Meaningful Summer Jobs

Finding a Meaning-full Summer Job

Meaningful Summer Jobs for Today’s Young Adults 

By Rev. David Berkey, Executive Director

As you drive around the state you likely see “Help Wanted” signs everywhere you go. I would venture to say that just about anyone who wants a job these days could find one. Yet many do not offer a living wage, ideal working conditions, or meaningful things to do.

Enter the summer camp season 2022! Camps offer amazing opportunities for meaningful work outdoors and in community with peers. Yet, for some reason Michigan Area United Methodist Camping and many other camp organizations still struggle to find staff – and summer is coming soon!

Gen Z, those who are teens through age 25 and the typical age-group for summer camp staff, face life challenges unseen by previous generations. They missed many opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have had to do school and college at home online. They report bouts of depression, anxiety or hopelessness. They have to make courageous, difficult decisions about how to spend their summers, build a resume, and maintain and build relationships among their family and friends.

Good news! Working at summer camp is greatly suited to the needs of young people today and may help them recapture some of the social and work experiences lost during the pandemic. Anna Norberg wrote in the Washington Post, “Biologically adolescents are not designed to hunker down at home.” Psychologist Lisa Damour says, “Part of what helps young people grow is to be exposed to a wide range of experiences. Going places, interacting with other people, trying things outside their comfort zone – that’s where we see the growth.”

Working this summer in a Christian summer camp, specifically Michigan Area United Methodist Camping at Wesley Woods or Lake Michigan Camp and Retreat, fits the bill on all accounts. The pay is competitive (interns will make $600 per week and most jobs exceed minimum wage), and the benefits last a lifetime! Here are some:

5 Benefits of Working at Camp

  1. Summer camp staff develop “21st Century Skills” needed for career success and what employers are looking for – things like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and contribution.
  2. Summer camp staff grow as leaders — engaging in decision-making, behavior management, and providing a role model and example to others about what it means to be a faithful person today.
  3.  Summer camp staff work with peers in a tight-knit community, developing new friendships and a sense of accomplishing things together.
  4. Summer camp staff make a difference in the lives of children and youth to help change the world, fulfilling their calling to serve.
  5. Summer camp staff grow personally, challenged at times, relying on inner strength to develop resiliency, self-esteem and a stronger faith in a God who loves and sustains them.

If you are a young person or know one, please, please consider the opportunity to serve on summer camp staff this year. God needs you; we need you, and you need this, too!

Oh, and summer camp staff have lots and lots of fun!


Job Opportunities at Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat Center

  • Head Cook, Kitchen Assistants
  • Maintenance Assistant (PT, Year-round and seasonal)
  • Ministry Internships
  • Seasonal Staff, including maintenance, lifeguards, hospitality and kitchen assistants


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