What will you do this summer? get a part-time job at the local factory or warehouse? Stay at home and help your folks out? Well, have you ever considered spending the summer months working at one of the thousands of summer camps that operate each year all over the United States?
Summer Camps in the US are as much a part of the tradition as apple pie and maple syrup! Started back in the 1800's, summer camps today attract over 10 million children each summer who attend to participate in various activities with fellow campers and under the guidance of the camp counselors who work on the camps.
In every state you will find camps which offer all kinds of different themes and activities from general development camps to science camps and sports camps. Campers will generally attend for a week at a time and participate in a set of activities. As a summer camp counselor you are required to overlook these activities and ensure each camper has positive experience.
About being a camp counselor
Working as a summer camp counselor is not only a very rewarding and fun way to spend the summer months but it is also a great way to enhance your future career prospects and show that you have good qualities and skills. Most camps generally employ college students and require that you are available for around 11-12 weeks over the summer months while campers are in attendance.
The great thing about working as a summer camp counselor is that you don't necessarily require any formal qualifications, if you are applying for a general counselor position. Employers are looking for candidates that will be good role models to campers, will work hard and can interact well with and help develop the children that are attending the camps. If you are interested in being a specialist camp counselor like a sailing instructor or language teacher then you will obviously need some formal qualifications.
Types of camps
Today you will find all kinds of different camp opportunities. There are your traditional wilderness camps, sports camps and arts camps but you can even find video game camps, movie making camps and all other fun and interesting themes. Before you start thinking about applying to a summer camp you will want to consider what interests you have and whether spending an entire summer working in that area would be something you would enjoy.
The job requirements of staff at a summer camp vary significantly but as a general summer camp counselor you will be with a set of campers (between 8 - 10 at a time) 24 hours a day for the duration of their stay, normally 5 days at a time. You will wake campers up of a morning and ensure they are ready for the day ahead, supervise them eating breakfast then lead them on their morning activities.
During lunch you will supervise the participants you are responsible for before leading them in the afternoon activities. Once you are done for the day you will supervise dinner and then work with other camp counselors to deliver some fun evening activities before lights out for the night. The next day you will start all over again! It requires that you are working long hours and constantly active but it is a great deal of fun and you will have the opportunity to work with some great people and make friends that will last a long time.
Overseas Camp Counselors
One of the great things about summer camps is that they bring together many people from diverse backgrounds. Summer camps will usually employ staff from all over the world through various work abroad programs such as Camp America, CCUSA and Bunac. These programs help recruit international staff members and deal with employment visas. If you are not a US citizen and would like to work at a summer camp as a camp counselor we would recommend looking into one of the organizations mentioned above to find out more about what is involved.