Embry-Riddle offers a large variety of summer camps during the months of June and July. Overnight, day, athletic, you name it, we got it. These camps are designed for high school students who are just beginning to explore their college options or making a final decision. I had the pleasure of working with about a dozen other ERAU students and our wonderful Summer Program’s Department in making sure the summer of 2013 was the most enjoyable for all attendees. Being a Summer Program Coordinator is an ideal job for students who are taking summer courses, flying, or just want a steady pace job during the summer months. Before our first group of campers even got to campus, we had spent months preparing. This meant tons of paperwork, organization of supplies, coordination with our professors, moving into the dorms where the campers would be staying, and of course, becoming CPR and First Aid Certified.
The first couple weeks were hectic but my team of coordinators and the campers made it all a little bit easier. I was shocked at how eager and bright the high school students were. I mean, when I was 15, I definitely would not have been able to tell you every detail of a UAV. I learned very quickly that this was not the type of summer camp where parents drop off their kids like a day care. These students wanted to be here and they were ready to learn as much as they could in the week. I think that living in the dorms with the counselors made the campers comfortable and made their experience more enjoyable. However, when living in the dorms, as incoming students will learn their first year, stuff gets mixed up easily. Like, say if your name is Adam White and you work an entire shift as Jeffrey Boudoin.
This kind of thing happened often but there’s nothing wrong with a good long laugh. We honestly might have been having more fun than the campers at times. Our team was made up of pilots, CFI, GSIS majors, engineers, and me (the lone physicist) which made for a creative environment. The different mind processes brought innovative ideas to the table every week during our meetings. This diversity also helped with our wide range of camps that we offer which can be found here, http://summercamps.erau.edu/camps/index.html.
For many, an Embry-Riddle Summer Program was a camper’s first experience away from home. That being said, it was part of our job to make it as much fun as possible outside of the classroom lectures. This included trips to Sedona, Ghost Tours in downtown Prescott, dinners, movies, camper vs. counselor kickball games under the lights, hikes though the Dells, and anything else we thought they would enjoy. Activities varied from camp to camp because of the different types of students.
The end of the summer came much too quickly as most summers do. I was sad to see it was over but I also felt a sense of happiness. I had just spent the prior months encouraging younger students to become inspired, to follow their dreams, and to keep exploring things that they don’t understand. I had created a entirely new group of friends on campus through working with Summer Programs and the campers even stayed in touch with me via Facebook, Instagram, and yes even Snapchat. I received many messages like this one,
and the coolest part of it all? Now that I am a senior, I see so many underclassmen on campus that attended the camps and they look happy here at Embry-Riddle, which means I did my job.