I was a counselor at Timberlake for seven summers. As a physician and as an administrator, I have hired many people over many years. I love it when I learn that an applicant was a summer camp counselor. I say that because I know that someone who has been a summer camp counselor for at least a few summers knows a lot about how to manage people in the real world.
Counselors need to coordinate skillfully and successfully with a co-counselor and handle a myriad of situations with kids from morning to night. Counselors know how to encourage kids to take on new challenges while at the same time maintaining boundaries to keep everyone safe in the great outdoors. Counselors learn how to mediate disputes on the spot and how to model ethical behaviors. Counselors know what hard work is!
Successful camp counselors are patient, kind, and know how to take initiative. Successful camp counselors are selfless, have excellent communication skills and have an intact sense of humor. Successful camp counselors are team players. If I have a choice between hiring someone with a fancy resume but no summer camp experience, or someone with a less impressive resume, but several years of camp counselor experience, I will hire the latter person.
I can’t say that being a camp counselor makes you a perfect fit for every job, but I can say that having been a camp counselor helps prepare you for the real world of dealing with co-workers, people who might report to you, and even your boss.
Rich Parker, M.D.
Rich Parker, M.D. has an almost life-long association with Farm and Wilderness, dating back to his first summer as a camper at Timberlake in 1966. He practiced internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for 25 years and also served as their Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer for many years. Currently, Rich works as Chief Medical Officer for Arcadia, a healthcare IT company. He also works part-time seeing patients at Care Dimensions hospice in Lincoln, MA. Rich is married to Chrissie and they have 4 children who have all been campers and counselors at F&W. Rich plays the violin and enjoys yoga and ballroom dancing.
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