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Outdoor businesses look to UNH for summer workers

UNH has been hosting the Outdoor Jobs and Summer Camps fair since 2008 with hundreds of students visiting the fair each year. This year, the event was held in the Granite State Room (GSR) this past Thursday, Feb. 23, and gave students the opportunity to speak with representatives from over 40 different camps and outdoor related businesses looking for applicants for the upcoming summer season.

Employers from the outdoor and recreation industries each had their own table lining the GSR, which allowed for students to pass each station as they made their way around the room to speak with employers about job opportunities. At each table, representatives prepare informational handouts and packets as well as applications to distribute to students who showed interest in employment.

According to Christie VanKanegan, a dual degree graduate student in social work and outdoor education at UNH and an organizer of the event, the fair has always been very successful. In 2016, it was recorded that a few hundred students had attended.

Adrienne Perron/Contributing
Employers in the outdoor and recreation industries gathered in the Granite State Room last Thursday to give students a look at outdoor summer jobs within New England.

“We do a lot of marketing,” VanKanegan said. “[We reach] out to different programs in the area and try to see if they want to register to come to the fair.”

Junior Recreation Management and Policy (RMP) major Lilly Grisafi said that the fair was very helpful in her personal job search. Grisafi attended the job fair for networking purposes as suggested by advisors within her major. Some students in the RMP program were eligible to receive extra credit for attending the job fair and making connections with potential employers.

“It’s helpful to talk to people in person in getting to know how to… pitch yourself,” Grisafi said, while also noting the low-key atmosphere.

Grisafi said that, by speaking with these representatives, she feels more comfortable with what she would say to an employer in a real interview and how she would present herself.

Those who attended the job fair were able to see that many of the positions being advertised were related to different kinds of summer camps. The camps represented there included sleep away camps in New Hampshire, Girl Scout camps, camps for children with special needs and many others. The camps were looking to hire counselors, activity leaders and even medical staff for their upcoming seasons.

Kate Walsh, a representative from a camp called Double H Ranch for children with chronic and life threatening illnesses, talked about Double H Ranch’s past with UNH’s Outdoor Job and Summer Camp Fair. She said that the camp has made appearances at the university in previous years and that the counselors representing UNH from those years have since graduated.

“It’s been nice for us to reconnect with this college and put our job out there for the students,” Walsh said.

In describing the camp, Walsh said, “It’s your typical summer camp, but for kids who have some special needs that prevent them from going to a Y[MCA] camp or a Girl Scout camp.”

Walsh went on to advocate for any kind of work outdoors, especially at a camp or with children.

“Being able to spend your summer outdoors, especially with kids, provides you with the opportunity to enjoy the world around you,” Walsh said. “It’s nice to unplug and to have fun… I think it provides an amazing experience to connect back to children and to camp. Camp is such a simple concept and I think that it’s nice to provide that for young adults.”

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