Statistics on Millennials are like hand grenades, relentlessly lobbed by Boomers and Gen-Xers over the generational no-mans-land of technology and past the unmarked graves of brave hipsters who have gone before. And if one hits you before you’re thirty, you’re like a lost-boy who got thrown out of Neverland and grew up too fast. “Did you know 100% of millennials are selfish?” they say. Or, “Have you heard that world-hunger was actually caused by a coffee-drinking-hipster from Orange County that didn’t want to work hard?” To which we sigh, “Yes, Grandma, you’ve told me that before… and No, I still don’t have a ‘real’ job.
And as a millennial, I confess… sometimes I’m pretty selfish. I want privileges I haven’t earned, and often shirk the responsibilities of adulthood all so that I can cherish a few more sunsets with my friends. I enjoy Instagram and hate taxes. I ugly-laugh when I replay a snap using a voice-change filter. And some months I spend more money on coffee than I do on rent. Come at me.
We’re the generation that is standing on society’s proverbial table and shouting, “Why not! Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too?!” And is that too much to ask? To work and play? To learn and love? To get where I’m going by making a couple of mistakes along the way? Is that so bad?
If you’re like me then you have wondered how to make it across to the other side of 20 with your hiking boots still laced and your coffee still hot.
And by the sheer grace of God, I have found a job that supports the adventurer in me AND is forming in me the habits and skills I’ll need when I finally figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I work at Camp. Yes, CAMP!
My nieces and nephew think that my job is a prolonged vacation, which it kind of is. “Mom works for the School District, but Uncle Kyle works at camp,” is a sentence they’ve probably said or thought at some point. But I’ll let you decide which sounds cooler. I work at a camp in the PNW that features dirt bikes, horses, paintball, archery, beach property on two lakes, a giant swing, and a High Ropes Circuit. And if that weren’t enough, last year over 1,600 people made some kind of commitment to Jesus here! Dunk-tanks, water balloons, s’mores, silly songs, good friends, and Jesus. Yep, this is my job!
But at the same time, my job isn’t just developing me into an adult… it’s developing me into the kind of adult the world needs. An adult who is kind, compassionate, often-laughing, conflict-navigating, hard-working, and even process-following. I’m becoming an adult who cares more about purpose than paychecks. And one day I’ll be the kind of Dad that raises a tribe of crazies that know how to laugh loud, work hard, and love well.
So here are the top 7 reasons I believe working at camp is the BEST summer job for millennials:
1.) Have an adventure.
Do something different. Something crazy. Live a little. The best adventures take work, and the best work takes you on adventures. Most camps’ pay starts around $2,000 for a summer of work – most of which you can pocket if you’re careful. Costume dance parties, skits, late-night conversations, dirt bike and horseback rides through the forest, paintball wars in a junkyard, and songs around a campfire – these are all best served with a side of I-can’t-believe-I’m-getting-paid-for-this.
2.) Find a Job at camp that suits your passions.
There’s not just one job at summer camp. Most camps are have open summer positions for activity supervisors, videographers, photographers, store managers, nurses, deans, housekeepers, kitchen staff, and of course – counsellors. Don’t write camp off, because someone else might apply for your dream job!
3.) Work for a cause.
Maybe your camp’s focus is the disabled. Maybe it’s low-income individuals. And maybe your camp shares the Gospel too. Whatever it is, millennials want to know that their work is bigger than themselves. This isn’t the drive-thru or your average 9-to-5. My camp serves homeless and at-risk youth, military families, inner-city kids, and low-income families, all while sharing the message that Jesus came to heal brokenness. I’m not just working hard and having fun, I’m making an impact.
4.) Make Lifelong Friends.
Camp breeds friendship in young adults like Black Friday breeds hysteria in middle-aged-women. You’ll meet people that are gut-bustingly-funny, refreshingly-authentic, and crazy-passionate. Add to this that you’ll be cracking jokes constantly and you probably just found a new BFF or two. If that weren’t enough, no small number of us have found our spouse at camp!
5.) Grow Up… A Little.
Just give me a chance on this one. You just graduated high school or you’re in college… and truthfully, people hardly trust you with anything yet. But at camp, you’re a valuable leader with responsibilities that your friends and others depend on. You’ll learn a thing or two that the millennial in you maybe hasn’t wanted to figure out yet. You’ll have to navigate conflict, keep people safe, watch other people’s kids, share a room with another human being, wake up on time, and keep track of your keys. Your friends (not your parents) will be counting on you, which is the kind of incentive us millennials need to toe the line a little more consciously.
6.) Make Mistakes.
At camp it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to have a bad day and talk to your boss about it. No one’s going to scream “Job Opening!” after you drop the ball – in fact, they’ll probably help you pick it up and encourage you to try again. If you’ve had the entry level jobs most of us have had, then you know this is actually a big deal.
7.) Grow in your faith.
A lot of camps are faith-based. At camp the pressures of social media weaken because authentic relationships are completely available to you. This kind of unplugged, bible-soaked and prayer-saturated space is exactly what you need if you want to run faster than ever at Jesus.
So what I’m actually saying is – Camp is a magical place where Unicorns still exist...
where the trees bud with tufts of cotton candy, fruit punch flows freely from the water fountains, every guys journal reads like Braveheart and every girl’s diary reads like a Nicholas Sparks book. But on the real – this is the kind of job that won’t be around after you turn 30, or sign the dotted lines on your first full-time job after college. It’s completely worth it – to have an adventure, make friends along the way, and to accept the kinds of responsibilities that help make the world a better place.
If you’re interested in a summer job, you can apply for my camp and we’ll talk it out over a cup of coffee. I’ll buy. www.cristacamps.com/summer-staff