Ten of our Senior Leaders learned the rewards of giving back this summer, serving as role models, mentors, and coaches in our summer camps. For some of our teens it was their first job, and for others it was a chance to feel fulfilled while earning a paycheck.
“The most fun part of my summer was getting to build relationships with children and actually teach them something,” said Cydney (age 18), who spent her last summer at Starfinder before heading to college at Penn State.
Doing their job meant waking up early, getting themselves to the camp site, planning activities for the day, setting up equipment, and being responsible for 10-15 campers each.
“A big part of what the coaches get is just the experience of being an employee. Suddenly you have to show up on time because people are counting on you, you have responsibilities that no one else can take for you, and not doing your job is not acceptable,” said Program Director Katharine Cunningham. “Being held accountable is a really, really important experience for a young person. It’s the first time they think, ‘I’m in charge and if it fails then I’m the one accountable.’”
Coaches paired up to make the most of each session through teamwork. Makihra (age 17) learned the value of co-operation, as “some of my weaknesses were my co-coach’s strengths.”
Our site partners took notice: after camp ended, the president of Germantown Soccer Club offered five of our coaches part-time jobs in his fall programs.
Coaching in Starfinder’s summer camps is a crucial part of the leadership opportunities the Senior Leader Program offers participants. Coaches improve their communication skills, gain valuable work experience, and increase their self-confidence.
“This camp has given me a louder voice,” said Ahmed (age 17).
While Starfinder’s Senior Leaders gained work experience, they also provided a valuable summer activity for kids, according to Katharine. “This is an opportunity for the kids during summer when they don’t have access to a lot of structured activity,” she said. “It’s a safe place to play and exercise for kids who might not otherwise have that.”
Katharine added that our coaches provide critical leadership role models for campers.