How Being a Camp Counselor Has Made Me a Better PR Professional
I started working as a camp counselor when I was 16. Working with kids is fun but challenging, and it’s not just planning games for the entire day. After four summers of working with preteens and six-year-olds, I’ve learned that many of the skills I developed can apply to the field of PR. Here are three ways being a camp counselor has helped me become a better PR professional.
I’ve learned crisis communications skills
People in the field of public relations must understand how to act as an early warning system for a crisis and how to handle a crisis when it happens. Many problems can arise while working with kids. I learned how to handle them swiftly and how to prevent them in the future. Crisis communication involves staying calm while trying to find the best solution to a problem. I often found myself in a room with 25 six and seven-year-olds, and I could always tell when campers needed a new activity to do or when they were getting too rowdy, and someone could get hurt soon. Sometimes I would act too late, and I had to step back and find a solution to get my campers settled. The strategies I learned to handle my campers can apply to PR because I learned how to think ahead and effectively evaluate a situation to make the best decision.
I learned that challenges are a way to improve
My first week as a senior counselor for first graders was tough. I didn’t know the best ways to keep them entertained, and I needed to have a variety of activities planned since six-year-olds get bored easily. By the end of the first week of camp, I was overwhelmed, but I quickly picked up on the activities my campers liked. I also discovered that planning ahead is important, but it’s also important to be flexible. Sometimes my day didn’t go as planned but rolling with the punches helped. Mistakes are inevitably going to happen, but the point of these mistakes is to learn from them. From my experiences as a camp counselor, I learned that challenges will come up at a job, but they help you learn and improve.
I became a better leader and communicator
After working at the same place for four years, people viewed me as a leader. New camp counselors were hired and didn’t know the job as well. I had to teach them the best strategies about how to plan activities or get the campers’ attention. Effective communication was a big factor in how smoothly my day at camp went. I learned to communicate what direction I was going with an activity because if I didn’t, my coworkers couldn’t effectively follow my lead. Communicating small things like which kid can’t sit next to who at the lunch table is important too. When you communicate well with coworkers, they learn to trust you, and better relationships will result. Public relations is all about building relationships, and I developed my skills in that area whether it was communicating with kids or adults.
This blog post was written by Angela Tessitore, Director of Diversity & Inclusion.