation from your experience.
- the employer will know it is you writing the resume, so there’s no need to use first or third person language.
- Be as specific as you can as this demonstrates leadership, management, and personnel skills, as well as your engagement with the role.
- Use specifics from your summer(s) — this will offer more details and examples that will stand out.
Strong resumes are easy to read, so a simple format is key. Keep your resume to one page. Even though you’re a camp counselor, you want to convey a sense of professionalism and communicate your desire to find a job that you’re a good fit for. Have someone else proofread your resume and give you feedback. Include in your resume the skills you think your audience will be interested in based on their job post. Knowing what the reader is looking for will help you convince them you are the ideal candidate as you can tailor your resume and choose what to include for each job you apply for. Choose the most relevant skills from the table below depending on what job you are applying for.
A Table of the Skills, Knowledge and Experienced Gained From Working at Camp Augusta (and how to phrase them to include them on your resume):
When thinking about what to include on your resume to help present yourself in the best light for that job, it can be helpful to ask yourself some questions, to ascertain what experiences you are most proud of and how you’d like to present them:
In what ways did I adapt my contributions to new circumstances, roles, tasks and responsibilities?
How did I navigate the different wants and needs of the people I worked with?
How did I encourage contributions from all members and find consensus among people with different values?
When did I respond to the needs of specific campers, and how did I make sure they were met?
When was I at my most creative, and how did I express that creativity?
How did I manage my time to ensure all my responsibilities were met within my agreements?
What learning experiences did I have and how did I seek out opportunities to expand my knowledge?
How did I plan activities, evaluate their skills and supervise them when they were in progress?
What tools did I use to help other people solve problems, and find the root cause of their problems?
How did I inspire and motivate others?
In what ways did I foster teamwork and cooperation amongst the campers and staff I worked with?
What were occasions I encouraged participation and growth in campers, while adhering to our Challenge by Choice philosophy?
Sample blurbs for a resume:
Child Development Specialist, Camp Augusta
Responsibilities include: in a 140+ person community, primary caretaker for five 9-11 year-olds with 24-hour responsibilities that include rational-emotive behavior therapy, experiential education, child development, understanding of group dynamics, teambuilding, wake-to-sleep hygiene and care, group facilitation, diverse skill transfer, and some downright fun; participation in over 300 hours of training in emotional intelligence, nonviolent communication, CPR and 1st aid, lifeguarding, child psychology, teaching techniques, emergency preparedness, and communal living.
Counselor/Child Development Professional — Camp Augusta Summer 2011, 2012, 2013
Coordinated and facilitated activities, and supervised five 9- and 10-year-old boys at a traditional overnight camp in Nevada City, CA. Designed and led adventure programs on a 26-element low-ropes course, debriefed team-building activities and taught over 20 different activity areas. Contributed new ideas for camper’s choice activities on a regular basis.
Village Leader—Camp Augusta Summer 2010
Collaborated with a team of six peers to implement safe and exciting individual and group activities during six sessions over nine weeks at a traditional overnight camp in Northern California. Mentored, supported and evaluated seven counseling staff and liaised with parents and campers in a variety of contexts including: medical emergencies, behavior management issues, homesickness and counselor letters to the parents.
Master of Fun and Games – Camp Augusta 2008, 2009
Created and developed several all-camp programs designed to entertain 150+ people for 90 minutes at a time. Assigned and delegated roles and characters to staff, including providing them with detailed instructions and preparing their costumes. Implemented positive changes to programs on a daily basis through the process of Knowledge Management and suggested several ways to reduce cost and minimize environmental impact.
From Past Staff:
Core Staff, Camp Augusta May 2008 – May 2012,Nevada City, CA
Lead manager of digital media and all graphical needs including promotional materials, on-site signage and mapping, wide spread apparel design, print resources for all-camp games,
Gala fundraisers as well as creation and maintenance of various camp websites.
Master of Fun and Games
Orchestrated the planning, preparation and execution of nightly all-camp games. Each game
involved the creation of an imaginative world that required extensive set up and break down
logistics plus micro and macro management of material and human resources.
Child Development Specialist and Support Staff
Living within a closely-knit +140 person community and acting as a primary caretaker with
24-hour responsibilities including behavior therapy and child development. Skills include extensive
group development / teambuilding facilitation and debriefing, non-violent communication,
performance arts, 1st aid / emergency preparedness and experience in teaching over 50 activity areas.
Our staff are the life-changers at Camp Augusta, creating magical and memorable experiences for the campers who come here. The time and energy we put into training our staff is not only for the campers, it is also intended to help our staff both thrive at camp and in their lives outside of camp. And while it is sad to say goodbye to the amazing people who work for us, we understand that they need to move on and find new opportunities to make a difference in the world. Below is a list of useful links we have compiled to continue to help our staff make a difference in the world at other organizations.
|Useful tidbits for post-Augusta job hunting|
Interview Tips Even more interview tips.