Working at Summer Camp: The Three Phases

Hello again, Raj here. I’m back with more stories to tell from my adventures in the west. Previously I put forth points on why you should take the leap to try working at summer camp in the first place and now I shall outline what I would classify as the 3 main phases I experienced during my time there.

Before I go on, I would like to disclose that this is what I personally experienced and what you may experience might be completely different depending on where you end up.

As a line chef, I would separate my summer at camp into three different phases based on difficulty, amount of work and fun.

The ‘Training’ Days

I’d like to call the first part, The training days. This is an ideal name because that’s literally what we did as a team in the kitchen.

Our average day during this time would be to prepare 3 meals per day for ourselves and the staff that had arrived early.

As the days progressed, we got used to the kitchen, how to prepare certain foods, how to serve hungry camp staff and washing up after ourselves.

The workload for each day also increases as more staff arrive so more food has to be made. But little did we know that this was only the start of working at summer camp.

banquet hall working at summer camp

‘The Work Gets Real’ Days

The second phase is named the The Work Gets Real days.

This is the onset period where all the training gets put to the test as nearly 400 hungry bodies line up each day for 3 meals.

We had to be top on things during the meals to serve all the children’s needs. To make sure food is readily available/replenish if needed. Then we made food to meet the different dietary restrictions.

During a meal, we even had to start getting the next one ready. When working at summer camp, there’s always something to do.

To make things even more difficult there were only 8 of us. But now we all have different shifts. So for certain meals, there would only be 3 of us to man the stations and feed the pack. All in all it was a hectic couple of weeks with the massive surge of mouths to feed. But, it got better, it’s not all doom and gloom.

preparing meals working at summer camp

The ‘Easy’ Days

The last part of working in a summer camp, I’d like to name, The Easy days.

This is a fitting name because after a couple of days you become accustomed to the increased workload and the work becomes more routine and well planned.

Apart from a few special meals, the food we made became so regular that it was a matter of when to prepare them. Actually making them required a lot less thinking.

We also got some backup with the hiring of a new assistant head chef which helped us a lot. Things in the kitchen are more fun and less serious since there is no tension or any rush to get things done since you can always plan ahead.

field working at summer camp

That’s what it’s like, working at summer camp

So there we have it, the three main phases that occurred over summer whilst working.

I would personally admit that to begin with, I was the weakest link in the team.

For that I got what I would say, the less favourable tasks by the chef. I have been constantly scrutinised and predicted to be the first to fall but I was beat to the punch by another.

I take all of it on the chin as I know it was deserved. By the end of the summer, I came out of it far from the weakest member.


Still not convinced? Here are 4 Reasons to Work at a Summer Camp.

Feeling the summer vibe? Check out Central Park where I visited after my time working at Summer Camp.

– Rajeevan Vijayakumar

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