Summer camps face staffing challenges – NBC Connecticut


A summer counselor job at Groton Parks and Recreation was one of the most popular summer gigs in town, the program supervisor said, with positions normally filling in March. This year is different.

“It’s a little worrying because I just reopened the post. Where that usually never happens. It’s usually open for about three or four weeks and then closes it,” said Eileen Cicchese, program supervisor for the Groton City Parks and Recreation. Department. “It’s a bit stressful and we don’t want to turn any child away.”

Cicchese said they still need about 10 advisers. As they continue to fill positions, they plan to have to reduce the number of campers from 150 to around 100.

“I just think every time we hire another staff, we can let in 10 more kids,” Cicchese said.

The Eastern Connecticut Arc is in the same boat.

“We’re really not getting the number of camp applicants that we need,” said Kathleen Stauffer, CEO of The Arc Eastern Connecticut.

For the past 20 years, The Arc Eastern Connecticut has operated a summer program at Camp Harkness for people with developmental disabilities. They say they desperately need advisers this year.

“We need 12 advisers. We currently have three, so we’re short nine,” Stauffer said. “And we can’t do a camp with three monitors. It’s not safe.”

They are looking for counsellors, nurses and supervisors. This is a home-based, paid job at the beach.

“Hopefully it’s just about needing the right people to get the message out to people who are looking for summer jobs and don’t know that option exists,” Stauffer said. “Because I think it’s a fun option.”

Summer camps aren’t the only ones facing hiring challenges, experts say. Industries at all levels are struggling to hire for the summer.

“We have a workforce crisis in Connecticut that is truly unparalleled. There are 109,000 job openings right now,” said Chris DiPentima, president and CEO of Connecticut Business. and Industry Association, adding that the state’s workforce has shrunk. “By approximately 72,000 people since February 2020 pre-pandemic figures.”

This means people looking for a job have options.

“Whereas in the past, high school kids were content with a summer camp job. Now they can easily walk into a fast food joint and make $15 an hour,” Maurice “Mo” Cayer said. , eminent lecturer at the University of New Havre.

From camps to lifeguards to restaurants, experts say consumers must be prepared to feel the impact.

“People are going to have to have a lot of patience because that’s the way it is,” Cayer said.

“For anyone who is unhappy with the current situation between supply chain and workforce, please be patient and kind to those helping you. They are doing the best they can with the limited resources they have” , DiPentima said.

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