Five Invaluable Life Skills You Learn as a Falling Creek Camp Counselor

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Sam is looking forward to his first summer on staff at Falling Creek in 2022, where he will be teaching cross country and swimming.

The author, Sam Feingold, is a former Falling Creek camper and the son of one of our camp doctors. He has spent a portion of the past ten summers at camp, and looks forward to returning again this summer as a first-time counselor.

Sam grew up in Charleston, SC, and now studies at Centre College where he is also on the XC/Track and Swim teams. His blog below shares his perspective on why the decision to work at camp was the best choice for him to further his personal and professional growth.

Five Invaluable Life Skills You Learn as a Falling Creek Camp Counselor

by Sam Feingold

When thinking about what job I could take during my first summer between college semesters, I knew I wanted to work at Falling Creek. Growing up, I enjoyed every minute of my 10+ years at camp and my experiences helped me grow tremendously as a person. I remember being so excited to get to spend my days outside, meeting new people and making new friends, all while doing activities I love.

However, as the time came to start the staff application process, I started to have doubts. Professors began offering me research positions and I saw impressive internships that could give me a look into future professions. Was a summer camp really the best option? Was this something I would regret? Would future employers see “summer camp counselor” on my resume and wonder why I hadn’t done something more “professional”?

The more I thought about these questions though, the less doubt I had. I knew that camp was the place I could grow the most as a person, and have fun doing it. Similarly, I knew I could learn personal and professional skills at Falling Creek that would cross disciplines and help me throughout life. I began making a list of the most important things I know I can get out of my time at Falling Creek, and how they could help me throughout any future endeavor. This brought me to the five key skills that working at Falling Creek will teach me: responsibility, attention to detail, selflessness, leadership, and tenacity.

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Sam as a camper in 2012 (bottom row, 2nd from right). One of his counselors was Mike Nuckles (top right), who is now Program Director!
  • 1)Responsibility

At camp, I knew I would be taking care of the eight boys in my cabin, ensuring they keep good hygiene, eat well, have fun, and are safe. These are things many college students have trouble doing themselves, so I knew that making sure eight boys kept a good level of wellness would be no easy feat. I will have to keep track of even the little things, like ensuring their beds are made every morning, which would push me to focus more than just my own wellbeing. This level of responsibility and care for others is something that is learned rather than taught, and is extremely valuable in every field.

  • 2)Attention to Detail

In all activities at Falling Creek, safety always comes first. This requires an extraordinary amount of careful planning and diligent execution. For example, while rock climbing, it is extremely important that every child is wearing their harness properly and that every knot is tied correctly. If counselors are not attentive, small mistakes can have big consequences. Meticulousness is always made better through practice, training, and sticking to systems, all of which is done at Falling Creek. I know that the attention to detail I will practice will be useful in a variety of disciplines.

  • 3)Selflessness

When helping run activities, it is always important to think about what campers would enjoy most, even if it may require a little extra effort. The best counselors avoid complacency and strive to create fun programming, even if more preparation is needed. This selflessness, though unquantifiable, is shown through results, and can be key in all aspects of life. Employers value selfless team-players, who strive to go above and beyond the minimum effort expected.

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Sam and his family in 2021, during the week his father was Camp Doctor. Sam is on the top right, and his brother Tom (top left) is also a Falling Creek Counselor!
  • 4)Leadership

Going the extra mile frequently allows for individual growth and development. At camp, many opportunities for leadership arise every day. From helping to put on skits in Morning Assembly, to planning daily lessons, to leading trips, to guiding Evening Embers discussions, counselors alongside their campers gain confidence and self-assuredness and learn how to step up and rise to the occasion.

  • 5)Grit and Tenacity

While working at camp, difficulties always arise. Campers might get homesick, activities may not go as planned, and the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Nevertheless, counselors have to lead with a positive attitude and come up with creative new ideas to solve problems. Throughout the summer, counselors gain the skill of patience for a lifetime and learn how to power through seemingly impenetrable barriers. Similar barriers and changes in plans will arise in everyday life, but after camp, counselors are equipped with the grit, tenacity, and real-life skills to tackle problems head-on with perseverance and resolution.

Other jobs or internships I could have taken this summer might look good on paper, but wouldn’t give me the same level of responsibility or real leadership experience that will actually prepare me for future employment. I’m looking forward to building my professional skills this summer as a staff member at Falling Creek!

Know an outstanding young person who would is looking for a meaningful way to spend their summer? Forward this blog post to them, and encourage them to apply here at!