Internship Programs: What they Aren’t

As more colleges and universities require real-life experiences, camps are getting on board by offering internship programs to college students and recent graduates.  Summer and year-round internship programs are incredible opportunities for campsites to gain personnel resources.  They also provide a chance for campsites to train the next generation in campsite work.

But internship programs aren’t easy, and they are not appropriate for every campsite.

Another post explains the basics of what internship programs are all about, but it is also important to spend some time explaining what they ARE NOT.

Internship programs are NOT:

  1. Free manual labor.  While it is completely appropriate to expect interns to help with a variety of tasks, including maintenance and housekeeping needs,   that should not be a main focus of their work.  Internship programs are about training young leaders, so the majority of their time should be spent learning new skills and ideas.  Not hauling wood or mowing lawn.
  2. Cheap staff.  As mentioned above, interns should be doing some work that would otherwise be done by staff.  But it is important to remember that interns do not have the same training and experience as traditional staff members.  And it is not acceptable to expect them to.
  3. Easy.  Internship programs require a huge amount of hours and energy.  They are not simple, and they are not for anyone looking for a quick fix to problems.  They are for people eager to invest even more into young people and the next generation.
  4. Easy college credit.  Many students are required to do internships for credit, and some look to campsites as an easy option for that.  Be aware of these people and their motivations.  If your internship program is for credit, be sure that it is an academic challenge.  Don’t let anyone use your campsite to skate by.

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