Will Simpson spent his summer at Wediko, a therapeutic camp for children with behavioral issues. He didn’t have a lot of experience working with kids, but a few semesters of psychology and a sense of adventure led him to this life-changing opportunity.
Wediko is an amazing summer camp in New Hampshire for kids with social, emotional and behavioral issues. I learned about the program through a listserv for psychology majors and looked at its website for more information. Wediko accepts applications on a rolling basis until the beginning of May, but it’s prudent to apply earlier. I submitted my application over winter break, interviewed in mid-January, and accepted the position in the beginning of February. Anyone who’s considering going to graduate school in a psychology-related field shouldn’t hesitate to apply.
This is a very hands-on job that doesn’t require a lot of prior experience to be considered a competitive applicant. In fact, I only had a year in an anxiety research lab, but Wediko was happy to interview me. The organization values an applicant who’s willing to make mistakes and learn from them – being an undergraduate student at UVa doesn’t hurt either.
You may join Wediko’s staff as a teacher (math and literacy), activity coordinator (mountain biking, archery, etc.), direct care counselor, or nurse. This internship is physically demanding, so an athletic resume is certainly an asset.
I had a difficult time transitioning into the internship, because the days were incredibly long and structured – we followed a strict 8AM to 10PM daily routine. To help ease the transition, Wediko schedules a staff-only week before and after camp. I’m so happy they did. After all, Wediko staff spends every waking hour with the kids for the program’s entirety. There’s something to be done every minute of the day, and you’re always moving. Even though you’ll be tired, it’s important to stay positive so that Wediko remains a therapeutic environment. Most importantly, every member of the Wediko team must be a responsible role model for the kids, who are often without positive parent figures. Don’t worry – every staff member has an extensive support system of seven to ten people, some of whom are licensed clinical supervisors and seasoned veterans of the program.
Wediko is an AmeriCorps program, so interns will be paid a stipend. But the biggest reward is human capital – I saw the kids improve, underwent personal growth, and confirmed my career aspirations.
Just starting your internship search? Check out this all-in-one career guide by logging on to your MyUCS account.