By Rachel Shapiro
Being a staff member at a camp like Sci-Tech is an experience like none-other. Not only do you have the opportunity to make amazing friends and have a huge influence on the life of a young aspiring Jewish scientist, but you also get to learn uninhibitedly, create in new and impactful ways, and build real world skills that boost your resume and set you up for success.
At Sci-Tech, campers get to learn and play in a variety of fashions and formats. They participate in one workshop per session and up to four different chuggim, or electives, taught by our college-aged specialists/counselors. Campers get to pick two chuggim for the first week of the session, and two new chuggim for the second week. As you can imagine, sorting these preferences for 200 campers by hand can by quite challenging and time consuming. Add in the complication of not having a camper repeat a chug twice and trying to give as many campers their first choice as possible while not giving anyone their third or fourth choice, and you can spend a whole lot of time on this one mountainous task. We decided that there had to be a better way than sorting by hand.
Because we were at Sci-Tech, and we’re surrounded by some of the most intelligent humans I know, we knew that someone on camp had to have the answer! Using our critical thinking, design, and problem solving skills, our programming and coding instructors developed a program using google sheets and swift (the language that Apple apps are often written in) that auto-sorted campers into their chuggim. This required a lot of patience, trial and error, and re-coding, but finally they were ready to test it. At the beginning of second session, we officially used the program and the results were better than we could have asked for – more campers got their first and second choice than sorting by hand, we reduced the time needed for chug sorting from 4 hours to 1 hour, and our programming and coding instructors created a real product that they could talk about for years to come.
While this is a tangible product that these two staff members could only have created at Sci-Tech (thanks camp!), they also utilized a variety of skills that a study recently published on Google employees cited as critical for success in STEM fields over STEM expertise, including communicating and listening well, possessing insights into others, and being a good critical thinker and problem solver. These are real skill sets that we get to practice at camp and put on our resumes for future employers to notice. As a staff that contains many future scientists and tech employees, we are also building irreplaceably deep connections and building a network that can help us to discover who we want to be, what kind of job we want, and where we want to make an impact. Working at summer camp, especially one like Sci-Tech, isn’t just fun – it sets you up for success in the future.
Interested in building your resume by working at camp this summer? Apply here!