How to Become a Camp Counselor
Becoming a camp counselor
It’s late fall, and as the air cools and your summer tan fades, you may already be dreaming about how to maximize your time in the great outdoors next summer. Add to that an interest in working with children and youth, and you may be thinking about being a summer camp counselor.
But how can you become a camp counselor? How do you find your summer camp job?
You need to want to be a camp counselor
If you’re going to be a camp counselor, you’ve got to want it.
Maybe you have fond memories of being a camper when you were a child, or you went on a life-changing outdoor adventure as a teen. Or perhaps you are an education major, a social work major, a child development major, or a psychology major in college, and want some boots-on-the-ground experience working in a field related to your major (internship credit, anyone?).
So get motivated, get informed about what it’s like to work at a camp, and take the first step towards finding a great summer camp job!
Apply for camp jobs the efficient way
When you’re ready to apply for a summer camp job, join us at CampGig.
Our goal is to make applying to be a camp counselor easy and efficient. We work continuously to be the most up-to-date, full-featured site that brings camps and potential summer camp staff together.
Simply put, we make finding a summer camp job as easy as possible: just fill out a profile form and wait for one of the many camps on CampGig to contact you!
Additional options for landing a camp job
Your other option is to post your resume on a standard jobs website like Indeed.com, on the resume page of the American Camping Association, or to research and apply directly to camps. But there are over 12,000 of them in the US alone, so using a specific camp hiring site such as CampGig is the best way to maximize your chance of being hired simply because it’s used by many camps across the US and Canada.
When do camps start hiring staff & counselors?
Camps begin searching for staff in October for the next summer. Most camps need to hire between 40% and 60% of their total staff size anew each year, as most counselors only work for a couple seasons while in college. This built-in turnover in the industry gives you a great opportunity to get hired, even if you’ve never heard of a camp or even been to the state it’s in!
But keep in mind: camps need to hire so many people, they may not look closely at your profile if it doesn’t stand out. And if they don’t look at your profile, you won’t get an interview.
Tips for finding a job as a camp counselor
Complete and post a full profile as soon as possible, then circle back to perfect it. Completing a profile immediately gets your name out there, so you don’t miss any opportunities. Then really work on it to get it perfect, to maximize the impact of your profile.
Spend some time creating a quality profile
Camp directors spend so much time looking for summer camp staff that all the applicants can begin to blend together. Your defense against being overlooked or forgotten is a great profile. So make sure to explain clearly who you are as well as enter all of your skills, experience, and characteristics.
Most importantly, though: Make it multi-media if you can. Nothing stands out more than images and videos, so upload a picture of a friendly-looking you. Share pictures of some of your awesome artwork or crafts, or a picture of you doing a camp-y activity or interacting with others. Show that you have what it takes to be a camp counselor: great social skills and experience with the types of activities you’ll do at camp.
Pro Tip: If you really want to make yourself memorable, spend the time to make a profile video. Years later, many hiring directors still remember the awesome profile videos of some of their all-time best international hires. CampGig gives everybody the chance to link a video. It’s still the minority of staff who link videos, so a good video is likely to give you a big leg up.
Pick the right camp for you
So you’ve got an awesome profile and several camps contact you for interviews. Sure, you have to ace the interviews, but how will you know which is the camp for you? We have a whole post about choosing the right camp for you, but here are the main points: Do some interview prep on the camp’s website and ask the right questions during your interview:
- Find out about the camp’s philosophy: does it align with your own?
- What kinds of children or youth does the camp serve?
- What does this counselor job entail? Ask about day and night duties, as well as time off.
- Where is the camp, and what is it like?
Then think about it! Will this position at this camp allow you to be successful and have the summer camp counselor experience you want to have?
Make a difference!
Ready, set, go! With the right camp counselor job, you’ll have an amazing summer and make a huge difference in some children’s lives! Whether you are planning to be a teacher or a social worker, or just to have a great summer making a difference before moving on to other things, you can have a great time and leave your mark.