Behavior Analysis is not Summer Camp

During this month of autism awareness and acceptance I’m looking into summer camps for my kids. This is new territory. Generally summer planning happens in February and it doesn’t align with a time of recognition and reflection within the field of behavior analysis. But since it aligns this year here’s a summer story that brings us back to some why’s we should consider.

When I was growing up my family was quite poor and summer camp wasn’t an experience I had. So, when I was in college I researched all different camps in all different areas of the country in search of THE summer camp experience. Searching for nature and beauty in a form I couldn’t find in Florida – mountains. After what seemed endless searching I found it!  A beautifully located camp with a motto I could live by: My own self, at my very best, all the time.

I don’t remember the specific interview questions or what I said throughout the interview, but I do remember when she asked me why I was most interested in this camp.  I said I lived and believed in the camp motto, my whole self, at my very best, all the time. The interviewer grew up in this camp and lived and breathed that motto. I got the job.  And it was a great experience.

I tell you this story to communicate the power you hold. You should know both what your value system is and why, as well as the value system of the organization you choose to work with. Why you want to work with a particular company should be strongly examined both on your own and by the person looking to hire you. If someone offers you, or if you take, a subpar job simply as a foot into the field, you are already on the wrong track. 

Behavior analysis is not a field you should enter by taking just any job.  You’re not a camp counselor watching over children for a couple of months.  Behavior analysis is serious work.  You can make or break someone’s life – you nor the people training you should take that lightly.

If there are no providers in your area who you can align with, you should consider other areas where you would willingly commute or move.  I beg of you, please, if there is not a provider you align with philosophically, search high and low for one that does. You can find great joy in this field that can bring out your (and others’) very best happiness.