Dudley & Kiniya as a Resume Builder
We often don’t associate life at camp with our academic or career goals, but life at Dudley & Kiniya can often set us on a course for finding the thing (or multiple things!) that we want to dedicate our scholastic and professional lives to. Perhaps that’s why so many of our alumni have found long and fulfilling careers in education!
Beyond that, camp also exposes us to areas of life we may not have otherwise considered. That’s one reason that I think so many alumni have gone on to work in the arts. If you ask, many of them will tell you that Dudley or Kiniya is the first place they were introduced to the stage and live performance and it lit a fire.
One thing that we often have a hard time doing, however, is explaining how an experience at Dudley or Kiniya might set us up for success in a certain industry or at a certain college. Particularly when it comes to time to put this experience in a college application or on a resume.
So here are some tips on how to explain a Dudley and Kiniya experience to a college admissions officer or prospective employer.
EXPLAINING THE CAMPER EXPERIENCE
WHAT IS CAMP?
Unfortunately, lots of folks don’t get a chance to go to summer camp (and only the very luckiest get to go to Dudley & Kiniya!). So it can sometimes be hard to find a frame of reference. Here are some important details to include in your description:
- It’s sleep-away camp for boys/girls on Lake Champlain
- The ages you were when you were at camp
- Our motto, “the other fellow first.”
Example: From ages 10 – 14 I went to Camp Dudley, a summer camp for boys located in Westport, NY on Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. Each of those summers I lived in a cabin with 9 other boys and spent our summer learning and living the camp motto, “the other fellow first.”
Example: I went to Camp Kiniya in Colchester, VT on Lake Champlain for 4 glorious summers. I got to have so many different experiences there from athletic competition to hiking to water skiing to performing on stage. I learned so much from those experiences, but what mattered most were the girls I lived with in a cabin who taught me the meaning of the camp motto, “the other fellow first.”
WHAT DOES CAMP MEAN TO YOU?
The most impactful part of the Dudley & Kiniya experience is your story! It’s the challenges you’ve overcome. It’s the friends you made. It’s the mentors you found. When you’re explaining camp it’s helpful to give a sense of the most important things for you and the parts of your experience that you carry with you most.
- Who was someone who taught you a valuable lesson?
- Was there someone you met who you became friends with you may not have normally connected with outside of camp?
- Did you overcome homesickness?
- What was it like when you first arrived on campus?
- Did you have a tough hike that taught you the value of perseverance?
Example: I couldn’t wait to arrive on campus for my first summer as a 10-year old. My older brother had told me so much about it and I was ready for the summer of my life. Then something funny happened. I started missing home! I didn’t think I’d feel that way, but my Cabin Leader helped me understand how normal and positive it is to feel some homesickness. Then something happened again. I still missed home, but I was having tons of fun and I remember feeling so proud that I was able to navigate those feelings and continue to have a great time at camp.
EXPLAINING THE LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE
The most relevant work experience many of our alumni have during high school and college is their participation in our leadership development program as an Aide, Junior Leader, Assistant Leader, or Division Head.
These early experiences can be critical to forming our management and leadership styles and help us navigate the early world of work. Again though, prospective employers might not get the connection of working at summer camp, but all of us who have had the experience know that it’s relevant to almost anything we do and perhaps even more intense and meaningful given the “experiential” nature of working in a cabin.
I highly suggest you take a look at this great American Camp Association resource called Camp Belongs on Your Resume: Highlighting the Professional Development Value of Working at Camp. It highlights the ways you can explain broadly your work experience at Dudley & Kiniya to potential employers.
However, there are some unique things that are specific to the Dudley & Kiniya experience that you should include in your college applications, resumes, or cover letter.
Our Aides program is unique in that you are in a cabin working with younger campers and part of a leadership team. This presents terrific potential for impactful experiential learning. Here are some things to focus on.
- Worked as part of a cabin leadership team to support the experience of 7-9 campers (mention the age you worked with).
- Supported the management of outdoors experiences on overnight camping trips and day hikes.
- Learned coaching and facilitation skills
- Managed the daily organization and cleaning of a camper cabin
- Mentored younger campers to help them get the most out of their camp experience
JUNIOR LEADERS & ASSISTANT LEADERS
These critical years in our program truly allow for a much greater independence in working with campers and allows you to begin to find your leadership style and gain some more hard skills.
- Part of the senior leadership of a cabin group
- Assistant Coach for a team of 10-12 campers with particular focus on building team spirit and cohesion.
- Led overnight camping and hiking experiences in backcountry environments where you were responsible for the safety and overall positive experience of campers
- Responsible for the individual experiences of each camper in a cabin and met regularly with each camper to mentor them, help them manage their experience, and make sure that they were having a good time.
Probably the most impactful experience that any of us can have at camp is running our own cabin. This is also the role that most easily translates to professional work beyond campus. These are the part of the Dudley & Kiniya Leader experience that we think you should focus on:
- Led a cabin of 7-9 campers and 2-3 young leaders, which means you were responsible for their camper experience, leadership development, safety, and overall engagement in the camp program.
- Coached a team of 10-12 campers across multiple sports and varying skill levels.
- Led outdoors experiences and independently executed trip plan and safety for a trip group of 8-10 campers.
- Worked closely with peers to organize large events
- Assessed camper and leadership growth with in-person feedback sessions and weekly comments.
- Wrote Camper Reports to articulate the camper experience to parents.
We hope these suggestions help you tell the story of your Dudley & Kiniya experience and how it affected you, allowed you to grow, and prepared you to take on greater challenges beyond!