Being a camp counselor is often times seen as a right of passage in the United States. Teens of all ages get together to work with children, giving them the best summer ever before they return to school. This enriching, exciting, and action-packed role is a great way to spend your summer in the USA. It has never been easier to work with the best summer camp in the USA.
Here at AmeriCamp, we provide the highest quality cross-cultural opportunities for US summer campers and international counselors alike. We make it easy for UK youth to embark on the adventure of a lifetime in the best summer camps in the USA, removing all the hardest parts of the process so camp counselors can focus on what matters: having the best summer ever.
History of Summer Camps in the USA
Summer camp is a staple of American culture, and summer camps in the USA for children are a thriving business with no sign of slowing down.
Children are sent to sleep-away camps, day camps, and half-day programs all over the country to fill their summers with fun. Kids and parents alike are always looking for ways to enjoy the time before school starts up again, and camp counselors play a crucial role in the summer experience.
Camps are located all over the United States in both rural and urban areas. Some are run as overnight programs and others are run as day programs. Types of camps include:
- Private camps: privately owned and run by individuals or families
- Non-profit camps: owned or run by a nonprofit
- Special needs camps: dedicated for children and adults with disabilities
- Themed camps: focused on a sport or activity
- Religious camps: with a focus on a religion or religious philosophy
- Day camps: open only during daytime hours
What It Means to Be a Counselor for a Summer Camp in the USA
There is no better place to go than the great outdoors in the beautiful summer sun. Summer camps offer a variety of incredible outdoor activities for counselors and kids to enjoy. From ziplining to kayaking, summer camp is one of the best ways to connect with nature and explore new experiences.
For children, camp can be a formative experience. Studies show that incorporating the art and activities programs in summer camps into a child’s life can promote positive development.
According to the Children and Youth Services Review, “short-term interventions such as day camps that incorporate the arts and athletics may be a vehicle to facilitate positive youth development and promote interest in post-secondary education among youth”
Counselors serve as role models, guides, and best friends that teach children about how to make connections, nature, and independence. This experience can be just as educational for counselors as it is for children.
Our AmeriCamp camp counselors have experienced the benefits of being part of the best summer camps in the USA. These benefits include:
- Cultural exchange and personal growth
- Independence and work experience
- An incredible travel opportunity
Cultural Exchange & Personal Growth
Summer camp provides an experience that is rich in cultural immersion.
Counselors will have the chance to look at the world through a different lens and create a larger understanding of the world by interacting with American culture in a hands-on way. US American culture is rich, especially at summer camps. Classic American games like baseball and volleyball are played daily, typically followed by classic American summer cuisine.
Independence & Work Experience
Counselors will have the chance to get an idea of what it’s like to live away from home and become more self-reliant and independent through their work at the summer camps.
Gaining experience away from home can be a great way to adapt and overcome without the help of being on home turf, which pushes travelers to grow and develop new skills that will benefit them in the future.
An Incredible Travel Opportunity
Traveling is one of the best ways to enrich your life and develop a deeper understanding of yourself. The health and wellness benefits of traveling are well documented and have shown a very positive impact on young people.
Traveling can open the doors to relationships and newfound passions that wouldn’t be possible without exploring the world. However, traveling and staying in another country can often be inaccessible for youth. An opportunity to spend a summer abroad and get paid while doing so can change that.
What AmeriCamp offers in terms of experience is the ultimate growth and self-improvement opportunity (without all the bureaucracy and hassle).
Former counselor Lizzie Haddington shared her experience with the AmeriCamp community:
“I LOVE this company! I was lucky to find them and I’m extremely lucky to be working for them! Whenever I have needed help, advice or just general guidance they have always been a phone call away. AmeriCamp is not just a company, it’s a family and I am blessed to have such inspirational people as role models. Roll on Summer 2017 for Summer number 5!”
Depending on where a camp counselor is placed, they have different opportunities to explore the wonders that America has while still completing the summer camp experience.
A wide variety of National Parks, delicious restaurants, amusement parks, and other American staples are right around the corner, and each placement has something special to offer.
AmeriCamp counselors are able to travel and gain their own experience outside of camp during their stay in America. Many AmeriCamp counselors return with amazing stories about their travels, and there are a ton of amazing things to do and see in America. Here are a few lists to get you started:
- 5 Things To Do on the West Coast
- 6 Things To Do In Miami
- 5 US Cities Foodies Need to Visit
- 4 Best US National Parks
How to Work at the Best Summer Camps in the USA
AmeriCamp makes your traveling experience as easy as possible by helping with paperwork, visas, travel plans, and more. The process has never been easier when it comes to travel, so you can focus on making steps towards having the best summer ever. We’ll guide you through the following:
- Doing The Paperwork
- Planning Your Itinerary & Flights
- The Application Process
- Accessing Medical Support
- Earning Money Abroad
- Finding a Placement
Doing The Paperwork
This is one of the areas we specialize in because we know how hard it is to understand all the government paperwork. At AmeriCamp, we will help you apply for your J-1 camp counselor visa after you’re placed at a camp.
