Am I too old to teach camp?

So I just had a phone interview to work at a residential camp this summer, as equestrian director. I’d be the lead of 7 riding instructors, with a majority of duties being lesson planning, staff supervision, and overseeing the program, horses and kids. This is vaguely in my field - informal education - and doing horsey stuff has been a hobby before, but never a paid job. I’m not worried about the curriculum, the kids are mostly beginners. I’ve also managed staff, and think I’m pretty good at it.

But, I’m 33, married, two dogs. The camp is about an hour from home, but I’d be required to live at camp. In a tent cabin. With 2 other staff members. Long days, hard work. 3 month commitment, with just a few days off sprinkled over the summer. No cell phone reception, no WiFi. Institutional cooking.

I have a few other commitments I’d have to shift around, notably taking leave from my choir… not to mention my marriage! My lovely husband is supportive, but says he’d miss me, which, of course, I would too.

I’m waiting to hear what the salary is, but I’ve been between jobs for a while, and it would be nice to contribute financially to the household again. I’ve worked this kind of job before – kids programs on a cruise ship, and running day camp at the zoo for the past few years. In fact, I swore last summer that I’d never teach camp again…

So, there’s my pros and cons list. Anything I’m missing? I got the feeling the interview went well. What do you think?

I don’t see 33 as all that old. :wink: I can’t see why the job would be any more demanding at 33 then when you were say 26.

Any chance your hubby can visit you on his days off?

It sounds like your back ground and experience is perfect for this job. Go for it. :smiley:

Get setup with Skype. So you can keep in touch with your SO. There should be WIFI somewhere close to the camp. You’ll be fine.

I imagine the staff at the camp will know where the closest cell phone and wifi access is. It may just be a few miles down the road. The nearest town would have it for sure.

I know we’re all random internet people, but I’m 30, and in a very different life place, but if this opportunity presented itself, I would jump all over it. It sounds like a summer of communing with nature and doing enjoyable things.

Take several books, and take some time to enjoy!

No way man! Sounds awesome!

An hour isn’t that far away. Since you’re not in a position that is directly in charge of campers 24 hours a day, I’m sure you’ll have time to visit with your lovely husband every so often.

No way are you too old! I worked at a 4H camp when I was 20. My supervisor was 88!
31? No problem with your age. If it will work for your hubby and you, Go for it!

I think it sounds fun.

No way are you too old!

Be prepared though: the salary is likely to be shockingly low. Admittedly my experience is from 35 years ago, but I suspect nothing has changed. Since you get room and board, your actual pay is likely to be pathetic.

If I am wrong, you can be pleasantly surprised.

Your age isn’t a factor (as a teacher in my late fifties, I went on 3 day residential trips with a bunch of 10 year-olds.)

However 3 months away is a long time - and you’re sharing a room with two other adults.
So you need to really enjoy organising, teaching and riding. Plus (as others have said) you want to arrange contact when possible with your husband and dogs.
But if you bear all that in mind, I’d go for it.

Sounds like a blast. If you factor everything and you want to do it, don’t let your age dissuade you.

Just before I started law school I had an offer to be riding director at the summer camp where I had attended as a child. I was 30 at the time and the Camp Director told me frankly that they greatly preferred a person in their 30s as good staff management AND good judgement with respect to the horses’ medical needs is required. its actually pretty hard to staff this position as most barns have their own summer programs.

I will note that I requested and was offered a private “cabin” (1 room + tiny bathroom) as part of my arrangement. You should ask if that’s a possibility for you at this camp. But for the fact I actually attended the camp I was thinking of working at, I wouldn’t have even known to ask about a private cabin (the initial offer was to share a platform tent with 3 adult staff just as you were offered).

I think it will be a great summer if you can swing the logistics.

I will note that though the pay is low you can generally take it all home since food, shelter, and social activities are generally included.

Thanks for the input, all. I suppose my hesitation is not that I’ll be physically unable to do the tasks - more mentally unwilling! I can be resentful if I feel exploited.

Also, I fear that I won’t have any direct peers, as I assume most of the other staff will be younger than I. I get on well with younger people generally, but it would be nice to have colleagues at the same life stage.

Yesterday, I was leaning toward a yes, today, more like a no. I suppose I don’t have to decide until they actually offer the job… :slight_smile:

I’d love to do that if I had the opportunity, but three months away from my husband would be so hard!

There’s a book called “Cabin Pressure” that I read upon its release a few years ago. It’s a very funny memoir by/about a man who, as he was about to get married for the first time at 34, decided to have one last summer at the camp where he attended and subsequently counseled. I highly recommend it.

Having grown up loving “Salute Your Shorts,” I have toyed with the idea myself.

Few things make you feel older than someone saying they grew up with something that didn’t start until after you were married (especially if you married somewhat late in life).

In my experience senior staff (Directors, etc) are usually older, and many work as teachers (which is why they have the summer free year after year).

Just heard back with the bottom line: $70/day, 60 days. I’d also get a bit of input into staff hiring, which is interesting.

Oh, I just can’t decide. I have to get back to them with a couple of references, but I’m strangely reticent to ask my contacts. I think I’m… embarrassed?

More pro and con lists are in my future.

Thats better than I would expected. Since your room/board is included.

At least as a supervisor you shouldn’t be the one doing 11pm tent checks on the kids. Keeping those kids in line is one task I’d happily delegate to my staff. :wink:

Since you’re looking for advice/opinions, moved to IMHO (from MPSIMS).

I don’t know what to think about you being embarrassed. That’s strange. If you’re not excited to do it, you’re going to have a pretty rotten summer, because its a ton of work. If you’re concerned about the ages of staff why don’t you just ask the camp? IMHO you’re acting weird about the whole thing. It’s a dream opportunity to me, but it sounds to me like you shouldn’t do it. Because you already have a fairly negative/avoidant attitude, or at least that’s what’s coming through in this thread.