If you’re looking for a way to travel abroad, make money, and learn new skills, being a camp counsellor in America this summer is perfect for you!
You’ll meet amazing new people and discover other cultures, all while getting valuable work experience. The experience of spending the summer at camp will earn you lifelong friends, mental health benefits, and skills that you will take with you to college and the working world.
When you work as a camp counsellor, you’ll get all of these amazing benefits:
- Earn real life skills for your CV/resume
- Get to know other cultures
- Improve your English skills (if you’re not a native speaker)
- Earn a salary of at least $2,000
- Travel the United States for up to 30 days after camp is over
At AmeriCamp, we’ve helped connect people with summer camps in America for over ten years, and we’ve been named “Best Summer Camp in America Organisation” for eight years. We make the experience as easy as possible by handling the hard stuff, so you can focus on preparing for the trip of a lifetime!
Whether you want to apply to be a camp counsellor this summer or you just want to learn more about the job, we’re going to break down what it’s like to be a camp counsellor, skills you’ll earn, and how to get started. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is An American Camp Counsellor?
Many people think of USA summer camps as the ultimate American experience, thanks to the many movies about summer camp! While the stereotypical summer camp does exist, actually working at camp is that and so much more. As a camp counselor, you’ll have all the fun of the summer camp experience and do rewarding work to make a difference in the lives of the campers!
American camp counsellors mainly work wherever they are needed, since your activities and duties will vary depending on the type of camp you work at:
- Private camps
- Non-profit camps
- Special needs camps
- Themed camp
- Religious camps
- Day camps
Camp counsellors are support for other counsellors and leaders for the kids at summer camp. They spend the day with the campers, wake them up for breakfast, eat meals with them, do fun activities, and get them ready for bed. As a camp counsellor, you’ll have the opportunity to lead activities and sports, and maybe learn some new ones yourself!
What’s It Like Being A Camp Counsellor In The USA?
Being a camp counsellor in America is the perfect way to spend your summer making new friends, experiencing a different culture, learning valuable skills, and earning some money! With over 900 camps across the country, you’ll have the opportunity to work at some of the best summer camps in the US. Check out our breakdown of camp counsellor duties below.
USA Camp Counsellor Job Description
The responsibilities of a camp counsellor change daily, depending on the camp you work at and the needs of the day, but a summer camp counselor’s job description generally includes:
- Preparations for campers
- Managing food and meals
- Organizing and planning activities
- Leading campers through activities
- Cleaning up
- Down time
The best thing about being a counsellor is that every day is different and full of new adventures. After a couple days, you’ll be a pro at adapting to the day and getting the work done. You can also read up on our top camp counsellor tips to get a better idea of what you’ll be doing at camp!
American Camp Counsellor Schedule
Working at a camp means that the days can be unpredictable, but we’ve broken down the basics of what a counsellor’s schedule looks like. Here is the typical day at summer camp for a camp counsellor:
- 6:30am: Wake up and get ready for the activities you have planned for the day!
- 7:15am: Wake your campers up and make sure they have everything they need.
- 8:00am: Breakfast for you and your campers—make sure to pack snacks!
- 9:00am-12:00pm: Three morning activities that vary from swimming to fire building.
- 12:15pm-1:30pm: Eat lunch with your campers and get them excited for the rest of the day.
- 1:30pm-2:45pm: Relax with and get to know your campers—maybe even break out the card games.
- 3:00pm-6:00pm: More activities!
- 6:00pm-7:15pm: Time for the biggest meal of the day: dinner! Stick around for some tasty dessert too.
- 7:30pm-8:30pm: An evening activity varying from dancing to a treasure hunt!
- 8:45pm-9:30pm: Get your campers ready for bed and prepared for tomorrow.
- 9:30pm-10:15pm: Time to relax—catch up with family, do some reading, or brainstorm the American destinations you want to visit after Camp!
- 10:15pm: Catch up with a staff meeting about events and information.
