University of Tampa Application Essay Sample on Camp Counseling and Community Service

Home > College Admission > College Admission Essays > College Application Essay on Camp Counseling and Community Service University of Tampa Application Essay

College Admission Essay on Camp Counseling and Community Service

Essay by Dana Leigh Waskover

The summer of 2004 represented a meaningful and eye opening experience for me. I spent the summer as a counselor at an overnight camp, Raquette Lake Girls Camp, where I had attended as a camper from 1998 through 2002.

This picturesque camp is located on beautiful Raquette Lake, one of the larger natural lakes in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Seeing the lake brought back fond memories of the endless hours of fun and play I had as a camper. I remembered my first year as a camper and the challenge of passing the very essential deep-water test. Participation in all activities on the lake depended on whether or not I passed the test, which I did successfully.

The summers at Raquette Lake were a time of relaxation and play, of carefree days and nights in a setting of camaraderie and much happiness.

So it was with great joy and excitement that I returned to Raquette Lake as a junior counselor in June 2004. This was my first real job and I was thrilled to be back at camp. Enthusiasm for the camp experience heightened when I arrived several days before the campers. I learned that I would be assigned to live in a bunk for fourteen nine-year-old girls and that I would be spending my days as a swim instructor and lifeguard at the lake waterfront. I looked forward to this experience.

When the campers arrived, I realized that I would have a substantially different experience than I had expected. After one day I came to the sobering realization that I was not a camper any longer. I was hired help. I was expected to work from early morning through bedtime. I was responsible for the total well-being of my campers. This included waking them in the morning, getting them washed and ready for activities, helping them follow a healthy diet, overcome their homesickness, and smooth out their relationships with friends. I was friend, mother, and disciplinarian to fourteen children.

The lake, which had represented challenges and joy to me, became my workplace. I was stationed on the dock from after breakfast until dinnertime. My only break was for lunch, when I joined my campers and served them their food.

As a camper, if it were too cold or rainy, I would skip the lake activities and relax with my friends, all snuggled up in our bunk. As a counselor I could not do that. The summer of 2004 was one of the coldest and rainiest in camp history and I did not have the option to say that I did not want to stand on the dock because I was cold or wet. I endured the weather because I had made a commitment to the camp to work for the entire season.

The change in my status, from camper to counselor, being responsible for waterfront safety and the happiness of my campers, was both a sobering and maturing experience. I had to grow up. I had to take my responsibility seri- ously. All this responsibility, the hard days and long nights, did provide some satisfying relation- ships with my campers and other counselors, but the salary was not gratifying. I earned $750.00 for the entire summer's work.

In retrospect, the summer of 2004 was an awakening for me. I know that I have the perseverance to complete a task that I agree to do, no matter how arduous or uncomfortable it may be. I believe this strength will serve me well during my college years, as I work hard at my studies, face many challenges, and begin to identify a career that will bring me emotional, intellectual, and financial rewards. Somehow, I feel that Raquette Lake helped me evolve from child to adult. Just in time for college.

Dana Leigh Waskover attends the University of Tampa.

Essay Review

to camp, this time as a counselor

Author Dana Waskover's essay starts like one thousand other summercamp essays. But her ordinary beginning sets the stage for an unexpected twist. When she goes back to camp as a counselor, she finds out that life is a lot less fun and a lot more work than she remembered. Instead of exhilaration, she finds disillusionment—and a much more interesting essay topic than if she had had a wonderful time. The essay sparkles in part because Dana lets the story unfold without too much foreshadowing, which allows the reader to experience the letdown with her.

More Information