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Girl Scouts USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez
Anna Maria Chávez
31 Ratings
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    It's all about the girls!

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    Former Employee - Camp Counselor (Unit Staff)  in  Salt Lake City, UT
    Former Employee - Camp Counselor (Unit Staff) in Salt Lake City, UT

    I worked at Girl Scouts USA as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    Good youth support and interaction programs! I love the atmosphere that we provide. Our goal was to be there for the girls and help them develop themselves, it was almost altruistic in nature, at least as a camp counselor-it has to be! Definitely challenging and I encountered a lot of personal growth along with that of the girls. The summer camp staff is always subject to change but both years I worked up at the camp I absolutely loved the camp staff! Weekends off were nice and the camp I worked at wasn't too far from my house. You're in the middle of nowhere, and so can't spend any of the money you earn. (Forced savings, yay!) Also, you get to spend a lot of time outside. That might not seem like a plus to some people, but you're in beautiful surroundings that you get the chance to appreciate every day. You get to temporarily run away from the real world every week. If everyone had a chance to do this, the world would be a better place. For real.

    [See the *** portion of the Cons for more Pros.]

    Cons

    It really is hard work, with little benefits. You don't get paid much, but welcome to nonprofits. The focus is on the girls and not the employees, which can create resentment when the employees are run-down, sick, tired, and about ready to snap the next time someone asks "What are we having for dinner?" (The unit staff don't know this, that is up to the kitchen staff and kitchen staff alone. The girls, however, have a hard time figuring that out.) Children are difficult. Let's be real. The hardest job in the world is being a parent. Probably the second hardest is being a camp counselor for 10 weeks out of the summer. You don't really get any time to yourself-you technically get a two hour break every day but that time is supposed to be used to write parent and 'love' letters to the girls and their families, clean the staff lounge (which is a certifiable petty dish since no one ever does this), planning programming for the girls, additional paperwork, and a whole host of other things I'd prefer not to get into. Sometimes when there are communication lapses between staff things can go exceptionally wrong, at least in the eyes of the staff. (To the girls, unless they are older, everything seems planned.) Also, on the food, it is comfort food for the kiddos. This is fine if you're only attending camp for a week, require comfort, and have the metabolic abilities of a 9-year-old. It literally makes some staff sick at times, eating this way for so long. It has a profound impact on your body and physical health, and therefore your mental health as well. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to quit just because of the food.

    ***However, if you're doing this job, you're not really doing it for yourself or money in the first place. You can bring your own food to stash in the staff lounge. There are facilities in place to help with the mental health of staff members. Kids say the damn funniest things I've ever heard, and you can always feed off of their exuberant and curious energy. So please keep that in mind!!!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Longer breaks! Break times for staff rejuvenation and staff rejuvenation alone! Healthier food alternatives for the staff! More money! (Think: inflation. The price of everything is going up, including milk. I can't live without my milk. Therefore the amount we are paid needs to increase as well. Ever heard of college tuition?) Less scheduled time. The girls ask for it every single freaking day, and it wears the staff down very quickly. The girls need time to chill with each other and bond, especially the older girls. I wouldn't say no to scheduled nap-times either.

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