Benjamin Hausmann is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and just started working at Tokyo Electron as a Field Applications Engineer where he maintains quality and control for semiconductor wafer processing equipment. We cannot begin to explain what any of that means, but we can explain how he got there. Benjamin grew up going to Jacobs Camp and knew exactly where he wanted to be after graduating high school. “There really wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a counselor at camp. I grew up at Jacobs and knew I wanted to work for a community that gave so much to me.”
Looking back, Benjamin credits some of his professional success to the summers spent working at camp. Benjamin says communication, listening to others, and working one-on-one with colleagues were a few skills he developed as a counselor at HSJ. More than just working with others, camp helped Benjamin develop a way of thinking that has allowed him to succeed in his field. “At camp you have to be ready for any situation” Benjamin said, “similar to my job now. Camp helped prepare me for atypical situations, when the unexpected happens.”
While it may seem unusual for a young man to attribute some of his success in the STEM field to his previous work at a summer camp, a recent editorial in the Washington Post describes that Benjamin’s path is exactly what modern job providers look for. The article describes Google’s “Project Oxygen,” an internal analysis of the company’s employees to determine what characteristics lead to success at Google. The company expected to find that expertise in STEM would be found somewhere at the top. In reality, some of the top characteristics for success were: being a good coach, possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view), having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues, being a good critical thinker and problem solver, and being able to make connections across complex ideas. STEM expertise ranked eighth.
Above all, Google found that their most successful employees possess excellent communication skills. Most job recruiters seek out applicants that can communicate effectively with co-workers. A successful camp is also built on communication. Communication between campers, co-counselors, supervisors, and parents are all skills we work to develop in our counselors, not only to lay the foundation for a successful summer, but to lay the foundation for success in our counselors’ lives year-round.
Working at camp develops skills that contribute to success for any work environment. Those skills help build the base of the community that our campers and camp families appreciate so much.
Working at camp not only prepares our counselors for their future, it also encourages counselors to empower their camper’s future: Google discovered that one of the best qualities found in successful teams is emotional safety. Counselors provide this emotional safety to their campers on a daily basis. Whether it is helping a camper overcome their homesickness or building connections that turn into lifelong friendship, our staff is the safety net that allows campers to be themselves.
Where else but camp can you develop so many necessary skills for the workplace while being able to see your friends, make lasting memories, and have fun? Where else but camp can you prepare for your future and simultaneously build a strong foundation for a young person? Where else would you rather be this summer?