Disclaimer: Over the past year I’ve applied for a total of four camps: from Walkabout student, to summer staff as a counselor, and finally as an intern. I know what I’m doing.
This post is me trying to funny and optimistic about my continuation of applying for Christian camps, but some pro tips for the beginners, since I’m only a self-titled expert.
Don’t stop reading though, this is about to get serious.
I’m not sure how many people scour the internet curious of how to spend their summer if they’re like me, broke, but adventuress. I found a solution for people like me and you; apply for a camp job, get Chacos, find some Adidas soccer shorts, and tie-dye shirts, even if it’s only one shirt, but before you do that allow me to share, how to apply for Christian camps and work for them.
Information error: I didn’t grow up going to summer camp, so there’s no biased opinions. Not even towards Camp Eagle even though I’ve lived here for the past six months. See tip two for example.
Pro Tip One – BEFORE YOU APPLY
If you’re not a former camp kid, like me, find a camp that matches your idea of fun. Don’t take it seriously until you find your camp, but after you find your camp stalk that camp’s media pages. If your still interested after that, you can now begin being serious about applying for said camp.
Pro Tip Two – DON’T CHECK YOUR QUALIFICATIONS BASED ON THE CAMP’S MISSION STATEMENT
Camp Eagle’s mission statement,
“Our mission is to inspire Christ-like change through outdoor adventure, authentic relationships and Biblical truth.”
I did this when I started to apply for Camp Eagle as a Walkabout without any prior knowledge that Camp Eagle’s idea of outdoor adventure is backpacking in the Texas wilderness. I remember thinking,
“I grew up camping, I can do outdoor adventure!”
You try saying that after 6 days of not being showered, peeing in the back country, eating a cricket, carrying a 50 pound backpack, all with people you don’t know, in a place you’ve never been before, and having your body as a sacrifice to the ants whose home you slept on too. I’ve obviously never done this before. At the end of the day you may wonder, “what did I just sign up for the next nine moths.”
Oh wait, that was me in August. Authentic relationships was my downfall. ‘Nuff said.
But wait, there’s Biblical truth. Hakuna matata, bruh, I grew up going to church.
Learn from me, it’s a bad idea regardless of your preconceived notions.
Pro Tip Three – START ON YOUR APPLICATION EARLY
Urban myth 001: Camps hire summer staff in February. One exception to one camp I applied for that the email said in February they would be interviewing summer staff. Seriously, most camps I’ve looked at only hire 50 summer staff. If you want in, apply the summer before. I’m not even being funny.
Pro Tip Four – KNOW THY SELF AND THINE BIBLE
The application you’re about to fill out will ask serious questions about yourself that you didn’t even know about yourself, and questions about your beliefs as a Christian. Don’t be intimidated by this, it’s just an authenticity indicator. On a more serious note, camps probably want to make sure you’re enriching the kids spiritual growth as well as your own, even if you’re the classic Sunday School Bible Thumper who memorized the verses from the prior week to get in the treasure chest for a bouncy ball or a chocolate, or the kid who just hammered the sword drills every time. Even if you were the kid who did Faith Weavers, Pioneer clubs or a stereotypical homeschooler in Awanas. – Actually don’t believe that stereotype. I didn’t do Awanas when I was homeschooled.–
Don’t even get me started on the staff kids, they’re the worst.
Pro Tip Five – LEARN TO DANCE, BE CONFIDENT AND DON’T BE SHY
Little known fact about me, I took dance classes when I was 15 for West Coast swing, but I’m a bashful person and completely confidence shattered. I see people at camp dancing like they belong in a music video of some sort while I just shuffle my feet like an awkward penguin. I got no rhythm, beat or melody and my name is Melody. Ironic? I think not. See Camp Eagle people I don’t know dancing.
Learn how to dance and don’t be afraid to whip and nay nay.
Pro Tip Six – DON’T JOIN A CULT
A surprising number of female Camp Eagle full-time staff have nose rings, why? probably because we’re secretly a cult promoting nose rings. Why else would anyone come out to the middle of nowhere to work at a camp? again, probably to join a cult. Your guess is as good as mine in case you were wondering. Also does your leader have fake gauges? one of mine dose. Are your ears pierced? mine are. What are you going to do? get on Amazon and order some? Although I have not yet, but I will be soon. Again, why? to make fun of your leader, but end up liking them, cool, your almost in the cult. Say, get a Hebrew tattoo and you’re in the cult. Tattoos are cool and might as well get one that says Jehovah Jireh, –the LORD provides– mazel tov, you’re officially a part of a camp cult!
Pro Tip Seven – GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT AND ASK QUESTIONS
Living at camp is a surefire way to make sure you have your priorities straight, but make sure you practice at home first by asking these questions.
1. Shower or sleep? sleep.
2. How much do I really want to eat the same food repeatedly? only on left over lunch day.
3. To do laundry or not to do laundry? I probably should do laundry.
4. Who should I call? my mom, dad, sisters or best friend? er, leave a message?
5. High five, fist bump, or elbow? I’ll just high-five your fist bump, and rub elbows in the kitchen.
6. Clean my room or get on WiFi? Get on WiFi.
7. Should I spend time with God in prayer and read my Bible in my spare time? The answer should always be yes. But do I really say “yes” all the time? not always.
Now, go find your inner Chaco, soccer short, and tie-dye wearing self and apply for a Christian Camp.
1. Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Show them you are a Christian.
2. Be great with humans. Feed them, love them, never leave them.
3. Agree with the camp’s doctrinal statement at the end of the application. Why that is, I’m not really sure.
4. Don’t take yourself too seriously and be willing to make a fool of yourself daily.
5. Be great at pranks. People will prank you by water balloons, rocks, and a large destroyed Batman action figure with no head.
6. Have great music taste. That means you should love Twenty One Pilots and Lecrae automatically.
Congratulations! You have now been well-informed on how to apply for a Christian camp and work for them.
*Disclaimer: this kind of job is not for the faint of heart because you will probably die from sleep deprivation or get sick from all the preservatives in the food.*