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Want to spend summer vacation with your children? Try working at a summer camp

By Andrea E. StromSpecial to The Christian Science Monitor / May 14, 1984



Every summer camp I've contacted over the past few summers has been eager to have mature and dependable individuals on its staff. About now, most newspapers have lists of the staff needs of various summer camps. And what nicer way for a single parent to share a summer with her children if she has full-time employment needs?

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After one long year of employment in the city, my daughter and I were ripe for a summer together. But it didn't look like a possibility, because of our need for me to work. We could not just pack up and go off to a cottage on the seashore for a vacation when working was a necessity.

Then I noticed an ad placed by a private camp for someone with my craft background to fill an opening on its staff. I applied in mid-June, and although this position had been filled, the owners were interested in my application and offered me a position as head counselor and head of their arts, crafts, and drama programs. I was also allowed to teach a few classes in another area of interest. I loved every aspect of the whole experience.

My salary for the summer included a very reduced fee for my daughter as a camper and a summer home for both of us. The work is demanding, yet there is free time. My daughter still sings some of the camp songs and talks of that summer with fond memories.

While we left behind an apartment and a job, this type of adventure could just as well be embarked upon by subletting one's home or apartment for the summer and, depending upon one's employment, perhaps taking a leave of absence.

Another summer I was offered a different position with another camp with similar arrangements for including my daughter as a camper. As a single parent, I could not otherwise afford to send my daughter off to camp, let alone enjoy it with her.

If you have children of different sexes, you might wish to look into co-ed camps or camps that have nearby brother and sister sites. While you might not be able to spend the summer with one or the other of the children, at least you would be close by for inter- and intra-camp activities. And you might even be able to switch camps yourself the following season.

I found that working for a summer camp is a perfect way to serve other children as well as my own and have a pleasant summer besides.