My First Job | Summer camp counselor

Lauren Dutton learned early to work at play.

I currently work as a consultant and board member for educational nonprofits; and I was the former Board Chair, KIPP Bay Area. I have lived in Piedmont for 11 years with my husband, Glen Tripp (who runs Galileo summer camps) and sons Ryan (junior at PHS) and Jasper (8th grader at PMS).

Q: What was your very first job?
I was a Counselor in Training (CIT) for an LA summer camp, the Sierra Ski + Pack Club, after my sophomore year in high school.

Q: How did you get it?
I had gotten to know the Club through participating in their school year ski trips, and when I heard about the summer CIT opportunity I applied and I got it!  I had done some babysitting, so I knew that I liked working with kids.

Q: What did it require?
The camp staff would drive around in a van each morning and pick up the kids at their homes, and then we would head out to a different place each day – from sailing in Marina Del Rey to surfing and hiking in Malibu. There was lots of loud singing to popular radio tunes as we drove along. Lucky me – I was able to learn new, fun sports alongside the kids.

Q: Who was your boss?
I worked with various counselors, who were all college students. They were amazingly welcoming and supportive and fun, and they didn’t make me feel like a young high schooler.

Q: What was your best day?
Best day was later in the summer, when they invited me to also work at their finale of the summer, a weeklong sleepover camp up at Bass Lake in the Sierras. I felt great knowing that they valued my contributions, and that I would continue to work alongside many of the other counselors.  And the water skiing was a nice perk!

Q: What did you learn from it?
I learned a ton – from supporting and motivating kids to meeting the daily responsibilities of a summer-long job. Getting to know the older counselors – seeing their zest and compassion – was eye-opening and inspiring.

Ryan, Lauren, Jasper, and Glen

Q: Any advice to pass on?
I am reminded throughout my career that it is most important who you are working alongside – who you enjoy and share values with. What you are working on together -and your own role in it – will evolve and change.  As one of my mentors (Alan Khazei, Co-Founder of City Year) says, “Life is about collecting the people who you want to change the world with.”

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