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Role of a Camp Counselor

As a leader, role model and moral compass to campers ages 7 - 16, your primary responsibility is overall supervision. You will ensure campers’ well-being and make their camp experience as fun and rewarding as possible. As a Counselor, you will be living with campers 24-hours a day.

ACCOMMODATION

Most counselors will be living in a cabin or platform tent with a co-counselor and 8 to 10 campers. Some cabins have their own bathrooms, but often several cabins will share a large centralized bath and shower facility. 

FOOD

Staff and campers eat in what is normally called the Dining Hall. In most cases, you will eat with your campers and co-counselors.  The dining hall is a fun and lively part of camp, with lots of talking, cheers and singing.

WORK HOURS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Any former CCUSA participant will tell you that working at camp is one of the most fun and life-changing experiences you will ever have. But it is important to remember that camp requires a cheerful, hard-working attitude! Except for your time off, you will spend 24-hours a day with an active group of children. You must adapt to the lack of privacy and the basic level of accommodation. You will be expected to follow strict camp rules for campers and staff. These generally include: no smoking, no drinking of alcoholic beverages on camp (or anywhere in US if you are under age 21) and a nightly curfew. All in all, the fun of summer camp more than offsets the hard work.

DURING THE DAY

Depending on your skill set, you will be hired either as an Activity Counselor or an All-round/General Counselor. In either role, you will lead or assist campers of all ages in one or more activities.

  • Activity Counselor
    You will teach a specific skill or work in a specific activity area (such as Land Sports, Waterfront, Outdoor Adventure, Performing Arts, or Arts & Crafts). This will be based on your skill level(s), experience and certifications.
  • All-round/General Counselor
    If you have good general knowledge and experience in a variety of skills or activities, a camp may hire you as an All-round/General Counselor. If you do not excel in any particular activity, you will need to list as many skills in which you have experience on your application form.

DURING THE EVENING

As a counselor, you will be responsible for running and assisting with Evening Programs. This might be with just your cabin, a group of cabins, or the entire camp.

Examples of Evening Program Activities
Capture the Flag
Talent Show
International Night
Campfires
Dance/Disco
Bingo/Casino night
Movie Night
Vespers
Night Hikes
Skits
Concerts
Cookouts
Cabin Nights

EXPERIENCE WITH CHILDREN

It is important that you have some previous experience of working with children, for example in coaching, teaching or babysitting. This will enhance your application when it's being reviewed by camp directors and also help to ensure that you are ready for the experience of summer camp. If you don't currently have experience with children, get started now!

You can never have enough experience, so if you have spare time why not top it up by seeking further experience within your local community (volunteering at clubs, schools, etc).

ACTIVITY COUNSELOR SKILLS

You do not need to be an Olympic athlete! - The good news is that in most cases, the skills and knowledge you have obtained through a hobby, by playing on local teams, in a club with friends, or at university will be enough experience to teach or assist children at camp.  All of your skills should be included in your application. Remember that you should be willing to help out wherever you are needed at camp. 

Work Placements/Credit for your University/College course - Does your University/College require you to do a 'Work Placement' as part of your course? If so this is the perfect opportunity to combine a fun job with your work placement, as camps are happy to sign/evaluate your work.

If you are studying a sports/education/child related course, this is also the perfect opportunity to put classroom theory to practice by gaining hands-on experience in a new country/culture, which will look fantastic on your CV and for future job opportunities!