When my mom first told me she wanted me to come work at a Scout camp, I thought for sure she was kidding. I was 17 years old, I had my dream job working at the mall, and all summer to do whatever I wanted. Agreeing to our family rule of “Don’t knock it until you try it,” I decided to come up to camp. My first few weeks, I felt like a total fish out of water. I was totally unfamiliar with the Boy Scout program and the way this camp worked; but as I learned to put my whole heart and soul into my job, I realized that I had something few of my friends would ever have: I had the chance to be young again.
How many people get to say that for work they get to play games, sing songs, hike, swim, and go on brand new adventures every day? To top it all off, I get to do all these things with some of the most independent, creative, caring, and brave young adults in Utah. As a staff, not only do we work together, but we grow together. We experience our ups and downs alongside one another and we work through them all. I am so lucky because I get to work with people 6 years younger than me and 16 years older than me, and each and every person has something different to share with the world. When I was hired, I didn’t just gain new friends, I gained a whole new family.
Our camp motto is “Do Your Best.” It’s not just something we say at our opening ceremonies, but it’s something that our camp director tries to implement into our daily lives. She encourages us to learn new things and try our hand at something different. I always knew I was good at making necklaces, but until I worked at camp I never knew I was good at making rope and using a compass, too. Rather than letting us wade in our comfort zones and do only the things we’re good at, she gives us the chance to teach a different class or den guide a different group every day. Even though sometimes it can be frightening or awkward, she encourages us to do our best at whatever the given task may be.
This camp isn’t just a learning and growth opportunity for the kids that attend, but for the staff members who work here, also. For many staff members, this is their first job or first time being independent. One of the most rewarding parts of working here is getting the opportunity to see young adults grow and become better citizens and leaders. Even though this job is a whole lot of fun, there are many late nights and early mornings to go along with it. What makes us a family is that we have fun together AND we work hard together.
While working at this camp, I’ve learned to become a better person. In doing that, I’ve been able to help inspire the kids that attend camp to be better people also. This camp has taught me to be more patient and accepting of the people around me. Working at this camp has given me the skills I need in life to be a better leader and one day, to be a better mother. Of course this camp taught me to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. But even more than that, working at Jeremiah Johnson taught me that in whatever situation life gives you, the most rewarding option is to always Do Your Best.
Author: Karanda Heimuli | Staff Member, Camp Jeremiah Johnson