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.”

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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. 

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Rock out: channel Jack Black at the School of Rock in Camp White Pine

What’s the pay?

You do this for the experience, not the money, as camp counsellors earn up to CA$1600 (£1000) for an 8-10 week summer placement, while support staff earn up to CA$1700 (£1100). On the plus side, your accommodation and meals are all covered, plus health insurance, transportation, training and phone and internet.

The costs you have to cover include your return flight, application fee, programme fee, Canadian work permit fee and background and medical check fees. With NYQuest, your application fee and programme fee totals CA$600 (£385), although if you return to the same camp the following year, the programme fee for that season is waived.

The company also offers a flight assist programme, where it pays for your flight upfront and then deducts it from your camp salary.

How do I apply?

NYQuest has closed its official applications for the season, but it’s worth getting in touch with the camp you want, just in case they are looking for someone with your skill set. To start planning for summer 2014, sign up at go-nyquest.com so that you receive an email alert when applications re-open in October this year.programs),


To work at a camp in Canada you must…

• Be available to travel by June 24 and work until at least August 22

• Be age 19-27 by June 1 of the placement year

• Have a clean criminal record

• Be in good physical and psychological health

• Be able to work long hours with children and teenagers

• Be comfortable leading activities

• Be willing to have a go at a wide range of sports and wilderness camping experiences• Be able to speak good English

Keen on Canadian Culture? Why not check out some of the great deals available at TNT Tour Search?

Photos: Thinkstock; Getty