Living and working overseas

Summer Camp Jobs

The Summer Camp Handbook
By Chris Thurber & Jon Malinowski

Everything You Need to Find, Choose and Get Ready for Overnight Camp . Highly recommended reading.

Click here for more information

Working as a camp counselor at a summer camp in the USA can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life and it can also act as a springboard to more adventures in and around the USA once your job is over.

Being a camp counselor is much more than just a job though – you are a guide, a confidant, a friend and a role model to the children in your charge. You’ll be in constant demand, from early in the morning to late into the evening, 7 days a week, for up to nine weeks so you’ll need to have unlimited energy, patience and enthusiasm, and a willingness to get involved with the children at all times.

Camp counselors from all over the world are in high demand every year from the hundreds of summer camps dotted around the USA. The camps themselves are mostly out in the great outdoors and are as varied as the children that attend them, so there is plenty of scope for finding a job that suits your particular skills and interests.

Summer camps in the USA normally start around June and go for a period of about nine to twelve weeks, depending on the camp, with the season finishing in August.

Although the hours can be long, the lure for the many people from all over the world who each year clamor for counselor positions is the chance to spend a summer in the USA, making friends, and the opportunity to earn a little money to kick-start further travel in the USA (the J-1 visa that is required by overseas applicants to work as a counselor in the USA generally allows for extra time to travel at the end of the camp).

Counselors are generally paid a nominal salary for their time working at the camp. This is a contracted amount that covers the duration of your time working at the camp irrespective of the actual hours worked. While you’re not likely going to retire on the money you’ll make working as a camp counselor, you will be provided with free lodging (be prepared to share a room with others) and free meals each day. Because camps are competing to attract the best counselors, other perks such as free laundry, free Internet access, day trips on your days off etc., can also be part of the remuneration package.

As a summer camp counselor, you’ll be working alongside other counselors from all over the world as well as US counselors. Staff numbers at these camps can number into the hundreds, with some of the camps being very large indeed.

Life as a summer camp counselor is a great opportunity to meet new people and possibly make friends for life and you’ll undoubtedly leave a lasting, positive, impression on the lives of the children you meet.

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