When I was first offered the marketing internship at the J, I was ecstatic. A summer job in my field of study? Yes, please. However, I did have one small concern: what were the people like?
I attend a religious college where there, ironically, isn’t a very accepting and loving sense of community. I was worried that this would also be true at the J but, within the first week, I was gladly proven wrong.
Every day since the first, I have been welcomed to the J with open arms. The staff makes me feel as if I’ve been going here for years. Though this a position they’ve never had before, the camp directors treat me with excitement and trust.
The camp directors are the engine of J Camps, extremely enthusiastic and meticulous about everything they do. I can ask them at any moment about a certain camp and they’ll tell me where the camp is, where they just were and where they’re going next. They have tabs on all the kids, even when it’s a busy week with hundreds of campers. The directors clearly have a passion for what they do that goes beyond just a normal job.
I’m also consistently impressed with the camp counselors. The counselors are always in tune with their campers’ needs. They can be stern. They can be sympathetic. They can be fun. The counselors are constantly adapting to fit each camper differently. My favorite are the Kinder Camp counselors. Even though most of them are around my age, they know exactly how to handle their legions of kindergartners, whether they’re rowdy, sleepy or grumpy. They keep their cool and return with a smile every single day.
All of the staff treat the kids as one of their own. I love watching how the counselors have fun with the campers and encourage them when they try something new. They always celebrate the campers’ achievements whether it’s passing the swim test or just cleaning up their toys.
I’ve also seen how the directors care for the campers when they come crying into their office. No matter the situation, they treat the campers with sympathy and fairness.
Every week there is a new, unique camp that marches through the J. From baseball to theater, it’s incredible how the staff can perfectly coordinate the different needs of so many camps. They truly do work hard to ensure any kid can find a camp that’s a perfect fit for them.
They also work even harder to ensure every kid is safe in their camp. Whether it’s in the gym or the classroom, safety is taken very seriously at the J. There are always counselors in the pool, monitoring the kids. There are many, many water breaks, inside or out. Even in the halls, the kids are told not to run to avoid any unfortunate accidents that can ruin the rest of their camp week.
My experience at the J has been incredibly positive. The staff encourages and supports each member of their community, from campers to employees. The community is inviting, fun, and most of all, safe. Not just “safe” in terms of security but, at the J, it is safe to be yourself.
To learn more about summer J Camps, visit us at erjcchouston.org/camps.