Whoever said that parenting is the hardest job in the world has yet to be a camp counselor.
As complicated as it is, you do typically get nine months of prep time to be a parent. The child that arrives weighs just a few pounds and is perfectly content to eat and sleep. In the years ahead there’s quite a bit of getting-to-know-you time, plus plenty of breaks for school and visits to grandma’s.
On the other hand, a counselor gets a couple of weeks training and then BAM, he’s the parent of septuplets. He lives with his family of eight in a one-room house, and even shares the same bedroom and bath. That bed isn’t a queen or a twin – just the same skinny mattress as everyone else.
Not only does he need to keep the house tidy, but he does it with all the kids still in the room. He nags about clean clothes, teethbrushing and showering, not just for one, but for all in the family. The kids must make their beds daily, a feat which most parents would never attempt.
In addition to “stay at home parenting”, a counselor goes to work each day as teacher. With little time for planning and preparation, he must be creative and able to switch gears depending on variables (like personalities, skill levels and attention spans). Any time in between classes is spent tending to his own brood, cleaning up messes, drying tears or giving piggy-back rides.
Most astonishing is that counselors prove that it really can be done without a screen. No Netflix or Minecraft. No YouTube or Fortnite. Just a good old fashioned deck of cards, a chapter book to read nightly, maybe some board games or a basketball hoop. But what's a game without a referee? Counselors find that there are always petty disputes to settle, rules to establish and ways to make sure that things are fair.
Like a parent, a counselor takes tremendous pride in his boys. When his "summer son" makes the winning goal, sings the solo or gets up skiing, he beams like never before. On the other hand, a counselor shares the same frustrations and thinks what we all think…oh, if he’d only listen.
By the end of the season, a counselor has a skillset that you might want to take note of. His management and communication skills are superb, he can juggle multiple tasks, his problem-solving abilities are extraordinary and his dedication to the mission is unquestionable. If you’re in a position to hire, keep in mind that this is your guy.
Skylemar counselors are our heroes, and for this we are grateful. Thank you for being brave enough to undertake the hardest job you’ll ever love.