The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, Upskilling, Reskilling…Our news feeds are filled with stories, ideas and solutions for today’s workforce. In the midst of this, our college students grapple with how to set themselves up for the career of their dreams – Internships? Research projects? Networking? Camp?
Yes, camp! And here’s why – Of the skills needed for professional success, “camp counselor” checks all the boxes!
We reached out to some successful Herzl alumni to ask how their camp jobs shaped their career paths: Was working at camp just a fun summer before the “real world”? Or was it the launch pad that gave them a leg up on the competition? Turns out, the answer is a resounding, “Both!”
“Camp is like boot camp for succeeding at an intense job in any field,” said Talya Minsberg, Herzl staff 2007-08, now Assistant Sports Editor at the New York Times. “It is the most fun you’ll ever have and the hardest you’ll ever work – and that makes you a really good teammate.”
“At camp you are constantly problem-solving, navigating different personalities, and working on very little sleep. It prepares you to take on big challenges and be the person in the room that leads others through a crisis,” added Talya. “You are going to work the rest of your life but your window to be at camp is limited and what you learn there simply can’t be learned at an internship.”
“Looking back at the jobs I’ve held, the responsibilities demanded by Herzl forced me to grow more than any other,” said Jordan Marks, MD, Herzl staff 2008-12, now an emergency medicine specialist. “Being responsible for the safety of hundreds of campers on the waterfront really stuck with me. Working at Herzl made future life challenges easier to overcome.”
For Amy Marks, Herzl staff 2008-12, now Associate Vice President at Hillel International, camp set the stage for all that came next. “I am forever grateful for learning the importance of being ‘on-stage’ at camp, which I learned from the great Rachel Javitch!” said Amy. “Whether it’s waking up your campers each morning with enthusiasm and creativity, hosting a major stakeholder event in New York City, simply writing an email with intentionality, being ‘on-stage’ has not only helped me grow professionally, but it allows me to truly enjoy the work I do, each and every day.”
When Isaac Teplinsky, Herzl staff 2015-19, took a leap from the corporate world to start his own business as a real estate agent, camp was very much on his mind. “The skills I gained at camp have had everything to do with my success in my professional life,” said Isaac. “Communication, leadership, responsibility, the big picture – camp trained me in all areas. At camp, you take on real responsibility. You put yourself in situations to step up, do better and make a positive impact. Now, as my own boss, I can do as little or as much as possible – it’s my choice. At camp, I learned that you get the results you want by stepping up every time.”
Camp skills and abilities shine through when you have the job, but camp often also helps with securing that first job out of college. When Neil Fink, Herzl staff 1995-97, now a Risk Advisor at Northridge Partners, was interviewing for his first job at a Fortune 500 company, he worried that the interviewers would see camp as a weak spot on his resume. “It was the opposite! We spent most of the interview talking about my time at camp and I got the job,” said Neil. “The interviewers were fascinated with my experience at camp. They wanted to hear all about how I navigated challenges of managing my peers and close friends. They were intrigued by my experience with big responsibilities, thinking outside the box, and addressing issues before they became problems.”
As college students and their parents think about how to invest in themselves and snag that dream job, consider Talya Minsberg’s final thought on how camp fits into future careers, “When I’m looking for employees, I look for camp people.”
Did your camp work experience give you a leg up? Share your story with today’s staff.