Apply to work at a summer camp in America! Working at a camp in the USA is one of the most popular jobs in the world for students - you get to spend 9 week+ working and traveling in North America meeting new people and getting paid to have a lot of fun. This really is one of the best jobs in the world and below you can view our guide to working at a summer camp in the USA which include general application information, costs, recommendations, application dates and how to apply for America summer camp jobs in 2016. You can also view reviews and information about the best companies to work at a camp with including Camp America, BUNAC, Camp Leaders, InterExchange and Gap 360. Applications are open now and you can register online today and applying early gives you the best chance to get accepted and spending next year in the states.
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Working at a summer camp in America is one of the most amazing work and travel exchange programs in the world which will provide you with memories to last a lifetime. If you are wondering why you should apply, hopefully these points will help...
If you enjoy working in an outdoor environment, like to participate in sports, have an ability to work with children and adults, and are motivated by working in a fun environment then working at summer camp could be the ideal job for you. The activities offered by camps are endless! From traditional summer camps offering a vast range of activities to specialist sport and adventure camps; from tripping programs to circus programs; and from ranch camps to scouting camps, whatever your strengths, we'll find the right camp for you! Even if you don't have lots of experience or a specialist skill, don't worry! Camps love to hire skilled staff, but most camps also require individuals that are flexible, energetic, great with kids and with a good attitude and an open mind. Many counselors end up teaching something they never even dreamed they would be able to teach at camp, and thoroughly enjoy the experience. Read more information about the types of jobs available below...
Every camp and role is different, as a camp counselor you will usually lead around 6-14 children though fun daily routines taking part in sport and other activities. Depending on the age of the children you look after you might have different tasks and responsibilities. Sometimes you might have to deal with problems like homesickness. There are usually the following two roles available:
Cabin / Activity Counselor: Arguably the most important job on camp! Cabin Counselors assist in activities across camp as they supervise groups of campers following their daily schedule. A good cabin counselor will have strong all-round skills and ideally will be able to lead one or more specific activities too. This is so Camp Directors can ensure their staff as a whole is balanced and able to fill in when plans change! The main responsibility of all counselors is the supervision of a bunk or cabin in between their scheduled activities, at mealtimes and at night (most counselors sleep in a room with their campers). The memories you get from that session with your kids will last a lifetime.
Specialist Counselor: If you have a certification or experience teaching an in-demand skill then this role is perfect for you! A Specialist Counselor provides daily instruction in a specific activity(s) to groups of children. The types of specialist skills sought after by camps are numerous so remember to include all your interests on your online profile. Specialist Counselors will also have childcare duties and live in a cabin with campers as well as devoting a large portion of their time to their skilled activity. Specialists should also be prepared to participate in other activities during the day and evening.
If you have any specific skills like sailing, canoeing or sailing the chances of you finding a job will increase. Imagine waking up each morning, walking down to the lake and seeing your reflection in the water. Make this dream a reality by working at summer camp as a water-ski, wakeboarding or sailing instructor! To be a successful Water-ski/Wakeboarding Instructor you will need to be highly experienced in waterskiing and wakeboarding and able to teach at novice level. You will also be competent when driving boats and have a good level of driving hours behind you. You will additionally need to be lifeguard certified. Being skilled in boat maintenance is desirable but not essential.
Some jobs like soccer over very popular and usually too many people select this so the chances of gaining employment are slimmer so be flexible with what you are willing to do. If you have any specific skills like archery or sailing the chances of you finding a job will increase.
Camps in the USA hire international football coaches to lead lessons and games throughout the summer. Suitable candidates must have previous coaching experience and be able to demonstrate the characteristics needed to work and live in America. These will include being responsible, self motivated, hard working, honest, adaptable and most importantly, have the ability to work and communicate with children. Coaching qualifications are necessary. They will be responsible for organizing and making sure their sessions run professionally and effectively as well as running our camps and clinics with the same high standards.
