Need real career experience…summer camps can give you just that no matter what your skill set is. Who knew that you can work at an American summer camp as a blacksmith, flying trapeze artist, saxophone player or quad bike mechanic? There is a job for everyone…here are some words from Alice, a costume designer who discovered the perfect summer job for her which ultimately led to landing her dream job back home when she returned:
“I finished university in 2016 and a few months after graduating I knew I wanted to do something fun and different with my upcoming summer. I’d done some travelling before, but I also wanted to try and gain some experience in something potentially career related too. Gaining experience in Costume and Wardrobe for Theatre was beginning to be difficult having only just graduated, so I knew I had to research alternative ways to build a portfolio.
I knew of people who had worked at American summer camps and had a blast, so I started researching it myself. My mum had also worked at summer camp in Connecticut in the 80’s and still to this day she talks fondly of her experience. Because I knew I had a very specific skill set I decided against completing a general summer camp application and instead got onto Google and sat researching to see if Costume related roles even existed at summer camps! I found a few Performing Arts Camps online that offered staff roles in working in the theatre department, so I was very eager to find out more. I discovered that at performing arts camps they require a team just for costuming the campers for productions, so once I realised I could combine my skills and passion for costume design I sat and applied for few different camps on their online applications.
A day later I had an email and phone call from a camp director and we chatted for a while about the role and my suitability! I think I had two phone calls in the end from Long Lake and I got offered the job. I remember being so nervous about going to camp as I didn’t know anyone however there really wasn’t anything to worry about and most of the staff were newbies too so in the exact same boat!
I had such an amazing time in my first year and after returning home I got one of my dream jobs working at a theatre as a wardrobe assistant and my experience of working at camp really made my application stand out. I soon got the call from the camp director asking if I would return the following year and I was already so excited to return”