What it Takes to Excel
Mayhew is, by design, a very challenging experience for all. And although we try to be very upfront about the extraordinary demands of working for the program (and by extension, the extraordinary rewards!), we sometimes attract applicants who aren’t fully prepared to excel in the job.
Accordingly, to help those interested in working for the program to decide if it’s an experience that’s right for them, we’ve compiled this collection of characteristics essential for excelling as a staff member at Mayhew.
A willingness to sacrifice one’s own interests for the benefit of others.
All staff members make sacrifices in working for the program: be it personal time, connections with friends and family outside of the program, or creature comforts, to name just a few things. However, exceptional staff members acknowledge and readily accept such sacrifices as an inherent part of the experience
An eagerness to engage the boys of the program
Exceptional staff members come out to the Island because they’re interested in working with the boys of the program. Sure, they thrive on staff camaraderie, but first and foremost they understand that the boys come first, and they go out of their way to connect and engage with the boys of the program throughout every day.
An understanding of what it means to be a role model
Exceptional staff members understand that it’s just as important (arguably even more important) what we do as adults, as what we say. Children naturally look to the adults around them for guidance, and exceptional staff members naturally—and by default—model the strong character, maturity, and personal responsibility we hope to promote in the boys.
A sincere interest in learning
Exceptional staff members are as eager to learn as they are to teach. They want to understand the workings of the world around them; they want to engage in conversations with people, ask questions, seek advice, and think about their own thinking. They come out to the Island ready to share their own ideas, but they’re also intensely interested in absorbing the ideas of the community.
A sincere interest in living and working within a community
Exceptional staff members understand that each individual at Mayhew is only one part of a larger community; they always consider how their decisions will impact those around them; they’re not afraid to ask for help from others; and they’re skilled at recognizing when others may need help from them.
A readiness to live and work within a highly structured setting
Exceptional staff members understand that the many rules and expectations of life on the Island (and there are lots of them!) are in place for a reason. They’re comfortable living up to those rules and expectations themselves, and they’re comfortable enforcing them consistently and fairly among the boys.
Exceptional staff members recognize that they are professionals and must carry themselves accordingly. They’re calm, rational, punctual, dependable, and honest; they’re able to follow directions from senior staff and they’re open to feedback; they can think on their feet and extrapolate from the basic tenets of the program to make appropriate decisions in new situations. Importantly, they do not overly personalize their work and have an ability to remain calm and appropriately detached in stressful situations.
All staff members understand that each boy is likely to act out or make a bad decision at some point during the summer. However, exceptional staff members understand that Mayhew is focused on the long-term and that success is defined by growth rather than perfection. Accordingly, exceptional staff members are consistently patient—whether a boy is acting out on the first day of the summer or the last.
A tremendous work ethic
Exceptional staff members are drawn to challenges; they’re eager to get their hands dirty; they seek out opportunities to pitch in; and even when they’re completely exhausted, they’re quick to their feet and ready for action when a job needs doing. Exceptional staff members believe that “work can be fun!”
Exceptional staff members are creative. They’re very good at constantly coming up with new ways to engage the boys, be it developing an entertaining skit for the group to perform for the rest of camp at Community Night or figuring out a new way to teach the breaststroke to a boy who just doesn’t seem to get it at the Swim Cove.
Exceptional staff members are enthusiastic about their work. It’s clear to everyone around them that they truly enjoy what they’re doing.
Self Awareness and Self Control
Exceptional staff members understand themselves; they’re always in full control; and they have the ability to tailor their demeanor easily to suit the situation at hand. For example, they can be loud, energetic & fun (while still being in control!) during free time but then quickly transition to being quiet, calm & serious during a conversation with a boy about his behavior.
Exceptional staff members constantly analyze their actions, words, and decisions in an effort to improve not only as counselors but also as people. They understand that mistakes only count as failures when nothing is learned and applied to the next opportunity.