Summer Staff…Where Are They Now?
Meredith Kile // Summer 2008 // Lifeguard & Program Staff
Hometown: Lancaster, PA
Current City: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Assignment Editor for Entertainment Tonight Online
What would you say were the greatest lessons you learned as a summer staffer at Pocono Plateau?
Don’t splash bleach on yourself while you’re cleaning the toilets. Kidding. (Not really, though.) In all seriousness, probably one of the greatest lessons I learned from camp came on one of the worst days of my staff summer. I was feeling under the weather, and was running from low ropes to make it to the waterfront for free time, when I got stung by something nasty. I limped the rest of the way, leg starting to swell, and made it out the floating dock, where I was I was starting to feel pretty sorry for myself when suddenly, the first crack of thunder hit. Time to go in. I swam to shore, ran up to the store, blew the rest of my account money on a camp sweatshirt to snuggle up in and an ice cream cone, and spent the hour hanging out and laughing with the campers and staffers who were also stuck up there. The lesson being, if you’ll allow me a little bit of poetic philosophizing, that sometimes, God gives you a storm and it’s exactly what you need.
How do you use what you learned at camp in your current stage of life?
One of my biggest worries going into my summer at camp was my ability to be a good leader to the campers. The waterfront stuff, I had no concerns about, but I was very anxious about the concept of running a program by myself, and especially counseling. Throughout the summer, with the help of fellow staffers, that got easier and I grew more comfortable taking charge of a group and leading the campers in everything from activities to bible study. Those skills — listening, problem solving, conflict resolution, etc. — are things that I definitely utilize in my work today in managing the team of writers and editors that work on my shift.
Why would you suggest that young people work at a summer camp like Pocono Plateau?
There’s nothing quite like a summer at camp. If you’re anything like me, it’s some of the most fun you’ll ever have stepping out of your comfort zone. You end the summer with not only memories of fun times, but also the knowledge that you’ve made a difference in the lives of the campers, however minimal or trivial it may be. They’ll remember camp forever, and you’re a part of that. And the friends you make during a summer on staff are the kind of life-long friends that it’s not easy to find. No matter how much time goes by, you can always pick up right where you left off, and you’ll always have those shared memories of your time at the Plateau.
What is the best memory you have of your time on staff?
There are so so so so many (singalongs, rowboat rides, campfires, finally learning what the mountain pie hype was all about) that it’s really hard to pick. Standouts definitely include the Junior High Adventure dance party and all the deep, emotional girls’ nights in Spruce. Also, I got to witness the early days of a few staff marriages, which, looking back now, was pretty darn adorable.
(Honorable mention to the afternoon I dropped my last quarter between the slats of the Staff House ramp and Teri Hackman appeared over me with a handful of change like a Diet Coke-delivering angel.)
Tell us about your current job. What are your responsibilities? Do you love it?
I work as an assignment editor for Entertainment Tonight’s website, www.ETonline.com, which essentially means that I help sweep for the day’s entertainment news stories, assign them out to our team of writers, and copy edit them before they go live on the site. I also do some writing myself, and help with the creation of our photo galleries. Like every job, it has its stressful days, but anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge TV and movie nerd, so I totally love it.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
Proverbs 13:20 — Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
What was your favorite food/snack at Pocono Plateau?
What was the best activity at Pocono Plateau when you were here?
BEST activity is a very tough call, but I always enjoyed leading archery and fishing. But maybe, given the creation of “The Boating Rules Rap,” waterfront was the best.
When Pocono Plateau pops into your head what is the one word the immediately comes to mind?