Between guest teen entrepreneur visits, rock climbing, basketball, prototyping, marketing research, gaga, company branding, team-building exercises and Jewish/Israeli education, a single day can feel like a week – sometimes all of this can happen before dinner.
During middle and high school, I often slept until noon in the summer. I went swimming in the “morning,” and enjoyed sports and video games until after midnight. Jewish values, business ethics & practices, and Israeli culture couldn’t have been further from my mind. I never went to an overnight summer camp, and I’ve since wondered how I managed such a mistake.
Specialty overnight camps pack more into a day than I would have thought possible before working at Camp Inc. It’s not by magic that two and a half weeks is crammed with more professional opportunity than a summer of college at a top-ranked state university (I assure you, this is fact).
The magic comes from dedicated, year-round planning and an experienced staff who sincerely love to see campers excel. On a daily basis, camp staff might each be wilderness guides, rabbis, medics, conflict resolution specialists, language & culture professors, business entrepreneurship professors, life coaches, and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. Aside from the ever-impossible job of ‘Mom,’ (or ‘Dad’) I can’t think of a more stressful, exhausting and overwhelming experience.
This is my second year working with Camp Inc., and it’s one of the most rewarding places I’ve been lucky enough to find work with. I’ve worked on several startup companies, with more than a dozen social non-profits, waited tables and tended bars in restaurants, written and edited for multiple newspapers and magazines. Not one of those jobs allowed me the opportunity to see the incredible benefits that happen here at camp.
During the summer I get to see a transformation of years happen in weeks and days. Campers come to Camp Inc. to re/invent products and services, and often end up re/defining themselves. The shy become leaders, the doubtful gain confidence, the quiet begin to sing, and the introverts compete. It’s a process that will hopefully never end, but helping to foster this innovation of body, mind, and soul is an experience I am happy to be a part of.
And I can only wish that I had been fortunate enough to get a few of these hours during my summer days as a teenager when I had the extra hours in a day.
Bill Crotty is a 27-years-old with an interdisciplinary degree in journalism, history and political science who has done a bunch of things in a lot of places. He is currently rockin’ it as the head counselor at Camp Inc.