As an outdoor specialist it will be your job to lead groups of children in a range of different activities throughout the day, and could also include leading trips for a number of days at a time. We are looking for hard working people who enjoy working with children and are looking for a challenge. You can apply for one or more of the following activities; Rock-climbing, Ropes, Go-Karts, Hiking, Hi-wires, Mountain Biking, Orienteering, Camping.
Previous experience teaching people how to ride is an advantage but not essential. We have a range of camps available for you to work on that teach either Western or English style riding. As a minimum requirement, you to be able to tack up, walk, and trot. Additional duties may include leading trail rides, looking after the yard, cleaning equipment and help with feeding. You will need to be fun and enthusiastic people who love working with children and horses. This is the perfect opportunity to spend the summer working outdoors whilst having the opportunity to experience American culture and the chance to travel.
Do you have hands-on experience producing videos or films? Camps need creative people passionate about video and film to work in the USA! As part of the TV & Film crew at camp, your role is to capture the essence of camp life. You will be helping campers make the camp movie, make their own music videos and film all camp events. You will play a key part in a small team; teaching children how to use equipment, edit and shoot videos. Experience with both Apple Mac and PC is preferable. There are also positions in arts, crafts, painting, photography and music.
Calling all dancers! If you have a passion for dancing, apply to teach dance classes to children at a US summer camp. Some technical experience is required including experience as a dance teacher or choreographer, understanding of dance technique and pedagogy and skilled in at least 2 genre (ex. hip-hop, ballet.
If you are already qualified to work as a lifeguard, or if you aren't and this position appeals to you then full training can be provided. You will get to spend your summer pool, lake or sea side ensuring safety and water based activities run smoothly.
There are hundreds of Christian and Jewish camp counselor jobs available, camps are located right across the US. Working at a religious camp will, without doubt, be the most rewarding, challenging and unforgettable job you'll ever have. You will work hard but will do so in amazing surroundings, having great fun and making enough new friends to last a lifetime! Some camp require no religious background but others might require you to answer some faith based questions to see if you are suitable, these can include:
Working at a religious camp will allow you the opportunity to experience an American summer camp with all its camaraderie and fun, whilst being able to grow and share your faith with others.
Summer camps for people with special needs provide a haven for campers and their families to take a break from their daily routine. Camp Counselors are needed to work at camps for people with special needs. No previous experience necessary, as all camps for people with special needs will provide a 1-2 week training session prior to the arrival of the campers. Summer camps for people with special needs provide a haven for campers and their families to take a break from their daily routine. As a special needs counselor, your role will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of campers and their families. We are looking for people, who are willing to work hard at providing a comforting, fun and supportive environment for their campers and who can smile even in the most challenging of situations.
Work in the camp office alongside local staff and other internationals helping with day to day tasks and problems. You could be helping with paper work, calling parents, organising activities and events and helping managers operate the camp sucessfully during summer. Your role will involve answering telephones, responding to emails and letters, general reception duties, working on a number of different computer programs and speaking to staff in person and on the telephone. To apply you will need the following qualities - professional working manor, ability to be organised and flexible and prepared to work long hours. This position will be great experience for your future career as it involves you gaining many transferable skills. Previous experience is an advantage but not essential. Enthusiasm and willingness to try for something new is what we are looking for!
If you have maintenance, kitchen or housekeeping experience, why not consider a role as Support Staff? Every camp requires individuals to be part of the team "behind the scenes" - ensuring everyone has the equipment, facilities, and food they need to keep camp running! Support Staff roles receive a higher salary and are allocated more free time, to ensure you can get involved with the day-to-day fun of camp! Working behind the scenes in the kitchen as a cook or assistant can be a lot of fun and there are several several positions available including working as a cleaner, general assistant or in the maintenance department. Although you won't be working directly in other areas you will still have a lot of enjoyment. You will get to interact with other staff and sometimes take part in activities. If you are a trained nurse or planning a career in healthcare then consider applying to join a camp medical team helping campers and staff stay healthy during summer.
There are thousands of summer camps located throughout North America, all are different. Every camp is different and all have unique daily routines, you will work alongside American and international staff helping children have the most enjoyable time possible. You usually need to be awake by 8am for flag raising and you might work till late, but there will be lots of breaks during the day. Camps generally include:
Agency camps are the most common form of camps available in the USA, many are run by organisations like the YMCA.