- 10:45pm: Time to take time for yourself. Get an early night’s rest or spend all night talking to your counsellor friends!
Days at camp start early and end late—but it’s all worth it! The days are jam packed with fun and exciting activities that help you improve your work skills and get to know amazing people.
American Summer Camp Activities
Activities at Camp are constantly changing and give you the opportunity to do new things! The activities you do day-to-day include all of these and so much more:
- Team sports: Lead a team of campers with soccer, frisbee golf, baseball, football, volleyball, obstacle courses, and so much more!
- Water sports: Head into the water for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, fishing, snorkeling, windsurfing, and plenty others.
- Arts & crafts: Explore your creative side with drawing, ceramics, tie-dye, sculptures, costume design, murals, sewing, and many other creative activities.
- Theatre & music: Watch some great performances with acting, drums, piano, guitar, dancing, and more ways to get musical!
- Outdoors: Help campers safely do activities like hiking, climbing, fire building, animal tracking, horseback riding, archery, and other “typical camp” activities!
- Wellness & education: Learn with the campers about topics like meditation, yoga, farming, computers, animal care, martial arts, and graphic design.
The variety of activities at camp means that you and your campers will never be bored!
Skills You’ll Earn As A Camp Counsellor In America
Working as a camp counsellor gives you skills that will help you in the working world!
74% of camp counsellors say that working at a camp made them more prepared for college. The skills you earn at camp will aid you in college, with volunteer work, at your job, and in your personal life. Some of the skills you’ll earn include:
- Work ethic
- Personal growth
- Public speaking
The days at camp are long and jam packed, just like the days at a full-time job or at college! One of the most important skills in a workplace is the ability to motivate yourself to get all of your work done. With your schedule at camp, you’ll wake up early and always get your tasks done for the day, so you’ll be ready to work hard in the future!
86% of employers look for problem-solving skills on a resume, and summer camp is one of the best ways to get this skill. Your days at camp are unpredictable and involve working with a variety of people. Of course, there’s going to be problems that need solving, whether it’s running behind schedule or a camper losing their shoe! You’ll learn how to adapt to new situations and feel proud of yourself for doing so!
While you might not list it on a resume, being a camp counsellor in America will change how you view the world in many ways! You’ll experience new cultures, become more creative, and learn how to adapt to unpredictable situations. You’ll gain a better understanding of your own traditions and beliefs and become more self-aware, a skill that will stick with you for your entire life.
The best thing about camp is that everyone comes out of it with something new they learned about themselves. Past counsellor Louis found confidence in providing kids with the best summer ever:
“AmeriCamp gives you essential life skills and teaches you responsibility. Summer Camp in America is one of the highlights for most American children and it’s a great feeling knowing that you’re making a contribution to making sure that their Summer is as fun as possible. The Camp experience also helps to build confidence, while making friends along the way. Your knowledge and skills can benefit the Campers more than you might think and might, in turn, help your co-counsellors to learn new skills and gain valuable knowledge for later life.”
No matter what camp you work at, we can guarantee you’ll discover a new trait about yourself!
Working with a team is one of the most important skills you can learn. At camp, you’ll meet people with different beliefs and backgrounds, since the US is a melting pot of culture! Three out of four businesses list collaboration skills as “very important” in a workplace. Just like in college and your future career, you’ll need to work with others to put your skills forward to get the best results.
When talking to your campers and explaining instructions, you’ll be speaking in front of large groups. If you feel nervous about this—don’t worry! You’ll have the support of your counsellor team, and after a while, public speaking will feel like nothing!
Working as a camp counsellor will give you leadership skills that make you more desirable to employers and give you confidence in college. Being a leader means that you’re compassionate, empathetic, intelligent, organized, and respectful. All these traits make you a great student, worker, and friend to others.
