Get your camp on: Summer recreation camp holistically develops current, future Bears

Baylor students serve as REC counselors every summer. Photo courtesy of Jack Isaacson

By Piper Rutherford | Staff Writer

Baylor’s summer REC camp serves Baylor faculty and staff by offering a day camp for children aged 6 to 12, all while providing a summer job for Baylor students.

Lubbock graduate student and REC director of operations Jack Isaacson said the main goal of the camp is to provide professors with an easy and convenient child care option during the summer that also benefits the campers. Baylor faculty and staff can register online, and session costs range from $140 to $160.

“We want to take this weight off of faculty and staff and provide a space for their kids to engage in play with their peers by building their confidence through activity,” Isaacson said. “We operate out of the SLC, and being in a big gym when it is hot outside in Texas lets kids engage in sport with friends so that they can develop physically and socially.”

As for Baylor students who are interested in getting involved, Chris Gomez, director of summer camps, said they are welcome to apply, whether they are staying in Waco and need a summer job or have a love for kids.

“We are very flexible with work schedules, so a camp counselor can either sign up to do any number of weeks during the eight-week camp, whether that be part or full time,” Gomez said. “For instance, if a counselor is taking summer classes, they can choose to work either 20 hours or 40 hours, where they will be paid $10 an hour for first-timers and $20 an hour for returners.”

Gomez said the typical work day goes from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Baylor students can expect to be engaging in sports, skits, songs or prayers for the campers.

“Some of the activities we do include swimming in the pool, teaching arts and crafts, using the climbing wall or playing sports like basketball and volleyball,” Gomez said. “We also go to the Marina once a week for activities like kayaking and canoeing.”

As for the benefits counselors can expect to get from the experience outside of the salary or the resume boost, Gomez said it teaches counselors about youth protection and how to supervise children.

“This is an opportunity for students to learn how to better work with kids,” Gomez said. “This can apply anywhere from education majors to those who want to be in [a] mentor position and act as a role model and big brother or sister to these kids.”

Similarly, Isaacson said the job is rewarding for counselors looking to develop themselves in all aspects of their lives.

“Being a counselor is a rewarding job where you are in charge of kids running around. And even if you are introverted, you will have to quickly learn how to be vocal. Or if you are naturally extroverted, this is your dream job to be high energy,” Isaacson said. “This helps counselors build soft skills that can bleed over into the classroom or their professional lives, which goes along with how campus recreation is all about experience and that we believe through experiential learning, both counselors and campers can come out of this camp for the betterment of themselves and their future.”