Usually the most luxury camps in terms of facilities, children from wealthy backgrounds usually attend these camps.
There are hundreds of faith based camps located throughout North America, most have a focus on Christianity and Judaism. The majority of Christian camps describe themselves as protestant evangelical. Faith based camps are part of a unique tradition that provides a safe and fun environment in which children can develop both physical and social skills while following the Christian/Judaism ethos. Please note you do not need to be religious to apply or get employment at most camps.
One of the most rewarding ways to spend a summer, help and work with disabled children and adults at specially set up camps designed to provide enriching opportunities.
Children attend day camps to participate on activities, but they go home at the end of the day.
Have you been looking to apply for a summer camp job in 2016? Did you know there were more companies than just Camp America? Are you wondering who the best company to apply to work at a summer camp is? If you have already been researching online or chatting to friends you might have noticed there are lots of companies and agencies offering camp jobs in the USA. Hopefully our guide will help as we have put together a comparison of the top summer camp companies in the world who offer jobs to international participants. We have put our tips for the best companies to apply with but please note every company is different and you might find you are better suited to one than another. Each company is unique in what they provide but essentially they all offer the same thing - a gateway for you to gain employment in America.
The summer camp agencies we have listed below are our top recommendations for applying to work at a summer camp in the USA. All of these companies have years of experience in the industry placing thousands of international participants every summer. We try to keep the information below as accurate as possible and the prices are quoted are in GBP, you will need to enquire or visit the companies website for a price in a different currency or for latest up to date details/specifics. The most important thing is no matter which company you choose, just apply!
Apply to work at a camp in the USA with Camp Leaders is your chance to escape your boredom and live the American dream with a summer job abroad. Unforgettable adventures, mates from around the world and epic road trips. It’s all yours for the taking.
What is Included
BUNAC have been sending participants to summer camps to teach sports and other activities for many years and camps have come to expect enthusiastic, qualified and reliable counselors from BUNAC. Camps hire activity specialists with experience in coaching and motivating children. If you have experience in teaching any of the in-demand activities below, you'll be perfect for Summer Camp Exchange USA!
InterExchange Camp USA has been placing young adults from around the world at summer camps in the USA for more than 40 years! As a nonprofit organization, they keep their fees low, so you can keep more of the money you earn. InterExchange maintains a 24-hours hotline should you need help during your program.
What's included (Camp Placement program):
Spend the summer working as a summer camp counselor in the USA with Gap 360. Get paid and have fun at summer camp, plus extra time to travel around America too - awesome! You’ll get some great work experience to put on your CV as well as a rewarding trip earning money and working with American kids at camp.
The most well known name in the summer camp business, Camp America have been operating for over 40 years helping people from all over the world have the best summer of their life. Camp America is the largest, most famous summer work experience programme in the World! Summer camps are part of the American culture and way of life and there are over 12,000 throughout the USA. Camp America recruits people from the UK and elsewhere to work on these camps. Challenge yourself, make new friends, develop your skills and explore a new continent! There are a huge variety of job choices available: you can work directly with children, teaching them sports, dancing or arts, or you can work in supportive roles including catering and administration. Whatever you decide, there are thousands of jobs on offer all over the US!
As early as possible to increase your chances of being accepted/placed. You will need to apply before April as the deadline is around this time.
You will need to decide if this job is right for you, sometimes camps can be located in the middle of nowhere and some things are restricted like drinking and having to abide by a curfew. You will also have to learn new skills and be prepared to adapt into a new culture dealing with problem children, rustic living conditions and working long hours. Expect a challenge which is also a lot of fun and a great learning experience and extremely rewarding.
If you live outside of North America you will need a J1 visa to work at camp in the USA. The easiest way to apply is through an international sending agency like Camp America, InterExchange or Gap360 (see company info below). These companies provide a package where you will need to pay a fee. The cost is around £349 and this includes return transatlantic flights, meals & accommodation, medical insurance, our support and much more. At camp, you will receive pocket money of around $600-$1200 depending on age, skills and qualifications.
