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Escape your dreary 9-5 and spend your days tearing around the great outdoors at a summer camp in Canada

Whether this is your first or your fifth year in England, it’s hard to adjust to its poor excuse for a summer. So why not escape on a holiday that you get paid to take and adds to your CV, too?

Summer camps are a great option, giving you the chance to travel, get active outdoors, and earn money for the privilege. But we’re not just talking about the usual Camp America. TNT checks out their friendly neighbours for something a little different...


Why Canada?

As well as being seriously stunning, the Canadian landscape is a giant playground for adventure-seekers, with activities such as horseriding, canoeing, climbing and trekking on offer.

“Canada has a huge amount of untouched wilderness that you get to explore,” says Jonathan Nyquist, founder of NYQuest, which helps place applicants in 55 camps across North America. “Our participants get a chance to travel before and/or after their work experience and there is no shortage of amazing places to visit.”


Row your boat: canoe in Canada

What are the camps like?

It depends what experience you want: NYQuest matches your needs and preferences with the camps it has on its books, so it’s worth filling out your application form with the camp you want in mind. Some examples are Camp Summit in British Columbia, which is the rock climbing capital of Canada; you can sleep in tipis at YMCA Camp Chief Hector in Alberta; Camp Timberlane in Ontario has tennis, hockey and baseball, and Camp White Pine has drama and a ‘School of Rock’.

Or, for a really rewarding experience, there are camps such as the Tim Horton Children’s Ranch in Alberta. Belinda Brand, an Australian who spent three months in the latter camp, tells us: “There is now a time in my life that I refer to as ‘BC’ – before camp. Before camp, I had never been to Canada. Before camp, I’d never interacted with children who essentially have nothing, and I’d never been able to be an agent for change in those same children’s lives. Before camp, I was a different person.” 

What jobs are there?

Counsellors are the most hands-on of the staff: they work directly with the campers, take them on trips and join in with all the activities.    

Then there are specialists, who will have a particular activity skill, and so they will regularly host that activity session for all the camp’s groups.    

Support staff do the hard graft, such as the kitchen duties and general maintenance. If you have a skill that you think could be useful at a summer camp, it’s always worth getting in touch.

While many Canadian summer camps start their recruitment drives between eight and nine months prior to the season, there’s often need for “top-up” staff. Still, to be in with the best chance, you want to be making your applications as early as the previous September. 


Talkback


Working abroad: How to get a job at a summer camp in Canada
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