Lake-front wood cabins, sleeping out under the stars, marshmallows and camp songs around an open fire – this American dream could be yours for eight weeks next summer.
To help, here’s everything you need to know about getting a job at a US camp.
What roles are there?
Wild Packs Summer Camp Placement takes on 1000 staff at 120 camps a year. Whether you’re into watersports, hiking, art, or simply want to be a good friend to the happy campers, they’ll find a match for you.You can either be an instructor – which requires expert knowledge in a field, be it climbing, lifeguarding or drama – or a camp counsellor, who spends all day with their cabin crew going from activity to activity and are often more of a shoulder to lean on.
As expected, Antipodeans are particularly desirable candidates, known not just for their enthusiasm and confidence, but also for their water skills and experience.
Camps range from the traditional – sports, art, and, of course, campfire sing-alongs – to the more specialised, where budding actors or fine artists choose to spend their summers, so if you have experience treading the boards or painting the walls (in a creative sense), then you could be suited for one of these spots.
There are also camps for disabled children or kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, though counsellors for these must have specific experience. If kids aren’t your thing, there are also jobs working as cleaners, cooks or in the offices, which obviously requires the relevant experience. Wild Packs and other placement agents will help match your skills to the most suitable camp.
What experience do you need?
When it comes to your background, enthusiasm, motivation and some experience working with kids are the most important factors. Although it doesn’t have to have been a life hobby, it is recommended you spend sometime either babysitting or volunteering with a local Brownie or Scout troop before you apply.
Certification is required mainly in the area of watersports, but above all, past experience and a passion for the activities will get you the job.
“Motivation and passion are the biggest things we’re looking for,” explains Ella Breakfield, who works with WildPacks and has spent four summers working at a camp. “If you go in with high energy, you’ll get that back. It’s an exhausting job but it’s completely worth it.”
What you get in return:
Pay is low but most camps offer enough to break even – about £1000 for the season,which covers flights and then some.
Some camps will pay directly into your account while others will help you set up with a local bank.
While there you won’t spend a penny as all food and accommodation is provided. The team at Wild Packs will help you get all your paperwork for a visa and a police check in order. They also cover your medical insurance.
Tying it in with travel:
A chance to see the States is another great opportunity on offer. Lots of counsellors even end up staying with the families of their campers. A standard visa will allow you to travel for 60 days before or after your time at camp. Whether you want to travel across the country, take a camper van out West or party in Miami, this is a perk you’ll definitely want to take advantage of. If you tick the above boxes, bring on the ice-cold Buds and hot dogs – it’s time to become part of Team America!