Roles at Camp

Whatever your skills, knowledge, or experience, as long as you have the work ethic and a burning desire to make a positive impact on the lives of children, there is a job for you at camp!

Female counselor reading to campers
Male and female counselors with campers in America

General Summer Camp Counselor

Don’t worry, ‘counselor’ does not mean psychologist or therapist! A counselor at camp is responsible for the general well-being of a group of campers and makes sure they are safe.

As a general counselor you will live in a bunk with one or more co-counselors and a group of children. You can expect to join in lots of different activities with your bunk, so flexibility and a positive attitude are a must!! Expect to share some games and activities that are specific to your country as you share your culture with your fellow counselors and campers. If you have great childcare experience but less knowledge in a specific activity, this is the job for you! A large portion of the summer camp jobs available include working as a general counselor.

Camper and counselor on ropes course
Soccer coaches and camper at summer camp

Specialist Summer Camp Counselor

Specialist counselors take on the overall responsibility for coaching and organizing a particular activity at camp. If you have a certification or experience teaching a specific skill, then this is the role for you! A specialist counselor provides daily instruction in a specific activity (or activities) to groups of campers. The types of specialist skills in demand by camps are numerous, so don’t forget to include all your skills and certifications in your online profile! Specialist counselors also take part in overall camp life, so be prepared to live in a cabin with campers, join in evening programs, and help with other activities.

Your Role

What does being a summer camp counselor involve? This program has been designed for you to spend a fun and worthwhile summer working with children in America, but it’s definitely not a free holiday! Working as a camp counselor can be hard work with long hours, but for most participants, it’s hugely rewarding and enjoyable if you’re prepared to throw yourself into the spirit of camp life.

Usually, two or three counselors are assigned to a cabin of four to eight children, who they take responsibility for at camp. The camp director expects staff to set a good example, ensure that the children keep themselves and the cabin clean, and that they follow the camp’s routine. Your responsibility for the children may include dealing with homesickness and personal problems, as well as looking after and teaching them. Your role is like that of brother/sister/parent/teacher/friend and cheerleader all rolled into one!

You will have an orientation once you arrive at camp. This can last from one day to one week, depending on your camp. This orientation could include preparing the camp for the kids’ arrival or getting to know your role and how the camp operates. You may not know all of your duties until after the orientation when your camp director has assessed all the staff and assigned the various jobs.

A Full-time Job

You should be prepared to spend 24 hours a day with the children, living and sleeping in the same cabin, working, and playing with them. It can be hard work at times, but incredibly rewarding if you’re up for the challenge!

Working as a counselor can be a beneficial and enjoyable experience for anyone with the desire and enthusiasm to work with children, whether you have a specialist skill or sports ability, or not.

Teachers or trainee teachers find that camp is as relevant and useful to gain experience working directly with children. Non-teachers and non-students have much to contribute to and gain from the program as well. There are also many openings for those with experience working with mentally, physically, or socially disadvantaged children.

Camp is amazing. It’s not what I expected at all. It’s ten times betterSummer Camp Participant

Female support staff with horse at camp
Man builds summer camp fire

Support Summer Camp Staff

Your Role

What does being a Support Staff member involve? If you have office, maintenance, kitchen, or housekeeping experience, then this is the role for you at camp. Every camp requires a team behind the scenes, ensuring everyone has everything they need to keep the camp running smoothly.

Support staff roles generally involve a higher salary and more free time, but you will not live with children. Support staff typically live in a cabin with other members of the support staff team. You will be trained once you arrive at camp, and be prepared to not know all of your duties until after orientation when your supervisor has assessed all the staff and tasks. Please note, you must be a full – time student in either college or university to be eligible to work as support staff.

A Full-time Job

You should be prepared to spend long days at work. A typical work schedule for support staff in the kitchen could be:

6.30 a.m. Begin work, prepare, serve, and clean up breakfast
10.30 a.m. Break
11.30 a.m. Prepare, serve, and clean up lunch
2.00 p.m. Break
5.00 p.m. Prepare, serve, and clean up dinner
7.30 p.m. Finish work

Whilst you may start at 6.30 a.m. and finish your day at 7.30 p.m., this does not mean you are working 13 hours. With breaks for lunch and general breaks throughout the day, on average you will work 10 hours per day.

The amount of your involvement in camp life is up to you. Support staff have to be willing to put forth the effort to spend time with cabins when not in the kitchen and make friends with counselors.

You can expect to have one day off per week and often two days off at the end of every session(between one set of campers leaving and the next arriving). That two day break is an ideal time to travel off camp and visit a bigger city or a destination further away from camp.

Begin your application today!