Each agency charges different upfront fees, some include things like travel/medical insurance, group flights, 24 hour support, airport pick-up and more. Please beware some companies charge a lower upfront fee but this might not include flights which can make the price shoot up. The total cost for working at a summer camp can be anywhere from £350 - £800 depending on what is included. Don't be put off by this price through as all companies offer wages for working during summer (pocket money). We recommend you don't be put off if a company charges more upfront than another, just because one company offers a cheaper price to apply it might end up costing you more overall.
Extra costs which might not be included in the price you pay include a CRB police check (approx £44), medical appointment/form from doctors (approx £10), travel to embassy + interview to obtain a J1 work visa (approx £145), baggage insurance (varies) and post-camp travel and tours. Total third-party fees can be around £200 in total - please remember this when applying. Also if you really want to make a big saving you will need to apply very early where there are usually special discounts on early applications. Another option is to recommend a friend, sometimes companies will pay you a referral fee if someone you know also signs up to the program. You might also save money if you decide to pay the whole fees upfront instead on instalments.
Once you have submitted an online application you will need to attend an interview with the company who is recruiting you to work in the USA. This is standard practise so you can ask any questions and they can assess to see whether you are will be a good candidate. We often get asked about what to expect or how to pass the interview, our best advice is to stay calm, emphasise your strenghts and just be normal and friendly. The people interviewing you have been to work at camp and should make the interview very relaxed and friendly.
A few months before summer begins all the large companies hold recruitment fairs throughout the world. This is a great way for you to get hired and secure a place at a US summer camp.
Top Tips for Attending Camp Fairs from Past Staff
I was overwhelmed by the vast number of camp directors who had flown over to Britain to hire staff. Archery classes With so many camps, each catering with a different section of American society, to choose from, it's advisable to have an idea of what kind of camp you would like to be placed at before you arrive at the fair. As I am undertaking a degree in drama and theatre studies I decided that I would like to teach drama at camp. Each camp had its own stall at the fair, often displaying a poster listing available positions such as general councillor, drama specialist etc. By looking for camps that specified they were looking for a drama specialist, the experience became far less intimidating. Knowing what I wanted to do at camp, meant I was able to narrow my search down to a handful of camps that interested me, rather than enquiring about positions at the 300 or so camps which were recruiting at the fair.
Going to camp for the first time? Don't have a clue what to pack? There are lots of things you should take, and also lots of things to leave behind! View our recommendations for the top things to pack for working at a US summer camp and get prepared before departing...
On arrival at camp you will have an orientation which is usually included in an initial week where you will get to know your surroundings and fellow staff. This orientation is usually fun and will prepare you for the summer ahead, learn how camp operates - you will get to know the rules, tasks and what is expected of you during summer. You might also be placed in a cabin and be given roles and specific duties.
On some jobs you will sleep in the same cabin as a camp counselor whilst other roles you might be living with other staff. Cabins and living conditions can be rustic so be prepared. Sometimes you might be living in the same cabin as 8 children or more.
Do not think you are going to earn a fortune when working at a camp, if you work out the amount you pay in the registration and the number of hours you work over summer it might be quite low but this experience is not all about the money. You should consider the money as a bonus, this job really does provide you with a life changing experience and if you ask any previous staff they would do it for free. Usually you will be paid around $1000 - $2500, if you are a returnee you can expect to be paid more.
The visa you gain to work at camp also allows you to travel and see more of North America after finishing a job. The cheapest way to get around the US after working at camp is the Megabus or Greyhound bus service which connects the whole country - if you are looking to explore on a budget this is the option for you. General prices for example New York to Niagara Falls (approx $75) and San Francisco to Los Angeles ($45). Both Megabus and Greyhound are both very reliable but due to the size of the USA journeys can be long. An alternative is to join tours in the USA and see new places like New York, LA and Las Vegas just to name a few. You might also like to view our other work and travel programs in the USA or search our USA gap year opportunities.
G Adventures offer 64 small group adventures in North America including overland and camping tours, click the banner below to search all trips.