The TSC Experience
The TSC Experience
Being a Staff Member at TSC: Interview with a former TSC staff member
How many years did you attend TSC?
I spent eight unforgettable summers at TSC – three as a camper and five as a staff member.
As a staff member, what roles did you fulfill?
2008 – Bantam counsellor
2009 – Mountaineer/Voyageur Counsellor
2010 – Mountaineer SD
2011 – Guide with a brief stint as Program Staff (camp craft)
2012 – Long Trip Counsellor (Quetico)
What was your most memorable experience as a staff member and why?
While I met many incredible people and made lifelong friends as a staff member, I would have to say that my most memorable experiences were seeing my campers develop and rise to the occasion to overcome new challenges. When I would take the younger campers out on their first canoe trip (ever), it was clear many of them were nervous and apprehensive of the obstacles that lay ahead of them. They found themselves in an unfamiliar environment that tested them mentally and physically. There is a fascinating personal journey these campers take to transition from “I don’t know if I can do this” to “Not only can I handle anything, but I love doing it”. I have witnessed campers being on the verge of tears as we launched our canoes on day 1 of a trip, only to see them running portages with a grin from ear-to-ear on day 5. It was my job to provide these campers with the tools and just enough support for them to become independent, resourceful and believe they were capable of anything. It’s watching a young 7 y/o bantam camper paddle their first lake or standing in awe as a 13 y/o voyageur carries a canoe on a 2 km portage for the first time, that are my most memorable experiences as a staff member at TSC.
What is your current job and how do you feel TSC has impacted your path to and success in this area?
I am currently an Associate Brand Manager on TYLENOL® at Johnson & Johnson. It’s funny as one would perhaps think that there would not be many transferable elements of attending and working at TSC to a corporate career. However, as I look back, I couldn’t disagree more. My job challenges me on the daily and it is a demanding, dynamic environment, where I need to efficiently and creatively use the resources I have to overcome every obstacle. This is very much analogous to canoe trip. I can still vividly remember my first portage on my first canoe trip, where I felt overwhelmed and wanted to give up. I am so thankful that my counsellor on that day and the days to follow didn’t take my pack from me, but encouraged me to keep trying – he wouldn’t let me give up. I developed this mentality that I was able to overcome the challenges of canoe trip; there was no portage too long and no lake too vast. In years to follow I applied this mentality to school and now to my career and it is the reason I have had my moments of success. I know that I am capable of not only meeting but surpassing each challenge that presents itself.
What words of advice do you have for those currently working at TSC?
Everyone who has spent many summers at camp will say this – if you are not ready to leave camp then don’t leave. You have such a rare opportunity to enjoy the beauty TSC offers – The amazing people, the adventure, an environment where the end goal is for everyone to have the time of their lives?! Cheesy, but real; so take advantage while you can! Now that I have become an “adult” and have committed to three weeks of vacation a year, it has become glaringly obvious how valuable TSC has been for me. So if another summer approaches and you are worried that there is too much pressure to not attend camp and deal with “real life”, just consider that real life will always be there, while camp will not. There were many times I questioned if returning to camp was the right call and the only thing I regret is not staying there longer.