With snow on the trees and ice on Monsweag Bay, Boys Camp Assistant Director Henry Heyburn and Wilderness Trips Coordinator Jen Adams are visiting colleges and universities across the Northeast to meet young adults who might be outstanding camp counselors or wilderness trip leaders.
“We want them to know about the great place Chewonki is and to find out about them,” says Heyburn. He and Adams visit outing clubs and environmental studies and outdoor education classes. Sometimes they simply set up a table in the college dining hall.
“We try to find the appropriate way to connect with these students,” says Heyburn. “There’s been a lot of back and forth with many of the institutions over the years, a strong history of Chewonki students going on to these colleges and then graduates coming back to be staff members here.”
What are Adams and Heyburn looking for? “People who are motivated, want to learn, want to challenge themselves,” says Heyburn. “Lots of colleges and universities pressure students to get a summer job that is career-related. I talk to students about seeing Chewonki counseling and trip leading as getting trained in risk management, leadership, decision-making, crisis management, mentorship…Working here is really putting yourself in a program that trains excellent leaders.”
Here the scoop, say Adams and Heyburn, on what Chewonki seeks in young adults interested in camp counseling and trip leading:
- Technical skills. (What do you know how to do? Canoe? Kayak? Sing? Backpack? Play soccer, lacrosse, baseball, Ultimate? Swim? Draw? Sail? Play chess? Tell us what you love doing.)
- Interpersonal skills
- Love for children. (“I ask myself,” says Adams, “Can I imagine this person interacting with kids? You do have to live with them 24/7!” Patience and understanding will take you far.)
- Ability to collaborate. (Communication and teamwork are essential.”)
- Judgment and risk management skills. (When you have made a mistake, how did you handle it? What do you do in a difficult situation?)
- Flexibility. (Expect the unexpected and be ready to adjust your goals.)
- Love for the outdoors. (Whether you are a budding biologist, a future Alex Honnold, or a nature poet, your enthusiasm will shine.)
- Sense of humor (“Oh, yes,” chuckles Heyburn. “That might belong at the top of the list.”)
Interested in working for Chewonki this summer?
On the current schedule are Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Middlebury and Sterling colleges; and Northern Vermont University, Saint Lawrence University, and the University of Vermont. If you’re on or near these campuses or know someone who is and might be interested in spending next summer with us, get in touch with Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jen at email@example.com.