From Camper to Counselor to Researcher

February 10, 2012

Lots of us have a great time working at camp as a summer job, and then we go on to become teachers, journalists, nurses . . . you name it!

But what if you realized that you wanted to have camp as a career?

Cass Morgan, an ACA research assistant and current PhD candidate at the University of Utah, explains the path she has taken to get a career in camp. Cass’ early experience was probably a lot like yours — she started out as a camper and then became a counselor.

Watch this video to learn what inspired Cass to pursue a career in camp, what you should expect if you’re interested in being a camp professional, and the opportunities you can take advantage of to help you get there.

Top 5 Tips from Cass

  1. Stay current on necessary certifications, and take advantage of professional development and networking opportunities.
  2. In college, take courses that will help you learn administration and marketing skills. Also, take recreation-specific courses that will teach you program planning, leadership, and camp management.
  3. Get experience at different camps to gain a better understanding of the profession. Work with varying camp models, types of campers, types of staff, and settings. 
  4. Research shows just how important the camp experience is to the development of children and youth, so be proud of the work you are doing.
  5. If you are passionate about working with kids through a camp experience, you CAN have a career in camp!