If working at a summer camp sounds like the job for you please join your fellow Hope College students at the Summer Camp Fair hosted by the Career Development Center which will take place on January 17th from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm in Maas Center, Auditorium. Continue reading to see why working at a summer camp is more than just a job.

Four years. Four years of college and three summers in-between to figure out the first few steps of your future. Some students use the summer to work in an internship, others use it as a break to rejuvenate after a long academic year, and others work at summer camps. Rachel Gillespie is a Hope College junior who is fitting the pieces of life together one by one in order to figure out her life calling. One of the pieces that has allowed her to see more of the big picture was her summer spent at Gull Lake Ministries.

Her summer camp journey began when a mutual friend recommended that she stop by the Gull Lake Ministries table at an upcoming fair to connect with the staff. The idea of working at a summer camp had crossed her mind, but she was not whole heartedly pursuing the idea. After a brief, non-intimidating conversation with a Gull Lake Ministries staff member she was asked if she would be interested in interviewing that day. The interview took place an hour later and it gave her the opportunity to speak passionately and authentically about her love for people, the Gospel and ministry work. After God opened and closed the doors of different opportunities for the summer, she was able to work full time for the summer of 2017.

As a middle school and high school counselor her time was filled with pouring love into the kids, serving in the kitchen and spending the day as a Kayak instructor on the water front. Her work hours were all day everyday with 30 minutes of downtime each day and 24 hours off on the weekend. All the hours she spent working were filled with memories, learning moments, excitement, hard work and numerous blessing from the Lord through all of her experience at camp, and it all began because she approached an information table.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Rachel to hear more about her summer experiences and to ask her a few questions about the camp.

What advice or tips do you have for someone considering attending the fair?

It’s really important to do some research for any kind of fair before you attend. Look up the list of employers (or camps) who will there, and select a few that you want to connect with directly. Since summer camps are more laid back, business casual attire is just fine. Then walk in with confidence! You are unique and important and you have something to offer that no one else does. Let that shine. Bringing a few copies of your resume couldn’t hurt. But most importantly, have some unique talking points ready to share. Lots of people like the idea of spending a summer at camp. However, I believe that it’s really important to know why you want to be there. If you don’t believe in the mission/goals of the camp or strongly desire to commit to a summer of selflessness and giving, summer camp is likely not for you.

We are all aware that summer camp jobs do not pay much, do you still believe working at a camp is a valuable experience? If so, why?

YES!!! This is the time to invest your summer for something that will matter forever. After graduation, it’s a lot less likely that you’d work a full summer at camp. The great thing about camp is that you spend hardly any money. And the salary that you do make can be saved for the future. It’s easy to come up with excuses, as I know I did; “I can’t be gone for that long. I won’t make enough money. I won’t know anyone. I don’t know if I’m qualified to do everything they’re asking.” Sure, those are valid concerns. But I don’t believe that they should stop you from at least exploring what’s out there. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Was there something you learned about yourself at the camp that you never would’ve learned about yourself if it wasn’t for your experience at the camp?

This summer was huge for me. I like to call it “my most important summer”. Over the course of those weeks, I learned about why I was created and the things that my heart beats wildly for. While I don’t know the specifics of when and where, I know that God has called me to use my voice, strengths and talents in a ministry context someday.

Do you have any closing thoughts you’d like to share?

This summer at Gull Lake I got to throw myself into something a little wild, and something I believed in with my whole heart. So take the leap! It may just be the most important summer of your life.

Rachel is a phenomenal example of a student who took a risk and passionately pursed a God-given calling and reaped the benefits from that decision. She gained experiences that she will be able to use in future interviews and future life choices.



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