Summer Camp Counselor Essay

College Admission Essay on Camp Counseling and Community Service

Essay by Dana Leigh Waskover

The summer of 2004 represented a meaningful and eye opening experience for me. I spent the summer as a counselor at an overnight camp, Raquette Lake Girls Camp, where I had attended as a camper from 1998 through 2002.

This picturesque camp is located on beautiful Raquette Lake, one of the larger natural lakes in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Seeing the lake brought back fond memories of the endless hours of fun and play I had as a camper. I remembered my first year as a camper and the challenge of passing the very essential deep-water test. Participation in all activities on the lake depended on whether or not I passed the test, which I did successfully.

The summers at Raquette Lake were a time of relaxation and play, of carefree days and nights in a setting of camaraderie and much happiness.

So it was with great joy and excitement that I returned to Raquette Lake as a junior counselor in June 2004. This was my first real job and I was thrilled to be back at camp. Enthusiasm for the camp experience heightened when I arrived several days before the campers. I learned that I would be assigned to live in a bunk for fourteen nine-year-old girls and that I would be spending my days as a swim instructor and lifeguard at the lake waterfront. I looked forward to this experience.

When the campers arrived, I realized that I would have a substantially different experience than I had expected. After one day I came to the sobering realization that I was not a camper any longer. I was hired help. I was expected to work from early morning through bedtime. I was responsible for the total well-being of my campers. This included waking them in the morning, getting them washed and ready for activities, helping them follow a healthy diet, overcome their homesickness, and smooth out their relationships with friends. I was friend, mother, and disciplinarian to fourteen children.

The lake, which had represented challenges and joy to me, became my workplace. I was stationed on the dock from after breakfast until dinnertime. My only break was for lunch, when I joined my campers and served them their food.

As a camper, if it were too cold or rainy, I would skip the lake activities and relax with my friends, all snuggled up in our bunk. As a counselor I could not do that. The summer of 2004 was one of the coldest and rainiest in camp history and I did not have the option to say that I did not want to stand on the dock because I was cold or wet. I endured the weather because I had made a commitment to the camp to work for the entire season.

The change in my status, from camper to counselor, being responsible for waterfront safety and the happiness of my campers, was both a sobering and maturing experience. I had to grow up. I had to take my responsibility seri- ously. All this responsibility, the hard days and long nights, did provide some satisfying relation- ships with my campers and other counselors, but the salary was not gratifying. I earned $750.00 for the entire summer's work.

In retrospect, the summer of 2004 was an awakening for me. I know that I have the perseverance to complete a task that I agree to do, no matter how arduous or uncomfortable it may be. I believe this strength will serve me well during my college years, as I work hard at my studies, face many challenges, and begin to identify a career that will bring me emotional, intellectual, and financial rewards. Somehow, I feel that Raquette Lake helped me evolve from child to adult. Just in time for college.

Dana Leigh Waskover attends the University of Tampa.

Essay Review

to camp, this time as a counselor

Author Dana Waskover's essay starts like one thousand other summercamp essays. But her ordinary beginning sets the stage for an unexpected twist. When she goes back to camp as a counselor, she finds out that life is a lot less fun and a lot more work than she remembered. Instead of exhilaration, she finds disillusionment—and a much more interesting essay topic than if she had had a wonderful time. The essay sparkles in part because Dana lets the story unfold without too much foreshadowing, which allows the reader to experience the letdown with her.

More Information

Camp Counselor Cover Letter and Resume Examples

Camp counselor have a job that's a lot of fun (we've all seen the movies, right?) but also bears a weighty amount of responsibility. Counselors oversee large groups of children actively engaged in sports, crafts, and more, ensuring that all of​ the kids' needs - emotional and physical - are met.

Sound like the right job for you? If you are applying to be a camp counselor, review recommendations for the skills, talents, and experience to emphasize in your resume, as well as reading through the sample resume and cover letter below.

What to Highlight in Your Cover Letter and Resume

Highlight any experience with children on your resume - whether as a counselor, or in another role such as tutor, babysitter, or teacher - as well as any work history that demonstrates that you are responsible and can control and motivate large groups of kids.

Strong communication skills are also important: counselors need to clearly tell kids about rules and explain activities, and also need to be able to share important details with other staffers, the camp director, or even a child's parents.

Many camps require certain classes or certifications; you may, for instance, need to be certified to do CPR. List any relevant certifications clearly in your resume.

The following are examples of a resume and cover letter for a camp counselor. Review them for inspiration before writing your own job application documents.

Camp Counselor Cover Letter Example

Dear Barbra Chandler,

Please accept my enthusiastic application for the position of summer camp counselor. I would love the opportunity to be an enthusiastic, energetic counselor for Sunny Days Summer Camp. I believe that my experience with children and leadership skills would make me an excellent camp counselor for your summer program.

I am comfortable working with children of all ages. As a lifeguard for three summers, I led swimming lessons for children ranging from six to ten years old, and learned to cater my lessons to each age group. For example, I played instructive water games with my youngest students, and ran organized drills with my older clients. As a volunteer for the Special Olympics, I have experience working with children of different physical and mental capabilities. I am therefore confident that I can provide a fun but safe environment for campers of all ages and abilities.

I also have extensive leadership experience, which you state is necessary for any applicant. As captain of my high school football team for two years, I learned to be confident in giving direction to others while still remaining a friendly presence. I have gained further leadership as a tutor; once a week, I am in charge of leading a group of five students in a literary discussion. These experiences will help me be an excellent leader at your summer camp.

I am confident that my experience with children and my leadership abilities are the qualities you are looking for at Sunny Days Summer Camp. I have enclosed my resume, and will call within the next week to see if we might arrange a time to speak together. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.


Luke Jamison

121 Blaine Street
Hartford, CT 06115
Home: 434-334-1122 Cell: 999-909-0012

Camp Counselor Resume Example

Luke Jamison
121 Blaine Street
Hartford, CT 06115


Bachelor of Arts, Easton University, Hartford, CT May 20XX
Major: Spanish
Minor: Latin American Studies
Overall GPA 3.4

Somerville High School, May 20XX
Overall GPA 3.6
Dean’s List every semester

Related Experience

Tutor, Tutoring Tots Program, Hartford, CT
Sept. 20XX - Present

  • Read, discuss, and analyze short works of fiction with five fourth-grade students weekly
  • Create worksheets and activities to stimulate interest in each reading, and present brief PowerPoint presentations to provide historical and cultural context

Lifeguard, Somerville Town Pool, Somerville, MA
Summer 20XX – Summer 20XX

  • Led group swimming lessons for children ages 6-10, providing instruction and support for beginning and intermediate swimmers
  • Upheld the town pool’s safety standards, preventing swimming accidents through vigilant supervision
  • Provided first aid care for on-site injuries

Volunteer, Special Olympics Training, Somerville, MA
Jan. 20XX - May 20XX

  • Created swimming drills to improve diving skills of Special Olympics athletes of different abilities
  • Coordinated annual volunteer banquet for 100 volunteers and athletes; booked venue, ordered food, and decorated venue each year

Other Experience

  • Captain, Sommerville High School Football Team, Somerville, MA, 20XX-20XX
  • Vice President, Sommerville High School Literary Magazine, Somerville, MA, 20XX-20XX


  • First Aid Certification, Fall 20XX
  • CPR/AED Certification, Fall 20XX
  • American Red Cross Lifeguard Training, Summer 20XX


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *