A Gen Zer's Perspective On Working At Camp
Gen Z’ers very recently entered the workforce, and they are prime candidates to be summer staff. However, what most of us have found is that they have no interest in becoming counselors.
I could make up my own theories, but instead, I went straight to the source: My 17-year-old daughter. Joey is the quintessential person to get a job at camp. She spent summers going to an overnight program, she loves the outdoors, and she’s extremely outgoing. So I asked her the questions we are all pondering.
1. Why don’t Gen Z'ers want to work at camp?
We want the chance to travel with our parents and be around friends. Committing to eight weeks doesn’t give me the flexibility to do this. Plus, camps don’t pay enough.
2. How could we entice teens to work at camp and how should we communicate this to them?
Maybe camps can offer shifts. For instance, I can work the first four weeks, but I don’t have to work the entire summer. If they offered community service hours that would definitely offset the lower salary and would be really helpful.
If you want to get this message out there then you need to talk to us on Instagram, Snapchat, and Instagram Stories. I’ve been looking for jobs for the summer and I do Google searches. No camp jobs have come up on my searches.
3. Why do you ghost everyone? Do you not read your email?
I get inundated with emails and don’t always read them in a timely manner. And sometimes, I just breeze through them. If the email doesn’t seem like it needs my immediate attention then I put it off and don’t respond. It’s not that I’m ignoring anyone, it’s just that I get busy. Sometimes, I read text messages and emails, but don’t think it requires a response. For instance, if my club at school tells me to wear my spirit shirt on Thursday, I know to wear it. I just don’t respond to the email. Maybe people should tell us in the message to respond with a thumbs up if we’ve seen it.
4. If you aren’t responding to emails, then how should we reach out to you?
Send texts. I see them right away and I get notifications. Also, I read regular mail when I get it. Look at all the stuff the colleges are mailing to me. I always look at it because it’s addressed to me, and I get excited.
5. Lastly, if you do work at a camp how can we keep you happy and encourage you to
come back next year?
Be mindful of my feelings. I like to be told when I’m doing a good job, and if I mess up don’t scream at me. Be kind and treat me like an adult. My generation tends to get stressed out, so be realistic about what we can do when you hire us. A good incentive would be to provide meals and snacks if it’s a day camp job, and bonus structures would be awesome. The more money I can make the more I will want to work there.
Some of Joey’s answers were surprising. She made several points that never crossed my mind, even as her mom. This generation is independent, resourceful, opinionated, and forcing us to challenge the status quo. I encourage you to think outside the box and look at ways that you can restructure your staff to attract this generation. As always, know your audience before launching any marketing efforts. Don’t jump to conclusions. Understand their behaviors, habits, dreams, and goals. Then, create strategies based on this research in order to maximize your results.