College Settlement is a very unique camp. This Private, non-profit organization is 135 years old, their camp is 98 years old! College Settlement serves 1000 children per summer, 80% of which are living below the poverty line. Campers range in age from 7-17, with their 15 t0 17 year old campers all in paid CIT roles. College settlement successfully runs three programs simultaneously – an overnight camp (5 and 12 day programs), a day camp (4 week programs) and a Teen Adventure (both on site and mountain outpost). Activities at College Settlement are varied and include: Arts and crafts, mountain biking, swimming, boating, fishing, sports, high and low ropes, environmental education – they have both animal and organic veggie farms, and crazy special days. Karyn Bonner, the Camp Director, is the glue that holds camp together – she has been involved at camp for 25 plus years. Her Scottish accent remains very much in place and IENA are delighted to work with Karyn and College Settlement. Below are some questions I asked Karyn.
What makes international staff important to your camp?
Two of our organizational guiding outcomes are as follows:
- “We embrace the uniqueness and worth of every individual and view our collective diversity as a strength.”
2. “ We believe that exposure to other perspectives, communities and cultures, both from around the greater Philadelphia area and across the globe, promotes an broader world view and a community of respect and tolerance.
These are written into College Settlement’s guiding principles – and the international staff bring that diversity to our programs. Negative or misunderstood stereotypes are diminished as our staff and campers learn to work and play together. We also serve a segment of the population whose opportunities to travel to other countries are limited, therefore we bring the world to them!
Are there any specific skills you generally hire international staff for?
College Settlement usually hires about 100 summer staff (75 program staff) and is always looking for staff with a Social work background, a History of charity work, Ropes skills, lifeguarding or mountain bike experience. Specifically for Outpost they look for individuals with back country experience – boy scouts/girl scouts guides/hiking/camping/outdoor living skills, etc.