Camp Counselor Of The Week: Shea Donovan

Okay, so I know we missed a week with this series, but did you read Charly’s interview 2 weeks ago? This week it’s time to hear from Shea, a long time camper and counselor. And if you’d like to get involved and answer some questions about your own summer camp experience, just get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!

Shea Camp counselor

1. Where did you go to camp? How many years?

I work at Camp Sloane YMCA. This will be my 8th year on staff and 13th year all together, including my time as a camper.

2. Why did you decide to work at summer camp?

I grew up going to Camp Sloane, so I always knew I wanted to be a counselor some day! I learned so much from my Counselors as a kid, and wanted to be able to continue that legacy when I grew up.

3. What is/was your role at camp?

My current role at camp is Section Director and Performing Arts Director, but over the years I’ve done a little bit of everything! I spent my first few counselor years teaching swimming and rowing.

Summer Camp counselor

4. Did camp meet your expectations? In what ways?

Working at camp has exceeded my expectations in so many ways. All of the fun, friendships and life changing experiences I had hoped for have happened ten fold. At the same time though, when I was a camper I thought all of my counselors knew absolutely everything, but in actuality as a staff member you are constantly learning and growing alongside your kids. I’m always amazed at how much I learn each summer I return to camp.

5. What 3 essential items would you never go to camp without?

Tough question! If I had to pick three I would say rain gear, sunscreen, and something to tie dye!!

6. What is your best/favourite camp memory?

There are too many to count! A recent favorite though was last year during a big thunderstorm- it was during the performing arts specialty camp, and the power had gone out in the building. I went downstairs to check on the lights leaving my staff and campers upstairs,  and when I came back all of campers were sitting in a circle singing ‘These Are a Few of my Favorite Things.’ The older campers had taken it upon themselves to do this so the younger campers wouldn’t be afraid. Moments like this are also so special to me- they really show what camp is all about!

7. What is/was your favourite camp food?

I’m a vegan, so I love the salad bar at camp! It’s always stocked with lots of tasty veggies!

8. What is/was your favourite camp cheer/chant?

Any of the Senior girls chants!! I spent many sessions in Seniors as both a camper and counselor.

9. What is your favourite camp saying/word/expression?

“What are our options?”

Summer Camp counselor

10. Where did you travel to after camp (if you travelled)?

I’m from the United States, so I’ve never done much traveling post camp, but I’ve had lots of camp friends come visit me in New Orleans on their travels!

11. How has camp influenced you/who you are/what you do?

Camp has been a huge part of shaping me into who I am. As a child it taught me to be my essential self unapologetically, and helped give me the courage I needed to go on to follow my dreams in college and beyond. My training as a camp counselor unlocked my passion for teaching, and now I am acting, directing, choreographing and teaching children’s theatre in Los Angeles during the year when I’m not working at camp.

12. What is the BEST thing about being a summer camp counsellor?

The best part of being a camp counselor is being able to leave everyone around you better than you found them. From teaching a kid to swim to helping them make a new friend, everything at camp is an opportunity to help a child learn and grow.

13. What’s the WORST thing?

While this is probably the most rewarding job in history, it can also be the most challenging. You’ll be exhausted, sunburnt, mosquito bitten, and still have to bring your A game 100% of the time.  There will definitely be days when you’re pushed to your limit, but it’s all worth it in the end!

14. What’s the most important thing that camp has taught you?

Be your essential self as often as you can, in everything you do. Surround yourself with people that help enrich your journey, and always keep an open mind.

Summer Camp counselor

15. Anything else you want to say to people thinking about working at summer camp?

It is genuinely the most rewarding job you will ever have. If you have even the slightest inkling that camp is for you, IT IS! DO IT! Now is the time!

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