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WV Campground Transforms Seasonal Staffing Needs into Mentorship Opportunities for Youth

Mountain Lake Campground and Cabins in Summersville, West Virginia, is pioneering a novel approach to seasonal staffing challenges. 

Under the leadership of owner Susan James, the campground integrates job opportunities with mentorship and personal development, setting a new standard in the outdoor hospitality industry.

James’ strategy at Mountain Lake involves more than just filling job vacancies. It’s about creating a learning environment that nurtures young workers. By collaborating with local educational institutions, James taps into a pool of students eager to explore the unique opportunities that the campground environment offers.

At the heart of Mountain Lake’s staffing approach is a nurturing work space where creativity and responsibility are encouraged. For instance, student workers at the campground’s ice cream shop are given the freedom to design special desserts, fostering a sense of ownership and contribution to the site’s operations.

“We let them get creative and come up with special desserts for our themed weekends,” Susan said. 

This focus on personal growth is central to James’ philosophy. She supports her young staff in taking on new challenges, providing guidance to help them navigate both successes and setbacks. This individualized attention helps in building a skilled and reliable team.

Community engagement is another cornerstone of James’ approach. Through shared meals and team-building activities, a strong sense of camaraderie and belonging is cultivated among the staff, enhancing the overall work environment.

“We take time to have fun together,” Susan said. “We cook lunch for the staff and create a fun place for them. They seem to thrive because of it.”

James’ method extends beyond just job training. She creates pathways for shy individuals, initially placing them in less customer-facing roles like making cookies or waffle cones in the ice cream shop. This careful nurturing allows them to gain confidence and progressively take on more interactive roles within the campground.

The long-term impact of this mentorship program is significant. Young people who start working at Mountain Lake at age 15 often return each summer, with many continuing through their college years. The skills and work ethic developed at the campground carry forward into their future careers and personal growth.

James receives feedback from former employees who attribute their professional success to the foundational experiences at Mountain Lake. This affirmation underscores the value of her mentorship and its lasting influence on young lives.

Mountain Lake’s story, as highlighted in a CampLife blog, is a testament to how campgrounds can serve as influential training grounds for the next generation. By prioritizing youth development and community involvement, James has not only addressed her staffing needs but also contributed to the broader community.

CampLife, LLC, a provider of reservation and park management software, highlights Mountain Lake’s story to demonstrate the potential of campgrounds to be more than just vacation spots. They can be transformative spaces that contribute to personal development and community building.

Campground and outdoor hospitality operators can learn from Mountain Lake’s example. Implementing similar mentorship and personal development programs can help address staffing challenges while investing in the future of the industry and the community.

Mountain Lake Campground and Cabins, through its innovative staffing and mentorship model, is paving the way for a new era in the campground and outdoor hospitality industry. By turning seasonal jobs into opportunities for personal and professional growth, the campground is creating a legacy of leadership and community involvement that extends far beyond its borders.

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April 11, 2024 6:48 pm

Have you heard about the awesome mentorship program at Susan James’ West Virginia campground? Young staff find skills, family, and inspiration there. It’s a heartwarming journey worth exploring!

April 12, 2024 4:01 am
Reply to  FluffyPup1238

It’s fantastic to hear about the mentorship program at Susan James’ West Virginia campground. It’s truly a wonderful opportunity for youth to learn and grow while helping out with seasonal staffing needs. You know, programs like these can make a real difference in shaping young minds for the future.

Nolan Creek
Nolan Creek
April 11, 2024 10:05 pm

Isn’t it amazing how the WV campground helps youth grow through mentorship? It’s sad other places don’t do this. Let’s spread the word for brighter futures!

April 12, 2024 9:37 am

Isn’t it cool how the campground teams up with schools to give students real work experience? The vibe there sounds super nurturing, letting young staff get creative and own their roles. I dig how they focus on personal growth, building a top-notch team that’s reliable and skilled. It’s awesome how the mentorship goes beyond training, helping peeps gain confidence and rock their roles. Many young workers keep coming back, crediting their pro success to the skills and work ethic they honed at the campground.

April 12, 2024 12:43 pm

Isn’t it amazing how Mountain Lake Campground’s mentorship program shapes young minds beyond the campground? It’s like a recipe for success, blending hands-on learning with personal growth!

April 12, 2024 2:29 pm

Isn’t it awesome how this West Virginia campground supports young workers by offering hands-on workshops and connections with industry pros? It really sets them up for future success!

Charles Evans
Charles Evans
April 12, 2024 3:48 pm

Isn’t it awesome how Susan spices up the WV campground with fun activities? Imagine themed costume days and talent shows boosting staff morale and creativity. It’s like turning work into a joyful adventure! Cheers to Susan for creating such a vibrant and supportive environment for everyone there!

April 30, 2024 4:48 pm

This camp’s all about mentoring young staff and offering outdoor training. Exciting stuff, right? Share your thoughts on the impact of these programs!

May 9, 2024 4:32 am

Have you heard about the cool stuff happening at the campground in West Virginia? They’re doing awesome things with the youth, like workshops on leadership and outdoor skills. Plus, they team up with businesses for real-world experiences. It’s such a great opportunity for the young campers!


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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: WV Campground Transforms Seasonal Staffing Needs into Mentorship Opportunities for Youth! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/west-virginia/wv-campground-transforms-seasonal-staffing-needs-into-mentorship-opportunities-for-youth/