Kieto was a camp staff member
I applied to an internship at a solar company. At the interview, the owner of the company was looking over my resume and all the courses I had taken that were related to the company’s work, but he saw that I had been a camp counselor, he said to me “I love seeing that. Counselors learn to work with lots of different people, and they get experience that you don’t get elsewhere.”
How did you hear about Friends Camp?
Well, I was a camper for many years. Family friends of ours went to a Quaker meeting in Lawrence, Massachusetts and I was best friends with the son of that family. He went for a summer, so then I tried it, loved it, and kept going back as a camper until I couldn’t!
When did you know you wanted to be a counselor?
I think my last two or three years as a camper I definitely wanted to, and I remember counselors and campers were starting to recommend that I become a counselor. I was responsible for my peers even as a kid. I felt like Friends Camp when I was younger helped me define myself so that I could be myself, and then when I was older I could help other kids find themselves.
What was your favorite part about working at camp?
Wow, there were so many good parts. I think my favorite part in retrospect is my awareness of the many different ways people communicate, and the different ways people connect to the Quaker community. I think while I was working at camp what I appreciated most was the escapism. Friends Camp was a world we got to build all on our own. We got to create a world that centered companionship and community, and everyone appreciated the community that we built.
Did you have a favorite activity that you ran?
I really enjoyed leading the HAT trip because I got to connect with a smaller group of campers in a new way. I also took a group of older campers to Colby College and they had a bunch of questions and comments about what it’s like to go to college. And then, of course, one of my absolute favorite things was being in the garden with campers. I liked showing them what was edible, making salads, and harvesting things for the kitchen. They got excited for weeding! It’s cool to see kids learning new things that they can apply later in life, and working in a garden is definitely a good skill to have.
Do you have specific days at camp that you particularly remember?
I remember as a camper my cabin was sitting and waiting to take the swim test, and my cabin counselor Ted started singing a song about tarps, and for the rest of the week tarps were like our cabin’s thing. As a counselor, I remember having several deep, personal conversations with campers and it was cool to hear how much was on their minds, how curious they were about the world. We would talk about traveling, Quakerism, and there were a couple of German speakers who I would talk to. And then I also always think about laying down in Aviary during worship which I think had the biggest impact on my relationship with Quakerism. Hearing the messages shared by campers and counselors was really impactful.
What do you feel like you learned from working at Friends Camp and how does it apply to other areas of your life?
Ok here’s a fun fact: so, I worked at camp after my freshman year of college. During my sophomore year, I applied to an internship at a solar company. At the interview, the owner of the company was looking over my resume and all the courses I had taken that were related to the company’s work, but he saw that I had been a camp counselor, he said to me “I love seeing that. Counselors learn to work with lots of different people, and they get experience that you don’t get elsewhere.” So that was cool. I think the strongest lesson I learned was how to work with people who function differently than me. You have to learn to work with your cabin counselor, with whoever you’re running a program with, the other people on the HAT trip, during jobs. It doesn’t matter if someone is your good friend, or if you are less close — you learn to work with everyone. And I also feel like Friends Camp taught me about all the different types of love that you get at camp. You know, the type of love you get from a hug, or the love for the environment, or the type of loves that comes from paying attention because we don’t have our phones around, as well as the unique kind of love that you only get at Friends Camp.
Do you have anything to add?
I am pursuing a degree in engineering and business, and I’ve worked a lot of places doing a lot of different jobs, and yet my favorite summer, and the summer I think I learned the most from, even though it’s “not related” to my field, was my summer at camp.