Summer camps in Texas offer 2010 service opportunities

Summer is only a distant memory now for many students. The glorious days of lounging around doing absolutely nothing are replaced with mid-terms and finals lurking around the corner. However, summer never ends for camp directors. They are constantly brainstorming ways to make the next summer even better than the last, and this includes recruiting new staff members.

“Our campers are our most valuable asset, so hiring the right staff is very important to our mission” said Pine Cove’s Associate Operations Manager and UMHB alum Jeff Olchesky.

Many summer camps start their recruiting processes in the fall to ensure that they have the best possible group of counselors they can find. They travel all over Texas, as well as bordering states to visit as many colleges as possible in order to promote their camp.

Sophomore computer graphics design major Lauren McKenzie put others before herself this past summer by working at Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children with chronic illnesses and disabilities in Killeen.

“I found out about PKRC through UMHB’s huge camp fair in the SUB,” McKenzie said. “Setting aside your personal needs to serve God for an entire summer is a huge commitment, but, honestly, it’s so worth it.”

UMHB holds its annual Summer Camps Fair at the beginning of the spring semester. During this time, camps from all over meet in the SUB for one day and set up booths to attract and recruit students to work at their camp. Camps such as Sky Ranch, T Bar M, Trinity Pines, Highland Lakes, Sabine Creek Ranch and Camp Olympia usually recruit at the fair.

Working at a summer camp may seem intimidating to many, but it can offer countless new experiences as well as present various challenges.

“I learned how to work better with others and I was able to experience God showing up unexpectedly in big ways,” said junior biblical studies major Matt Cavanaugh, who served at Camp Peniel in Marble Falls. Sophomore exercise and sport science major John Jimenez worked at Forest Glen Camp Good News in Huntsville. He learned much about leadership and about being an effective communicator.

“It’s a job where we (counselors) have the responsibility of making the summer a fun time for the campers. We get to have all sorts of fun and share the Bible with campers. Plus, we get paid,” Jimenez said.

Olchesky encourages students to work at a summer camp in order to sharpen their life skills and to live out the principles they learn in class.

“Whether team building, counseling, athletics, leadership development, music, customer service or conflict resolution, the camp atmosphere forces students to live, serve and operate within a team setting,” Olchesky said. Camps are looking for students who are willing to work with children and become certified in various activities such as life guarding, ropes course operating, CDL bus driving and administering CPR and first aid.

“If you’ve ever seen the look on a child’s face when they overcome their fear on a ropes course, learn to ski for the first time, or share their greatest fears or victories with you, you realize that you have the greatest job in the world,” Olchesky said.

Pine Cove will be recruiting in the SUB Oct. 28 and 29, Sky Ranch Camp Oct. 20 and 21 and the Summer Camp Fair will be Feb. 2, 2010.

Author: Lindsay Schaefer

Lindsay Schaefer is a junior Mass Communication, Public Relations major at UMHB. She is the Entertainment Page editor for The Bells Newspaper. Growing up in the small town of Nacogdoches, Texas taught her to enjoy the simple things in life such as local cuisine, an afternoon at grandma’s house, and getting to know her “neighbors”. If she’s not hunting for the latest pair of shoes, she can most likely be found eating chocolate cake with her closest friends. She enjoys making copies for the Bells newspaper and taking on many other random assignments!

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