It's "The Best Job," Say Students Working at Brooks Camp

After the joyful frenzy of graduation weekend and exhausting intensity of final exams, most Brooks students depart campus in June ready for a breather from school. Then there are those who don't want to say goodbye.

Alex Comiskey '17, Pat Freiermuth '18, Jake Grant '18, and Katie O'Brien '19 dismissed their other summertime vacation, study and work options and decided to spend the bulk of their break back at school — working on campus for Brooks School Summer Programs' Day Camp.

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Freiermuth (center) loves hanging around with the preschoolers in his groups at Day Camp. Follow Brooks School Summer Programs on Facebook to see galleries of photos from camp each day.

"I chose to work at Brooks summer camp because I really enjoy being around the campus and I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with kids," said Freiermuth, who had less than three weeks away from 1160 Great Pond Road before returning to prepare for the first day of camp on June 26.

The decision was a no brainer for O'Brien too. "I thought this would be the best job I could get as a 16-year-old because I would be outside playing with kids all day," she said. "How does it get better than that?"

Established in 1972, Brooks School Summer Programs includes sessions of summer school, computer camp, The Nike Vogelsinger Soccer Academy, the newly created "Camp Five" for eighth- and ninth-graders and the Day Camp, serving kids age 4 to 17.

Visit Brooks School Summer Programs to read more about the sessions and activities available each summer.

Roughly 300 campers are enrolled in each of the four two-week sessions of Day Camp, which runs June 26 through August 18. For the youngest campers, the group/counselor ratio is 5:1. That gives Freiermuth, O'Brien, and the other Brooksians a chance to really get to know and help their young campers hands-on with activities.

And the list of activities is a long one, from archery, arts & crafts and boating, to gymnastics, tennis, swimming and performing arts. There are even special events as well, including cookouts, ice cream socials and dress-up days.

"My favorite part of being a leader at camp is making kids smile," said O'Brien, shown here with a camper. "It's a special feeling to know that I made someone's day better."

"Having Brooks students and alums as counselors is a great benefit to the Summer Programs office," said Jacob G. Andrus, Brooks' director of auxiliary programs. "Not only do they know the campus well, but their desire to share their love for Brooks shines through all of their actions and interactions with their colleagues and campers."

The students "have stepped up to be leaders and great role models for our campers," he added. But the Brooksians are getting a lot out of it too (beyond a paycheck) ...

Pat Freiermuth '18:
The Merrimac, Mass., rising sixth-former is a group counselor working with 4- and 5-year-olds, spending the whole day with his campers going from activity to activity. "It's a lot different going to school at Brooks during the year and then working at Brooks camp during the summer," said the first-time counselor. "The whole feel around the campus is just different. It's so upbeat and funny watching all the kids run around and not have a care in the world!" His favorite part? Building close and strong relationships with the kids, he said: "Being a role model and being able to be a person that they look up to makes you feel great at the end of the day."

Alex Comiskey '17:
Comiskey lives right here in North Andover, Mass., and hops on over to campus each day to work as an activities counselor for all ages of kids. She also serves as a tennis instructor. It's a routine that's rewarding to the recent graduate — headed to James Madison University in the fall — for its tradition. Comiskey has been a counselor for three years now and a camper herself before that. She has been coming to Day Camp since she was 5 years old, in fact. The current Group 2 Coordinator Lynn Bowen was her first counselor!

Jake Grant '18:
Thanks to Day Camp, Grant can add Party Planner to his resume. The student, who lives on campus with his mother, English teacher Leigh Perkins '81, has the pleasure of working magic behind the scenes for the second year in a row. His team keeps the camp running and handles distribution of snacks, water and lunches. On event days, Grant and his crew host the hot dog cookouts and the ice cream sundae parties.

Katie O'Brien '19:
The North Andover-native and rising fifth-former is a Leader-In-Training at Day Camp, allowing her to spend time with every age group and in a variety of activities. "I've been on Brooks' campus each summer of my life starting when I was 6 years old," said O'Brien. "I knew from the time I started in group 1D that I wanted to be a counselor. During the past three summers I've participated in the Leader-In-Training program and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm hopeful I'll get hired to be a counselor for next summer."

Learning the skills required to work with children isn't all that O'Brien is taking away from this summer, though. "I've been learning about myself," she said. "Through the LIT program I've stepped out of my comfort zone and come out of my shell. Brooks is a happy place during every part of the year, but my summers here will always hold an extra special place in my heart."

Visit Living at Brooks to learn more about our community, life on campus and all the activities available during the school year.

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