You may be surprised by how quickly you gain leadership skills at camp and become a pro at leading others! Past counsellor Laura shared an in-depth recap of her time with AmeriCamp:
“As much as I mostly went to a summer camp in America for the opportunity to travel, get a tan, get paid and get to work with children, also in the long term has been great for my CV. It’s brilliant being about to put it down and talk about all the experiences and skills that I have gained through working at a summer camp. I also went back for my second summer to the same camp on a promotion to the management team, so getting to put that down for future employers to see is entirely invaluable. I definitely couldn’t have progressed as quickly to management working in the kind of retail job that I would have done if I’d stayed in the UK.”
Becoming a summer camp counsellor is the perfect way to discover the leader that you are and get some valuable practice! Maybe you’ll even join the management team at camp just like Laura.
How To Become A Summer Camp Counsellor In America
Ready to become a camp counsellor? We’re here to help! At AmeriCamp, we help you navigate all the difficult parts of finding programs in the US and dealing with visa processes. We provide all the resources you need so that you can focus on the fun stuff—being a camp counsellor in America! You can contact us at any time to get help with applying, visa processes, or any questions you have. Read below to find out how to become a camp counselor!
To apply to be an AmeriCamp camp counsellor, you’ll need a J-1 visa (also known as the Visitor Exchange Program), which lets foreign nationals join educational and cultural programs in the US.
As a U.S. Department of State designated J-1 visa sponsor, our team will support you through the process of getting your visa, which includes:
- Filling out a DS-2019 form
- Submitting required documents
- Attending an interview at the US Embassy or Consulate
The visa processing time can take up to four weeks, so make sure you consider this as you prepare for your trip.
To qualify for camp, you need to be:
- 18 before June 1st of your intended program year
- Proficient in spoken English
- Able to pass a local background check
- Free of criminal history
- Available from early June to mid August
Once you meet these qualifications, it’s time to learn more and get started on becoming a camp counsellor!
Cost & Benefits
Becoming a camp counsellor with AmeriCamp involves some fees and costs to get you there, but you’ll get paid a salary of at least $2,000 for working in one of our stunning camps in America! For first-time applicants, pay £379 in full or £396 over three payments and a deposit. Returning counsellor costs vary, but you are free to negotiate your salary after your first year!
Program cost includes:
- DS-2019 Form
- Interview fee
- Health insurance
3rd party fees include flights, the embassy fee for your J-1 visa appointment [$160], your medical check, and a criminal background check (DBS) [£65].
Aside from the salary benefits, you’ll also get medical insurance during your time in the US, 24-hour assistance through AmeriCamp’s emergency helpline, accommodation and meals included, and up to 30 days after Camp to travel the country!
To apply to be an AmeriCamp camp counsellor, you’ll need to:
- Submit an initial application
- Submit a local background check
- Provide medical history
- Share references
- Share qualifications you have (like CPR certification)
- Complete your camp counsellor interview
The camp counsellor interview may seem intimidating, but it’s pretty casual! One of our AmeriCamp ambassadors will use the interview as a chance to get to know you and talk about what skills and experience you will bring to camp. This makes it easier to place you in a camp perfect for you!
After your interview, it’s time to be #plACed! AmeriCamp has a 99% placement rate, so you can trust that you’ll love the camp you work at. Placement happens at any time up to early June, but the earlier you apply, the earlier you’ll be placed.
If you’re ready to become a camp counsellor in America and have the adventure of a lifetime, get started on your application today!
Work as an American Camp Counsellor with AmeriCamp This Summer!
If you want to get a summer camp job, make new friends, explore stunning locations in America, work with kids, and earn valuable life skills, becoming a camp counsellor in the US is the way to go! We know how difficult it can be to make the push to travel abroad, which is why we take care of the paperwork so that you can focus on having fun. Most importantly, we love the places we visit and are dedicated to sustainability, which is why each person who applies for AmeriCamp equals one tree planted.
Have more questions or want to learn more? Read our FAQ or contact us. If you want to read more first-hand experiences of camp, check out some reviews from past counsellors!
Applications for summer 2023 are open now. When you’re ready to join us for the adventure of a lifetime, apply here!