A J-1 Camp Counselor visa allows you to visit the U.S. and work during the summer. In order to participate in the Camp Counselor Program, you will need to have the appropriate J-1 Visitor Exchange Program Visa.
The purpose of the Visitor Exchange Program is to provide foreign nationals with the opportunity to participate in educational and cultural programs in the U.S. The Exchange Visitor Program includes 13 different exchange program categories, including the Camp Counselor Program.
At AmeriCamp, we provide a service team to assist in finding the lowest price for document processing and submission, ensuring that you are stress-free as you plan for your adventure.
There is a 24-hour helpline for counselors to use in case they are having trouble, and there will always be a team member ready to assist.
Planning Your Itinerary & Flights
Figuring out where to go and how to get to a new country doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
We provide you with an expert team to send you quotes and assist in booking your flight, getting you the best possible rate.
Our team is available 24/7 to ensure you always have someone to help you with your transportation. We can also assist any camp counselor that may need to return home early for any reason.
The Application Process
All J-1 camp counselor applicants are required to be 18 before June 1st of their program year in order to qualify for a position.
Prior experience is a plus, but not a requirement.
The initial application takes about 60 minutes to complete. The steps are simple:
- Apply for the program
- Submit all required documents
- Match with a camp
- Prepare for your adventure (we’ll help you with that)
Interviews are conducted after the application is submitted, and after the interview is complete, you will hear back from AmeriCamp with further instructions.
Accessing Medical Support
Camp counselors deserve the peace of mind on their adventure, so AmeriCamp offers medical insurance for 90 days covering both your counseling time and time off. This is just one less thing for counselors to worry about as they work at the camps. If there is an injury or illness sustained, AmeriCamp has the resources to help counselors and will do everything it can to make the situation run as smoothly as possible.
Finding a Placement
Knowing which camp counselors will be placed in is one of the most exciting parts of the process. AmeriCamp’s team works with a group of placement coordinators and camp directors to personally assign each counselor to a camp. Camp directors play a key role in the process, allowing camps to be matched with counselors that fit their needs.
Earning Money Abroad
Counselors are able to earn a minimum of $2,000 in their first summer, and returning counselors are able to negotiate payment with their previous employers making it easy to earn even more.
If you have more questions, we got you! Check out our frequently asked questions. The most important part is making sure camp counselors have the best experience possible, even in the application process.
All prospective counselors should focus on prioritizing having a positive experience and preparing for an exciting summer.
Finding a Placement
We have many returning counselors. Many counselors fall in love with their camps and return each and every summer to work again.
Our service aims to bring counselors together with camps that fit them best. Our placement process is efficient and effective, using a team of placement-trained coordinators and our camp directors to search through applications for the perfect placement, a process that has resulted in a high counselor retention rate.
AmeriCamp makes sure to go through the proper steps when placing our counselors and all information about the placement process is available online.
We encourage you to be open to various locations, and not be too set on a certain place.
Once the program ends, counselors have a 30-day grace period to travel to any location they want. In other words, where you are placed does not impact your ability to travel! There are unique experiences at all of our camp locations.hey all deliver an exciting summer.
The Role of an American Summer Camp Counselor
This role is not just about being in charge of a camp group. Being a counselor means being a leader, a voice of reason, and a friend. It is important that counselors know what it takes to do their best work at summer camp.
What Makes a Great Camp Counselor?
A great counselor has a lot of amazing qualities. These include:
- Being organized
- Being patient
- Being fun
- Having a great memory
- Having a loud voice (you might need it!)
A great counselor is someone who wants to be there, gets to know the campers and wants to ensure they have a great time and experience.
The Skills to be a Great Camp Counselor
The skills necessary for participating in activities are easy to learn, and fun to use. You will kayak, play kickball, swim, and explore with your campers and experience the summer activities alongside them.
Knowing what to expect and how to participate in these fun and exciting activities can make the transition easier, and AmeriCamp is happy to help along the way.
The general skills camps seek out coincide with these activities and can improve your chances of engaging with other opportunities in the future.
Being a camp counselor in the USA has many benefits, including in future employment endeavors. Returning counselor Louis Bird tells us, “Camp is a great addition to your CV and will benefit you when applying for a job in the future.”
American summer camp is a vehicle to create new relationships and build new skills that translate over into other aspects of life. Join us at AmeriCamp to have a summer you will never forget, make friends for life, and travel around the world!
Apply with us today for the experience of a lifetime. AmeriCamp wants to help young adults see the world, one camp at a time. We’ll see you across the pond!