From Camp Walt Whitman to Instagram: Why Being a Camp Counselor Is Great for Your Resume
Before she began working for the world’s biggest social media company, first at Facebook, and now at Instagram, Marisa Dolmatch (second from the left, above) spent a summer as a camp counselor at Camp Walt Whitman. Years later she is still leaning on the people skills she gained during those 7 weeks.
While other traditional college jobs, like a magazine internship and work at a nonprofit, helped her hone her professional skills, it was at camp where she learned what it’s like to play a key role in someone’s well-being and growth.
“I didn’t have other roles in college so focused on the development of others,” said Dolmatch, who in her current role as product marketing manager helps product teams build tools that creators can use to reach new audiences on Instagram and support their craft.
Though she’d gone to Camp Walt Whitman for 8 years, being a counselor was the first time she felt responsible for other’s experiences.
“I myself knew what an incredible experience camp was for me. And I knew which counselors I loved, and I really wanted to be that for my girls. I wanted them to feel comforted when they missed their parents, and I wanted to help them have a really great experience.”
Keeping your energy up throughout those 7 weeks of camp takes work — camp can be tiring! — but Dolmatch learned how crucial it was to give your best to campers. “To be honest, I think it helped me be a better manager.”
How to help somebody else through an issue, how to get people to trust in you, and how to maintain your stamina are all things she learned as a counselor and that she has since applied in her career. “I definitely learned a lot about my own leadership brand,” she said.
Working at camp also taught her the value of teamwork. Since her co-counselor was more of an early riser than she, together they learned to play to their strengths. “She would help girls get ready and I would help put them to sleep. You and your other counselors, you’re in this together.”
Her current role is extremely collaborative, and camp is no different. Although the goals — like “How do you get these kids to hike a mountain?” — are often different and a whole lot of fun.
“The people that are attracted to this role, I think, are people that you want to work with,” says Dolmatch. “Everyone is kind and shares the same goal of having a good summer and helping these kids have a great summer and being a leader for them.”