By Community Submission
Aug 15, 2015

Four Summers as Staff at Camp JJ

As a staffer at Camp Jeremiah Johnson, you would arrive by 7 am to find out what job you would be performing for the day, whether teaching at a single station or leading a group of boys around from station to station or assisting the teacher at each station. Once you know your assignment, you get started on setting up your station, as well as helping in all the other things like the BB gun or archery ranges, the Trading Post, and opening ceremonies.

DSC_2858If you are assigned to a station, you will repeat the same lesson twelve times over the day.  You will certainly be repeating yourself a lot during the course of the summer! As a staffer this can seem repetitive, doing the same things over and over, but for the boys that come every day, it is their first and only chance to enjoy the activities of camp. If the staff is not up to snuff, there is no do-over button for those poor Cub Scouts that came that day.  You have to be happy all the time and full of energy, or at least be good at faking it. We usually arrive home anywhere from 8 to 9 pm.

Flag RetirementSo you ask yourself, why do we put ourselves through all of this? You are putting in 14 hour days, up to 6 days a week, running around with 8 and 9 year-olds in the hot sun. It must be for the great pay… NOT! Here`s why you do it. First off, one of the greatest feelings in the world has got to be having a Boy Scout that you taught four years ago come up to you and tell you that he remembers you from when he was a Cub Scout at camp. That alone is enough to make all the blood, sweat and tears worth it many times over. It’s all for the participants, be they Cub Scouts or achievement day girls.

I was honored this last summer with the chance to serve as Senior Patrol Leader for a National Youth Leadership Training Course (NTYL). While there, one of the Boy Scout participants in particular was having a hard time with home sickness, so I would take some time to keep him company. One of the days while I was sitting with him, he turned to me and said, “You work at a Cub Scout day camp, right?” I gave him a puzzled look, so he continued, “You were the Den Guide for my DSC_2561Pack four years ago when I attended Camp Jeremiah Johnson. I want to thank you for doing that because you inspired me to pursue Scouting more seriously.”  I was speechless. My actions from four years previously while working at camp had inspired this young man to pursue excellence in Scouting, which eventually brought us back together at that NYLL course.

There are other reasons why I have worked at Camp Jeremiah Johnson for the past four summers.  There is the staff family that I have there. I can act like a 8-year-old and get paid for it. I get great teaching and leadership experience. I could list off a lot of things. But it all boils down to the experiences that you share with the boys and girls that you help along the way. I could not have asked for more rewarding experiences than what I have gotten in the past four summers while working at Camp Jeremiah Johnson. They are irreplaceable to me.

Spencer BaileyAuthor: Spencer Bailey | Staff Member, Camp Jeremiah Johnson

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