Annual camp rant and then working for free.
It’s an exciting but also a trying time to be a “summer camp athletic trainer”. I’m really excited about the amount of camps that we are offering our ATs! We have about 30 camps lined up already. All are clients who agree to appropriately staff their camps and provide or reimburse their AT for items or accommodations that they will need to successfully provide the medical care. The record number of camp directors that we have appropriately compensating athletic trainers is what excites me most. As many of you know we strictly adhere $35/hour or more for working hours which has been resulting in fair wages.
What has been trying is hearing some salary suggestions from the camps that we have been turning away. (We hate to do this, but feel very strongly about proper compensation.) Camps are still finding ATs to work at low rates. Way Too Low…. Examples: a football camp requiring 30 hours of medical care and one overnight paying $475. They have found 3 ATs on their own… they need one more. Not counting any compensation for nights… this is $13.57/hour for the AT. They have found 3 ATs already! Another overnight camp paying $600/week for a camp requiring 42 hours a week of work (That’s $14.28/hour.) Lastly and this will hurt our company directly, an unaffiliated “experienced AT” told one of my long-term camp clients that he will work the 30 hr/week camp next year for $600 ($20/hour). This will leave the AT who currently makes $1050 for the week out of a summer camp job that she has had for the past 4 years. Why are we undercutting each other like this? Doing so ensures that camp directors will always be able to find ATs for inappropriate salaries. I just don’t understand it.
We are getting closer… but it’s still up to us to stop taking these low paying camps. Seriously people, Drive for Uber! Pedi-cab! Mow lawns! Babysit! Bartend! Wait tables! Work at Whole Foods or McDonalds! (they even provide benefits!) That’s my yearly rant, but with this all said, evidently, the camp situation is getting better. We are getting there; it’s up to the ATs to “be the change.”
I generally have mixed feelings about volunteering because with all of the opportunities out there, we are rarely presented with ones for causes that help people who really need help. More often I see requests from organizations that should pay for ATs but for some reason get volunteers instead. However, 2 weekends ago I had the pleasure of volunteering for a great charity called Shoot Out For Soldiers. This was a 24 hour lacrosse game with athletes of all ages. Late in the night I heard there was a game where parents and kids were playing together on the same teams. The way that they raised funds was that teams and individual players made donations to participate and all of the proceeds went to 4 different organizations that help our veterans. After all was said and done, they raised more than $26,000! These are the types of volunteer jobs that make you feel really good and satisfied and I encourage other ATs to take advantage of opportunities like this.
Well, that’s all for this blog. Hope you are all enjoying some down time this summer. We love comments and stories! You can leave them here or on our facebook fan page.