Every year, Bradford Woods hires summer staff for our nationally-acclaimed camps for children and adults with physical disabilities and chronic illnesses. In partnership with Riley Children’s Foundation and other non-profit agencies serving youth, we offer campers a traditional summer camp experience in an outdoor setting. A variety of 12-week, paid positions (including cabin staff, lifeguards, leadership team, and program staff) are available and employment runs from late May to early August.
Description of the video:
Each summer nearly 1000 youth with chronic illnesses and disabilities come to Bradford Woods for a life-changing experience.
More than 80 staff members with diverse backgrounds from around the world engage and empower them.
Finn (Colorado): "It's a different world when you live every single day not associating with kids with special needs and disabilities and then you come into a place that specializes in it and then you come into a place that offers camp, offers nature, offers adventure to kids who have been told 'no' their entire life. The most humbling experience ever was when they said yes you can have this job. I've never been, I've never felt so amazing because I get to be a part of some of the most life changing experiences some of these kids will ever imagine. There's not really...there's not really a better feeling than watching someone's face light up when you say 'yes you can do this'."
Marshall (Indiana): "I was outdoors a lot but it was more for like athletics, sport activities and things like that. Being in the woods, camping, that was a completely new experience for me and it was something I was actually really nervous about coming here cause I'm feeling, you know, I'm nervous myself I feel like others are going to be able to see my nerves also. I was like, 'what do we do? How do we start a fire? What is this, this, and that?'. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to try new things because I feel like that's where the most growth comes from. It has turned out to be some of the best moments of my life campouts with our campers here. Just those moments we have with the kids camping out, playing games, having fun, eating meals. When I see a camper that they say 'ok this is my first year at camp' you know I can relate to that and that makes me happy because I can come up to them and we can talk about our experiences. I can tell them hey it's ok to be shy or nervous about these things because that's exactly how I was when I came here."
Georgina (Scotland): "I was born and raised in England but now the past 12 years I've lived in Scotland in the Highlands. I feel that my family and my friends don't get it but I go home and tell stories all through the year and I get so excited. I show them pictures of my campers doing these really cool things. These kids just come to summer and they just want to have fun like any other kid who goes to summer camp. They don't have to not be themselves. They don't have to feel afraid. They don't have to worry about being bullied or being different. They can just be whoever they want to be and they can have the opportunities that every kid can have during summer when they go to summer camp."
Emily (Washington): "You do see the changes that you're making in people every day. I think your perception of people just change while you're here. Seeing past their disability and just seeing like who they are, everything they're capable of and all the struggles they have overcome changes just the way you just approach people on a daily basis. It's definitely an eye opener to the judgements we make on people and the relationships we form with them because of it."
Finn (Colorado): "Camp no matter what camp it is for who you are, camp is everlasting. It's forever in here (points to his head). No matter when you leave, whenever you decide to leave it's always here (points to head) and it's always here (points to heart). I mean I've never not gone to a summer camp. Like every summer, I've gone to a summer camp whether it's to work or volunteer or something of that nature. By far the most important thing I think about every day is, there's a word I use a lot, a word that means a lot to me. It's compassion. To me it's a love with an action. It's love that generates so much energy within a person that they want to do something about that love."
Marshall (Indiana): "The amount of time that we spend together in these short months is pretty incredible. We work when campers are here 14, 16, 17, 18 hour days sometimes and I'm really just grateful to have the staff that we have here because they are so passionate, they are so caring about what they do. I feel like I've created a new family here at this camp and I'm just blessed to be a part of that team."
Finn (Colorado): "If we didn't have such a beautiful bond between all of us, then we would not work as well as we do. Unlike any other place I've worked, this place thrives on staff being all the way there, all the time, and being there for each other."
Georgina (Scotland): "This is the perfect camp for me. Bradford Woods is the perfect camp. This summer has clarified for me that I want to work with children and particularly children with disabilities. I say they made me a better person."
Emily (Washington): "You make really strong connections in just a week with the campers for sure. I think our campers make a greater impact on us and there's no way to tell an eight year old kid 'Hey that one random time at the beach, you totally changed my life'. But they did and it's really sad to see them go."
Georgina (Scotland): "So many friendships. The kids like they leave on Friday and they're asking for like our Facebook, our Instagram, they want to keep in touch. They find every way they can to keep in touch with us when they leave. Sorry (crying)."
Marshall (Indiana): "Seeing these kids do that they may not be able to do on a regular basis or things that other people tell them that they can't do is really powerful to me. To see these kids talk about their new firsts and talk about things that they've done this camp session that they maybe didn't do a year or two ago when they came to the camp last is really moving to see how far they've come, how far they've grown. I love this camp. I love these campers. I feel like this place is, it's unique and the people here and the campers here are what make this place so special."
To find out more about serving as a summer staff member at Bradford Woods, visit www.bradwoods.org.
Fulfilling the Promise