Looking back at the goals I made at the beginning of the summer: growing interpersonal skills, leading modules successfully, learn camper names, gain more leadership skills, network, and making my area more interesting for campers; I feel as though I have reached some of them. By working with kids multiple times every day I have learned more interpersonal skills. Last year at camp I only worked with adults. Now that I have gotten used to working with children I feel that, even as an introvert, in my future career I’ll be ready for all sorts of interactions. As for networking, I have met lots of campers who are in fields I’m interested. This year the camp administration has made it easier to network, by having networking sessions and assigning mentors every week. My resume, that I submitted to the camp page, even caught the eye of someone in the business school at Michigan. And now I know about a new social entrepreneurship program at the university that I would have never known about before. My module, a watercolor class, has been very successful. The campers are always very happy with their products.
These are some examples of some of the things campers painted. I taught the class outside on the lake, and taught the campers basic watercolor techniques and let them paint. I made sure to answer questions and help them out a long the way. I liked this class because no matter what skill level the campers had, they still had a fun time. Some got more creative with their paintings, enjoying spending peaceful time on the lake together.
I have learned a lot in Nature. I have learned how to be independent when leading campers. For the past couple years I have gotten used to working as a team. But sometimes we have to go on hikes by ourselves and educate the campers about plants, trees and lake ecology. I was always used to knowing everything. But in a new area I had to learn everything from scratch, and be able to be confident when reciting what I learned to the campers. I think this experience gave me the skill to be able to adapt to any situation. I am also very surprised that I am doing well with the smaller children groups, like the 5 & 6 year olds and the 3 & 4 year olds.
I think there are some skills I still need to work on. Nature is very different from arts & crafts. At arts and crafts things were happening all the time. Campers needed assistance almost constantly, and things needed to be done all the time. This kept me constantly on my feet, and running around. At nature there are times when there are no campers and nothing is happening. I felt anxious in these moments and tried to find something to do, whether it be cleaning or feeding the animals. But eventually I would run out of things to do, and find myself just sitting there. I found that when I am not in a high intensity situation where there is no time to relax, I tend to lose focus. I tend to procrastinate more and accomplish less. I think this is something I will have to really work on to overcome, and it will probably take a while. But I know I’ll get there one day.