Camp counselors make the whole summer experience possible—and that includes a lot of responsibilities. However, unlike a demanding office job with a laundry list of varied responsibilities, many camp counselors are equipped and ready to achieve common goals. A camp counselor’s main goal is to create an environment that creates a life-changing summer for all of their campers and for themselves.
Whether you’re looking to apply to a summer camp counselor job, learn more about what camp counselors do each day, or you’re looking to hire camp counselors for your upcoming summer, we are going to break down the entire summer camp counselor job description, and detail what summer camp counselors can bring to their future careers after one unforgettable summer.
- Summer Camp Counselor Job Description: The Basics
- What a Summer Camp Counselor’s Day Looks Like
- Summer Camp Counselor Requirements and Experience
- Summer Camp Counselor Job Description Template
- Transferable Skills A Summer Camp Counselor Can Bring to Future Jobs
- Camp Counselor Job Interview Questions
What a Summer Camp Counselor’s Day Looks Like:
A typical day at the best summer camps in the US is a long one, but the best summer camp counselors know how to jam-pack the days full of fun so that they breeze by. It’s no surprise that many campers report having the best and also the quickest—summers of their lives at camp.
Here’s the breakdown of a typical camp day from a counselor’s point-of-view:
- 6:00 am - Wake up + get ready.
- 7:00am - Wake-up call for your campers.
- 8:00am - Breakfast time for campers and counselors
- 9:00am - 12:00pm - Morning activities (ie soccer, basketball, rope courses, painting, writing)
- 12:15pm - 1:30pm - Lunch
- 1:30pm - 2:45pm - Free time for campers and counselors
- 3:00pm - 6:00pm - Afternoon activities (ie, swimming, diving, boating, pool games)
- 6:00pm - 7:15pm - DInner
- 7:30 - 8:30pm - Evening activity
- 8:45pm - 9:30pm - Campers get ready for bed
- 9:30pm - 10pm - Free time
- 10:15pm - Staff Meeting
- 10:45pm - Free time and much-needed time for sleep!
Summer Camp Counselor Requirements and Experience
As a J-1 camp counselor participant, you’ll have the opportunity to learn what it’s like to be in the United States and get to know the language, culture, and customs. You’ll be able to make friends and meet other campers, local communities, and explore different cities in the United States while making money.
- Preparations for campers
- Managing food and meals
- Organizing and planning activities
- Down time
Duties at camps do change based on the type of camp you join.
Summer Camp Counselor Job Description Template
Below, we’ve created a job description template that a summer camp could use to attract candidates. If you’re an aspiring camp counselor, use this job description as a guideline to what summer camps look for in an ideal camp counselor. Good luck!
Seeking Motivated and Positive Camp Counselors for Camp [NAME]
We are seeking an enthusiastic, creative and organized camp counselor to join our summer camp and create a summer to remember for each and every one of our campers! Camp counselors here at [CAMP] will play a key role in guiding and educating our campers through daily group events and outdoor activities. Camp counselors will have the ability to observe campers and respond calmly and swiftly to avoid behavioral incidents or injury. Camp counselors will collaborate with other counselors to create camp-wide recreational plans and activities, and lead campers in fun-filled projects.
Our ideal counselor is upbeat, energetic, motivated, and responsible. At the end of the day, we are looking for a positive counselor to give our campers a fun and safe experience.
Camp Counselor Job Responsibilities:
- Coordinate and oversee daily activities, projects, and camp programs
- Safely guide campers through a range of outdoor activities (ie. hiking, swimming, climbing)
- Supervise campers to ensure their safety, development, and well-being
- Ability to work both one-on-one and with an entire group of campers
- Set up and ensure recreation equipment is secure and stored properly
- Supervise campers during meals and free time
- Ensure sites cleanliness by guiding campers through daily routines and cleanup tasks
- Know, enforce, and follow safety and emergency procedures and guidelines
- Potential administrative tasks (filing, record keeping, etc.) as needed
Summer Working Hours:
Camp counselors are expected to work from [TIME RANGE] with [DETAIL SCHEDULES BREAKS] from Monday through Friday.
Dates for Camp [NAME] run from [~JUNE - ~AUGUST] with opportunities to earn overtime for interested camp counselors.
Camp Counselor Skills / Qualifications:
- High school degree or equivalent
- First aid and CPR training
- Previous experience in childcare, youth programs, recreation, education, or a related field
- Ability to multitask, prioritize, and manage time efficiently
- Strong people skills, such as leadership, patience, communication, problem-solving, and organization
- Must have a caring personality and the ability to act as a positive role model to campers
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Ability to be a team player as well as an independent problem-solver, depending on the task.
