Towering Pines Blog

A note to staff: Camp IS the REAL World!

Posted by on March 31, 2016

I was recently invited to present at a regional camp conference in Northern California where the theme was “Caring”, one of the C’s of positive youth development (the others are Compassion, Connection, Contribution, Character, Confidence, and Competence). The conference chair made an interesting comment in her opening remarks that I had to check out for myself upon returning home.
TP Red shirtts

Riding Staff and Red-shirts care for 4- and 2-legged friends

This person mentioned that Harvard was launching a project to “Make Caring Common”. Through an article online, I discovered that intent of this project is to “help educators, parents, and communities raise children who are caring, responsible to their communities, and committed to justice. Leading colleges and universities are joining together to reshape the college admissions process and promote concern for others and the common good.” (Click here to read more…)

TP Nature

We learn to respect and care for our natural surroundings

The first thing that crossed my mind when I read this post-conference is that any student who has “camp counselor” on his resume, should automatically rocket to the top of the college application pile!  At Towering Pines, we are all about caring and being responsible to our community. Because caring for one another is so important, we build the foundation for this to happen starting on the very first day campers arrive.

Soccer RAC

Sports exchanges promote sportsmanship and caring for the other team                           

Counselors are key to promoting good examples to live by such as respect, honesty, enthusiasm (and FUN!).  We honor this pact and the community we will become at the annual Chief’s Campfire.  Each cabin selects a Cabin Chief and Medicine Man to represent the ideals of the cabin group.  Cabin unity is fostered throughout the summer in every day group living and various activities including a cabin canoe trip, Lip Sync Contest, planning skits for the weekly campfire, puzzling for the Mother Lode during Gold Rush, and MORE!

Chiefs Campfire

Each cabin selects a Cabin Chief and Medicine Man to represent the ideals of the cabin group

Chief Campfire2

Once in college, there is a lot of pressure for students to pursue an internship as a stepping stone to get into graduate school or to land a job post-graduation. Returning to camp summer after summer can be a challenging decision for staff to make because it doesn’t seem possible that such a “fun” job can prepare someone for the real world.


David instills confidence in a Rocketry Workshop

Music on Pontoon boat

Will teaches new skills to these aspiring musicians

What is interesting to note; however, is that the skills that are at the top of the list for job success include creativity, flexibility/adaptability, initiative, teamwork, leadership, responsibility, critical thinking, and problem solving…just to name a FEW! These are the skills that will help you to get a job, keep a job, and advance in your career. While it may be compelling to consider an internship or other job preparation this summer, working at camp provides specific training and experience in these very same competencies!

Camp is a REAL job that will make you marketable in the REAL world!

TP Archery

Michael guides campers to use persistence in Archery

Are there skills/experiences are you hoping to obtain through internship opportunities that we could help you cultivate at camp? There are many leadership roles at Towering Pines…we would be happy to see if there is something that would help you on your path to your desired career goals!

Jeff and Jenny

Let us help you design an internship experience this summer!

For more on how being a counselor is the BEST JOB ON THE PLANET, check out Bill Gonio’s blog from last fall!