Dear Prospective Songa Staff,
Thank you for your interest in working for Songadeewin of Keewaydin this summer. In the fall the focus here in the winter office has been on getting campers, since before we can hire staff we need campers. This summer we will have 125+ girls each half of the summer, with a mix of four and eight week campers. We are we are still looking for some campers and at the same time our focus turns now to hiring our staff.
The number one priority of our program is to provide a safe, fun environment in which girls can grow and develop on a personal level through their involvement in all areas of the camp program. These include cabin time, activity periods, camper free time, trips, at meals, all camp activities and when “just hanging out.” Therefore, we are looking for staff that can be excellent role models for our campers.
With a camp of 125+ girls we are looking for about 40 general staff. These are women who will live in a cabin with eight girls and another staff or two or live in at tent with four of our oldest campers. Given these living conditions staff should be comfortable living with little privacy. In addition to cabin and tent responsibilities, each staff member will have responsibilities leading or assisting in several activities, as well as in our tripping program. Regarding the latter two responsibilities, know that versatility and a willingness to learn can be as important as expertise. For the tripping program staff need to be able to paddle or hike at a sustained pace over several hours while leading campers. This would be over several days, depending on the length of trips. Staff also need to be able to carry loads of 35+ pounds at a minimum to load trailers for trips and help with other activities around camp. Staff need to be able to take care of their own health and safety in a way that allows them to have their main focus be on the campers. For more details of necessary abilities for staff see the Essential Functions of the Job sheet.
There are two and a half weeks of staff training for all staff new to Songadeewin. The first week and a half is a one-time required attendance at Songadeewin’s Trip School, which also includes a Wilderness First Aid course taught by staff from SOLO. The second week is our regular staff training program where we discuss running activities, cabins and ways of working with the campers. These two and a half weeks will run from June 9 to the 26. The summer camp runs eight weeks from June 27 to August 21. Staff are free to leave camp during the late afternoon of August 21.
Songadeewin is now 23 years old! Over the years we have developed a strong set of traditions some of which we’ve created and some we’ve drawn from both Songadeewin on Lake Willoughby, which ran from 1921 to 1975, and Keewaydin Dunmore, our boy’ camp. This gives us the distinct advantage of both age and youth, to try new ways and things and to carry on the traditions and history of the camps that came before us. 2021 marks the 78th year of Keewaydin programs for girls.
Take your time to acquaint yourself with our online brochure and online video, so that you will understand our camp and philosophy. We want to make sure that our staff are a good fit and match with our program. Our website also has pictures from last summer and information about Keewaydin’s other programs at www.keewaydin.org.
The attached materials include several things for you to fill out and return so we can move to the next step in the hiring process. Please keep in mind the following:
- It is really important that you think carefully about to whom you give the three recommendation forms. It is best if there is a least one who has seen you working with kids. Another good reference is someone who’s worked with you on a team, either in sports or in a work situation. In addition, someone for whom you worked is another good choice.
- When you submit the names of the people you are asking to write you recommendations they will automatically receive the form in their inbox. You should be sure to ask them ahead of time so they have a heads up to look for it, especially in case it goes to their spam folder.
- While peers, friends and family members (or friend’s parents) may know you well and can be good character references, they are NOT the type of reference needed for this process.
- In addition to giving people the recommendation forms please be sure to fill in the references section on the application – we will call to confirm recommendations and past employment. At least two phone numbers per person is especially helpful.
- When filling out the address section please indicate the dates when you leave school and go home in the Spring so that any further mailings will reach you.
- If you are not a lifeguard yet and can take a course before the start of summer, it really helps us out and there is a significant bonus for being certified – $600. We are currently looking into providing this course June 7 – 10 at camp prior to Trip School. Please look at the sheet with details about the course and what you need to be able to do in the water.
For this hiring season we are looking for a range of staff who can teach in a variety of our program areas and for many who can be trip leaders – 21 and older. Each summer we need new staff to replace those who are not returning and to keep our staff strong and vibrant with new ideas and a commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of girls. As staff from past summers indicate if they will be returning, I will be able to figure out what skill areas we need to make sure the entire staff for 2021 is a well-balanced group. In the hiring process I will work to see how you, your skills and gifts might fit into that picture.
Once you have completed the application and I have it in hand and at least two of your reference forms, the next steps in the hiring process involves me checking your references, arranging for an interview –we can do it on the phone or via skype or Whatsapp, if necessary. If you are offered a job, we will run a criminal background check on you. This is a practice we complete for all new and returning employees at all our camps.
If you have questions call, or send an e-mail [email protected]. In the next few weeks let me know if you want to be a part of the important work we do each summer by sending in your application and other forms.
