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Best Summer Internship or Job for College Students

“I need a job this summer” states the college student to a friend. “Well, I need a summer internship, says the friend back, “and I am not looking forward to getting coffee and filing paperwork all summer.”
I have heard college students play this conversation out across college campuses many times. As the hiring and staff director at Circle F Dude Ranch camp I am able to interact with hundreds of college students each season. Helping them understand that a summer internship at our camp is not only a chance to complete an internship its also a full-time paid seasonal job with real life experience and takeaways.

It becomes the best summer internship option for college students in our opinion. With multiple career areas such as outdoor recreation, youth development, education, marketing, communication, hospitality, event and even business management, young professionals can learn a wealth of hands-on knowledge while being paid this summer.

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Summer Staff with Her Campers

The business and operation of camp creates an atmosphere of adventure for any intern. There is no getting coffee at camp. Instead, working as a youth development college intern at sleep a-way camp is about meeting college aged staff from around the world, learning new outdoor adventure skills, and creating lifelong memories that change children’s life’s and often the interns. Along the way this very real job teaches key “transferable skills”, more on that later.

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Staff Meet for Staff Development Workshop

Additionally to being paid for their time at camp our summer interns enjoy summer excursions to amusement parks, paid for staff enrichment and appreciation trips, free housing, and food provided for the summer, it’s the perfect balance of both worlds; Independence and a summer of fun.

When we talk about the reality of an internship or job at camp it’s easy to become blind sighted by the fun but truthfully this is probably one of the most challenging jobs you could find yourself working in for the summer- the skills you gain are invaluable and completely transferable in the outside world.

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“During my time as an intern for Circle F, I not only had the ability to grow personally but also professionally” Kinnley Studying Psychology at Florida Southern College – 2021 Intern

Our summer interns find their experiences to be unique to Circle F Dude Ranch. A Recent a 2021 summer intern shared her experience as:

Being a camp counselor is a great way to gain experience in working with children and adults. My studies are in psychology, and being able to work with these kids on a 24 hour clock allowed me to put my knowledge to use and gain new information! I loved every second I was there and truly believe the children and staff helped me become a better person all around. I gained more leadership, communication, patience, and problem solving skills. Everyday you are challenged with something new and everyday you learn how to work through it. Not only is it a fun way to gain some internship credit but you’re also leaving a huge impact on these kids. That is the most rewarding part of it all, to be able to be a role model in so many of these kids’ lives. This camp has taught me how to be selfless and handle anything that is thrown my way. In so many ways I was taught how to respect more, inspire those around me, think positively even in hard situations, get out and play, lead even when no one is watching, and always, always, always engage and get the most out of your time!”

Kinnley –2021 Intern - Florida Southern College

Summer Internships & Transferable Skills

One of the buzz phrases that is thrown around when it comes to summer internships is “transferable skills” but what are transferable skills and how can they be used? More importantly what transferable skills can be gained from working as a summer camp intern and how can they be applied to college, or other roles outside of the camp and outdoor education world. As Kinnley touched on some of the skills that she was able to develop were communication and leadership, a few of the other key soft skills that are gained while working at camp are flexibility, being able to problem solve and pivot quickly, social awareness and self-confidence. These skills are the critical skills that future employers are looking for- in today’s work force. As an intern in the camp setting is much more than just spending your summer working with kids, it’s about recognizing the needs of others, valuing your team and co workers and demonstrating your dedication by committing your 10 weeks of summer to your personal and professional development.

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“One of the most formative experiences of my life” Khloe – Studying International Studies at John Hopkins University – 2021 Intern

The hands-on opportunities of an internship at camp can really help bring into focus a students direction. When recent Intern Khloe reflected on her summer she had this to share:

“Interning at Circle F this past summer has been one of the most formative experiences of my life. While I already had a prior interest in working with children, this internship solidified it. This experience also helped me develop countless personal skills that I know I’ll use throughout my future. The two biggest skills I developed were patience and bravery. I learned how to let loose and be silly, how to control my emotions and work through conflicts, and how to overcome my personal fears for the safety and happiness of others. Working with kids required me to be truly selfless, which isn’t something I’d really ever had to do before. The feedback I received throughout the summer also allowed me to be conscious of these skills and actively try to improve myself.

Youth development has become one of my passions, and I know that I’ll continue to develop the skills I need to be an effective leader and role model. I couldn’t have had a better starting point than Circle F.”

Khloe – 2021 Intern - John Hopkins University

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A summer camp job or internship has often been viewed as just fun for the summer. At Circle F Dude Ranch we believe it can be a mix of fun and real world expereince. We work hard to help our interns relate their summer experiences back to the real world and inturn secure better jobs in the future. Here is some great resources from the American Camp Association Project Real Job Team on how to translate your summer experience to the outside world.

Still undecided on if summer camp is the right place for an internship. Check out this great article from the American Camp Association on why Camps are amazing intership site.

“Intership Success” - American Camp Association Blog

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