- Must be creative, imaginative, and energetic
- Computer skills, Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Excel)
- Strict adherence to Camp [NAME’S] mission
That’s an example of what a camp counselor job description might entail. If you’re looking to become a camp counselor this summer, you might not need to scour the internet for open camp counselor listings, after all. With AmeriCamp, an aspiring camp counselor can easily find placement at one of the best summer camps in the USA. Best of all, AmeriCamp has brilliant and personal customer service to walk you through all stages of your camp counselor job application!
Transferable Skills A Summer Camp Counselor Can Bring to Future Jobs
A summer camp counselor job is like a crash course in leadership, motivation, team-building, creative thinking, time management, and a slew of other 21st century skills that are crucial to the workplace.
Any former counselor will tell you that a 6- or 9-week opportunity to serve as a summer camp counselor changed their lives in a meaningful way. Many summer camp counselors take this summer job to figure out the next steps in their lives and careers. The best camp counselors will leverage the skills they have acquired or enhanced in order to progress in their own careers.
Some lucrative camp counselor job skills include:
- Leadership and Management
- Project management
- Critical thinking + Problem-solving
While there are many other skills learned on the job, let’s explore how camp counselors can take the best job they’ve ever had and foray it into a successful career!
Camp Counselors Learn Leadership and Management Skills
Did you know that 60% of new leaders fail within the first two years on the job? Since many leaders are promoted based on their job performance, leadership skills are often learned on the fly. Through no fault of their own, many leaders are thrust into management positions without ever having managed.
One huge skill set camp counselors can learn and master in the space of two summer months is how to effectively lead. From day one, camp counselors are entrusted with leadership responsibilities—and they need to take command quickly. Any camp counselor who has a proven record of uniting and working with a dozen middle schoolers can easily manage a team of office workers.
Head camp counselors will have even more management skills to showcase as they lead both camp counselors and campers.
Future Job Opportunities: Management roles, CEO, Entrepreneur
Camp Counselors Learn Team-Building Skills
Team-building skills can be described as an offshoot of leadership skills, but they are most nuanced. Team-building is a special skill that, when wielded effectively, allows every member of a team to work to their strengths in order to achieve an outcome together.
Camp counselors with team-building skills have the unique ability to pull potential out of every person on their time—no matter the activity. These camp counselors also ensure every one of their campers feel listened to and understood.
Camp Counselors Learn Project Management Skills
If you’ve seen a typical day at a summer camp, you know that the days are long and uninterrupted. Instead of a traditional 8-hour workday, camp counselors are often working from 7 am to after 10 pm—and that’s assuming their campers don’t get into any midnight mischief!
Each day at camp is its own project. Camp counselors are responsible for managing the activities for every day. Once one day draws to an end, the cycle starts once again. Counselors need to plan activities that are engaging, inclusive, and meaningful for each and every camper. This type of project management requires a massive amount of creative energy and management.
Future Job Opportunities: Project Manager, Product Manager
Camp Counselors Learn Critical Thinking + Problem-Solving Skills
Camp counselors have to be on-the-spot problem-solvers for a variety of potential disasters—both big and small. From an unexpected weather change to a disagreement between campers, counselors need to shift seamlessly to solve problems before they have the chance to spread.
Many counselors come into these roles with strong problem-solving skills, but these skills are only enhanced by unforeseeable problems. Not surprisingly, many camp counselors are able to take a sprained ankle, a torrential downpour, and a pre-teen disagreement in stride. They can solve all of these problems while ensuring that every party involved feels safe and cared for. Camp counselors are poised and remain calm and solution-focused under the most strenuous conditions.
Future Job Opportunities: Physician, Social Worker, Therapist, Air Traffic Controller
Camp Counselors Learn Empathy Skills
In the modern workplace and with the future of work, empathy is more important than ever. As many workplaces are globalized, it’s crucial to be able to connect with your coworker—whether they are seated at the desk next to you or halfway across the globe.
As many camp counselors come from abroad, they already have the attitude of a global citizen. By immersing themselves in new cultures and connecting with a group of campers from around the US, camp counselors gain perspective on all types of people.
In forming connections with other counselors and campers that may never have otherwise encountered in their daily lives, counselors create strong bonds with folks with different backgrounds, different beliefs and life experiences.
This aspect of summer camp is perhaps one of the most transformative for both campers and camp counselors. The camp atmosphere allows human empathy to blossom as everyone gathers around a fire to laugh, exchange stories, and understand each other better. It’s even more “kumbaya” than you might imagine!
Future Job Opportunities: Marketing, Leadership Roles.
Camp Counselors Learn Reliability Skills
In a remote and hybrid workplace, what employer is not looking for a trustworthy and reliable employee?
Camp counselors, entrusted to be responsible for the physical and emotional well-being of a group of campers, know that trust and reliability are at the core of their job.