Ellen M. Flight
Essential Functions for being a Songa Staff 2021
To do the job of a counselor/staff at Songadeewin one must be able to:
- Be an excellent role model and enjoy working with children and youth
- Put the needs of campers above your own to ensure their safety, involvement and enjoyment in activities at camp
- Assist campers in emergency situations (fire, injury, unauthorized personnel on property, etc) and maintain visual supervision of campers while on duty
- Sustain focus on a single task or camper for at least 20 minutes.
- Work independently, and with other staff, to teach activities, take campers on trips, assist campers in the essential parts of group living (inspections, going to bed, rest hour, etc.)
- Hear campers and differentiate casual conversation from calls for assistance
- Maintain appropriate, professional boundaries with campers both during the season and after camp ends. This includes sharing and not sharing information and maintaining confidentiality as well.
- Communicate clearly and effectively with staff, supervisors, campers and parents in writing and verbally – this includes writing clear, detailed and thoughtful comments about campers
- Maintain energy and stamina to work for a varied-paced 14-hour plus work day
- Negotiate the terrain at camp including climbing stairs, uneven and/or slippery ground and steep hills
- Perform acts of physical exertion, for example: paddling a canoe or hiking a mountain trail for several hours, lifting and carrying a minimum of 35 pounds, cleaning various parts of camp as a team leader, moving canoes and equipment for trips, etc.
- Maintain professional boundaries with fellow employees and supervisors
- Maintain personal health and well being in order to do all of the above – this includes getting plenty of sleep, eating well and not abusing alcohol or drugs.
IMPORTANT Songadeewin DATES 2021
All dates are mandatory unless otherwise noted as optional. If you elect to work optional dates you will be paid according to your level of experience.
May 31 Pre-season work crew begins (optional)
June 6-9 ARC Life Guard Training and re-certification tentative dates, (optional) *
June 5-6 John Watson Work Weekend** (optional)
June 9-16 Trip School – mandatory for all new staff
June 17-19 Wilderness First Aid w/ SOLO (mandatory for new staff and returning staff who need re-certification)
June 19-26 Staff Training Week
June 27 Campers arrive
July 24-25 Midseason Weekend
August 21 Campers depart, staff may leave in PM
Aug 22-29 Post-season work crew (optional)
*Lifeguard Training Course
Want to become a Lifeguard? Can’t find a course at home? Don’t have time to take course with your busy college schedule? Good news: Keewaydin and Songadeewin are offering a Red Cross Lifeguard Certification Course! Being a lifeguard at Keewaydin or Songa helps make our waterfronts safer and earns you a $600 bonus. Certification will be good for two years.
Dates: Sunday -Wednesday, June 6 to 9, after dinner meeting on the 6th. 8:00 am to 5:30 pm the other three days. (For those involved with Trip School, these dates do not conflict.).
Where: The course will be taught at a local pool and at Lake Dunmore. Participants will stay at camp. Meals, snacks and transportation will be provided.
Cost: The cost of the course in 2019 was $325, we expect it to be similar in 2021. Keewaydin and Songadeewin will advance you the course fee. Later we will deduct the $325 from your Lifeguard bonus of $600. If you are unable to complete the course, for whatever reason, the $325 will come from your summer salary.
- Arrive for dinner (6:00 pm), on Sunday, June 6
- Keewaydin and Songadeewin will provide room and board on our campuses while you take the course. We will provide transportation to and from the local pool as needed.
- We need to know if you are plan on enrolling by April 15th. Minimum of 10 needed to run the class, maximum of 20.
- First come first, served for filling the class. Please be fully committed when you sign-up.
- When the course starts you need to be able to do the following:
- Swim 300 yards continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing using free and breast strokes only
- Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs, hands tucked under armpits.
- Complete a timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds:
- Starting in the water, swim 20 yards
- Surface dive, feet-first or head-first, to a depth of 7 to 10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object
- Surface and swim 20 yards on back with both hands holding object
- Exit the water without using a ladder or steps
If you would like to enroll or have any questions please contact:
For Songadeewin – Ellen Flight at [email protected]
*Lifeguard Re-certification Course
Is your Lifeguard certification expiring soon? Don’t let it lapse! Sign up for a one-day Lifeguard recertification course.
The recertification course will be taught on Wednesday, June 9th, starting at 8:30 am. It is a 6 hour course and you MUST be currently certified to take it. In other words, no lapsed certifications.
The cost of the course is $150 (2019 price). Keewaydin and Songadeewin will advance you the course fee. Later we will deduct the $150 from your Lifeguard bonus of $600. If you are unable to complete the course, for whatever reason, the $150 will come from your summer salary.
You’ll need to come in the night before, arriving Tuesday, June 4th and we’ll provide housing and meals and transportation to and from the local pool.
We need to know if you plan on enrolling by April 15th.
Minimum of 6 needed to run the class.
First come first, served for filling the class. Please be fully committed when you sign-up.
If you would like to enroll or have any questions please contact:
For Songadeewin – Ellen Flight at [email protected]