Jobs & Internships: Claire Griffin (12)

Hannah Hornfeld and Marina Kazarian

through various programs at the school, Claire Griffin (12) decided to spend her summer working as a counselor for two to four-year-olds at Town School Camp in Manhattan. Griffin learned about the job from her sister, who had worked there for the past two summers, she said.

Griffin’s work included setting up the classroom with toys and coloring stations before the campers arrived, and then leading the campers throughout their day, where they participated in activities such as art, dance, sports, music, nap time, and swim, she said.

Griffin wanted to work with children over the summer because she loves being a part of the Saturday Morning Tutoring Program (SMTP) and the Service Learning Team (SLEARN) at school, she said.

“I also really enjoyed the development unit of my Intro to Psychology class this year, and I was interested in applying that knowledge to the real world,” Griffin said. In that unit specifically, Griffin learned how children process information at different stages of their development, which helped her understand how to communicate with them, she said.

Despite this knowledge, being a member of SMTP and SLEARN, and babysitting frequently, Griffin had no prior experience working with kids of this age, she said.

“However, after working with other, more experienced counselors, I learned how to best work with the age group,” Griffin said. “The job also helped me learn how to collaborate as a team, to use all of the counselors’ strengths. I was working with three other adults, but we all had something to bring to the table.”

Griffin learned that working with kids who are that young means you have to be ‘on’ all the time, she said. “If something is bothering you, you have to push it aside and really be in the moment for the kids. I loved that all day long, all I was thinking about was my job. I was so immersed in it.”

One of her favorite moments took place on the last day of her job, she said. “A parent came in and handed me a card her son had made for me. She asked me if I would ever babysit because her son, who was only three, asked her to ‘go out to dinner so Claire could babysit.’ That was the first time I realized how much of an impact we were having on these kids,” Griffin said.