Campus Rec Youth Programs to hire summer camp counselors

What better excuse to spend the summer in Davis than the opportunity to partake in rock climbing, dance, flag football and the best that Campus Recreation has to offer … and get paid for it at the same time?

Youth Programs, a unit of UC Davis Campus Recreation which offers a diverse range of summer camps for kids under age 18, is currently hiring for this upcoming summer. As counselors, students can gain experience in program development and education by working at specialized camps that feature the familiar Campus Rec facilities, such as the Craft Center, Activities and Recreation Center and Recreation Pool.

Applications are due Feb. 25 via the Aggie Job Link at iccweb.ucdavis.edu/students/ajl.htm.

“We’re looking for people who have the desire to learn and try something new, inspire others and be a role model for youth,” said Jeff Heiser, assistant director at Youth Programs. “We want people who want to come and share their love of an activity, lead songs.”

Youth Programs organizes a range of camps that feature plenty of activities that students may be interested in, from dancing and crafts to sports and cooking. Joseph Carozza, senior human development major and one of the student managers at Youth Programs, says the counselor experience is valuable because it gives students the chance to enjoy things they don’t get the opportunity to do every day.

“You can do whatever you’re passionate about that the school year doesn’t give you time for,” Carozza said. “Artistic, dance, theater, crafting. It’s great to have the chance to be a kid and take a break from this academic world, really get down to the fun. That’s the point.”

This year, Youth Programs has revved up their program to better benefit student employees. Coordinators will be offering a two-unit training course over Spring quarter to ensure students are adequately prepared for the summer. Counselors are interviewed and hired before the end of Winter quarter so they know to leave room for the course in their Spring quarter schedules.

“The training class is for internship credits through the School of Education,” Heiser said. “Our biggest goal is student development, not only from the Campus Rec health-oriented perspective but also to provide training ground for a lot of our staff, as many of them want to work with youth or in education. The training course is an opportunity to align camps with academic success- leadership, program planning, education and recreation.”

Youth Program’s spring training is a unique facet of working for Campus Rec over the summer that gives it an edge over returning to summer jobs at home. Rather than making the abrupt transition from school to a full-time recreation job, the groundwork of being a good counselor has already been established throughout the spring, improving the experience on the sides of both the staff and campers.

“It’s about building relationships before the camp starts — you don’t have that at home,” Carozza said.

Other members of the student staff, which consists of three managers and two student assistants, who work throughout the year on developing programs for the upcoming season, are looking forward to the revamped program as well.

“I’m really excited about our new training program and working with the staff we hire to create another great camp experience for the kids,” said Avery Miller, senior psychology major and student assistant for Youth Programs. “It’s so rewarding to be able to share everything the UC has to offer with local families in this way.”

Throughout the course of the summer, program managers will be doing all they can to keep up the professional development aspect of the job while maintaining the positive sense of community among staff. They are planning to host barbeques, potlucks and weekend trips such as rafting trips.

“We are also planning to put on plenty of professional development workshops over the summer,” Carozza said. “Our priority is student development. By working for Youth Programs, you may only earn student wages, but you will gain a lot for your future.”

So is the camp counselor experience at Youth Programs worth withstanding the brutal Davis heat?

“It’s hot in the summer, and exhausting,” Heiser said. “But at the same time we really strive to help our kids make friends at the camps and leave having known that they made a connection with someone else. For the staff, it’s the same thing. It makes living in the town they go to school in feel completely different.”

A summer job through Campus Rec can indeed maximize the summer experience in Davis.

“No other job will be as fun,” Carozza said. “It will be hot, but you will manage to survive. We do not force you to wear pants.”

LANI CHAN can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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