“I hope this camp is around when I have kids!”

“I hope this camp is around when I have kids!” wrote a teen. Summer Camp went so smoothly this summer, reported Recreation Programs Coordinator Adrienne Huisman. “We had new staff who brought in new energy, and we had returning staff who brought structure, stability, and routine.”

Summer Camp ended with a Tea Party at Westgate Recreation Center. Who had more fun—campers or parents? We couldn’t tell!

What do we say to a disappointed 15-year-old who is aging out of summer teen camp?
If they’re responsible kids who consistently support fellow campers and their counselors, we invite them to consider applying for our volunteer Jr. Internship program.

“Our Jr. Interns add a sparkle to camp with their youthful energy and desire to learn,” says Huisman. They provide a positive role model that is in between the age of campers and the counselors, so Jr. Interns are expected to meet the highest standards of behavior and character.

Jr. Internships are win-win. This unpaid position is often a teen’s first real job experience, and it counts towards the service hours now required by most schools for graduation. Interested teens are expected to complete their applications and will experience formal interviews. Once selected, Jr. Interns provide camp counselors with much needed supervisory backup and help with errands, such as picking up the camp shirt that was left behind or grabbing the lunch the camper forgot. Jr. Interns also receive coaching from their counselors and, by the end of the summer, will have planned and implemented a recreation module for campers. And it’s a logical progression:  the successful and experienced Jr. Intern is encouraged to apply and interview for a paid position as a Summer Camp Counselor.

Jr. Intern Hannah Tannone

Jr. Intern Hannah Tannone assisted Adrienne Huisman with paperwork and a variety of projects throughout the summer. She also planned and implemented a volleyball module for campers. She’s been attending summer camps operated by Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation since she was 7.

Jr. Interns Courtney Robinson and Andelina Noel

Courtney Robinson and Andelina Noel were Jr. Interns at West Boynton Recreation Center. “Every single day I come here there are favorite moments,” declared Andelina who hopes to one day become a pediatrician. Both really enjoyed interacting with the campers. She and Courtney found the staff training helpful that was provided before the summer got underway. “They told us how to help kids with ADHD and that training really worked. We had some kids like that and we used the techniques they taught us. It really worked—it was just amazing!”

Jr. Interns Amanda Teague and Amelia Newell

Amanda Teague and Amelia Newell, Jr. Interns at West Jupiter Recreation Center, assisted with camper supervision and ran errands for camp counselors. They also assisted with the planning of a talent show for parents. They designed the set, handled cue cards, and emceed the special show that starred campers and counselors. “This camp is not just a camp,” insists Amanda. “It’s family.”

Faris Matthews has been participating in programs at Westgate Recreation Center since he was in 3rd grade. This summer, as a Jr. Intern, he was able to step in and coach basketball when the need unexpectedly arose. “I just try to help the kids be more than what people see them as,” he explained. “I want them to have a place where they can be themselves and don’t have to worry about anything.” Not surprisingly, his team took Second Place.