Living the camp dream

Hi everyone! I’m studying business administration in TAMK. Currently I’m doing a part of my practical training in the United States in New Hampshire as the business manager for a Girl Scouts camp. I came to Camp Wabasso for the first time last year as a general counselor. I had the best time of my life and really wanted to come back but I also needed to do a practical training over the summer. So being the business manager for camp was the ideal deal for me.

Working at a camp is a lot of fun, and no two days are ever the same. Being the business manager my daily duties might be a bit more boring than the other counselors, as I work in the office for the mostpart and only rarely get to participate the camp activities. But I would not change a thing, I have loved being able to combine camp and my field of study.

My daily jobs include going to the post office to deliver outgoing mail and get mail for the campers and staff. Compared to Finland Americans are very big on sending care packages, some kids get more mail in a week than I do in a month at home. On daily basis I also print out emails from parents to the campers. My other duties vary between days. Some days I have the trading post open, where the kids can buy souvenirs and camp gear, I go to the bank to deposit or withdraw trading post money, I do supply runs and answer the parents’ phone calls in the office. Once a week I have a proper office only day, when I do weekly expense reports for everything we’ve used money for.

It is hard to compare the exact job I have to the way it would be in Finland, because I don’t think it really exists in back home. Summer camp culture is very unique to the States. Work culture itself is different in Finland in the USA. Finnish people are generally really hard working, and a lot is expected from every employee. In Finland, we have less people doing the same amount of jobs especially in the service industry. For me this has meant that I’ve taken more initiative and been more proactive than my employer would have expected of me in the beginning. I feel that hierarchy is more important in the States than in Finland. At camp, it is very clear who your supervisor is, and you should always only report any concerns or questions to your supervisor directly, and not anyone else. The upside of this is, that you get a lot of support from your supervisor, as it very clear for them to know who they are supposed to be supporting.

Because camp life is very different to normal life, I also get to do lots of fun things. I’m lifeguard certified, so sometimes I get to cover someone’s free time at the waterfront. We have lots of campfires and cookouts as well. Camp staff is one big community of forty women living and working together in a small area for the whole summer. While it gets hard sometimes, I have never regretted my decision to come back and am already trying to figure out a plan to come back next year.