In the workplace, reliability means following through on responsibilities, promises, and duties. It means leadership doesn’t feel the need to have surveillance going. Reliable employees are also the workers that experience growth and opportunity as a result of their proven track record. This is a great transferable skill for every type of employee, especially at an entry-level job.
Future Job Opportunities: Any job with a growth ladder
Camp Counselor Job Interview Questions
Finally, here are ten interview questions an aspiring camp counselor can expect to be asked in an interview. When working with AmeriCamp, camp counselor applicants will receive helpful guidance through the entire application, from pre-interview all the way through your time spent in the USA.
How would you answer these camp counselor interview questions?
- What makes you qualified to be trusted with responsibility over campers?
- What is something you’d like to provide for campers that you wish had been extended to you as a young learner or camper?
- How would you handle a disagreement between two campers?
- What would you do if a camper was injured or became sick while ensuring your other campers remain safe?
- How would you spend an unexpected hour of free time with your campers if an activity was rained out?
- How can you keep campers focused and engaged in daily activities?
- How would you keep yourself motivated and upbeat for your campers when you’re having a challenging day in your own life?
- Describe an instance where you took charge to lead
- What three characteristics do you possess that make you a great camp counselor?
- What do you hope to get out of your summer camp experience?
Should You Become a Camp Counselor?
Being a camp counselor is about so much more than childcare. It is about giving campers a life-changing experience. The counselors often receive the same life-altering experience after one summer at camp.
Here are the top six reasons to spend a summer as a camp counselor in the U.S.:
- Connect with new friends around the world
- Immerse yourself in U.S. culture
- Travel and experience life in the U.S.
- Learn lucrative transferable job skills
- Make money
- Leave the logistics to AmeriCamp
Resources to Become a Camp Counselor in the U.S.: Application Requirements, Process, and Costs
The logistics of going abroad – visas, health insurance, money, etc. – can often hinder young people from traveling abroad. The AmeriCamp Program takes care of everything, helping young people from the U.K. have the best summer of their lives as camp counselors in the U.S. Learn more about the application process and what is included in the AmeriCamp experience below!
- Age: Applicants must turn 18 by June 1st of the summer they plan to be a camp counselor.
- Qualifications: The only true qualification applicants need is a desire to work with children to give them the best summer of their lives! Additional qualifications like specialty skills, lifeguarding, etc. are great, and may influence the type of camp at which counselors are placed.
- Availability: Counselors should be available from early-June to mid-August.
- Deadlines: Applicants can apply up to May of the year they wish to be a counselor at a summer camp.
- Pre-Interview: Fill out an application form (should take about 60 minutes).
- Ready to Hire: Conduct an interview with AmeriCamp at the Manchester HQ or in your hometown or college campus. Skype is also an option. Interviews are casual and a great chance to chat with someone who has participated in AmeriCamp! Candidates will also make a video introducing themselves, their personalities, and skills. The video is a great tool to convince camp directors that counselors are the perfect fit for their camp!
- Placed: Camp directors will review applications and choose applicants to work at their camps. Counselors are placed based on their skills and unique experiences! Counselors will most likely learn about their placement via email, so check your emails frequently. AmeriCamp has a 99% placement rate, so don’t worry if the application is taking a bit longer to reach the right Camp Director.
What’s Included in the AmeriCamp Experience
- Timeline: 9 weeks working at a U.S. summer camp from early-June to mid-August. Spend up to 30 days after camp traveling around the U.S.!
- Money: AmeriCamp counselors are guaranteed to make at least $2000 for the summer!
- Accommodation + Meals: Counselors will have all meals and accommodation provided for the entire camp placement.
- Insurance: AmeriCamp counselors will receive comprehensive medical insurance during their time at camp.
- Assistance: Camp counselors will have access to AmeriCamp’s 24-hour U.S. emergency helpline.
- Visa Process: AmeriCamp will help counselors through the entire J-1 visa process
- Experience of a Lifetime: Counselors are placed at camps all over the country to have their most memorable summer yet!
What’s Not Included in the AmeriCamp Experience
- Costs: There are some costs associated with the program, including the application fees, flights, Embassy fee, and criminal background check.
How Do I Hire AmeriCamp Counselors for My U.S. Summer Camp?
AmeriCamp provides U.S. camps with highly qualified applicants, customer centric account managers, 24/7 support, and tech driven matching. AmeriCamp’s counselors have myriad skills and experiences, and are ready to bring their passions to summer camp.
Camps in the U.S. who would like to hire AmeriCamp counselors should visit the program information page.
Have the Best Summer of Your Life: Apply To Be a Summer Camp Counselor
Applications for summer 2023 are open now! AmeriCamp has an answer to all your questions, from how to apply for camp counselor positions to what to pack. Learn more about how to become a summer camp counselor in the U.S. by visiting our FAQs. Once your questions are answered, apply now!