Even if you didn’t grow up in the US, the famous American summer camp experience is something almost everyone can picture. So many movies and TV shows feature kids at camp, enjoying activities and telling ghost stories around the campfire, that it can almost feel like you’ve been there yourself. That said, the real experience of a summer camp in America is so much better than anything you’ll ever see on a screen!
AmeriCamp provides life-changing opportunities for young adults overseas to experience first-hand the authentic summer camp tradition. As a J-1 visa sponsor, we make it possible for you to work at US summer camps as a camp counselor, helping young campers navigate their camp journey while embarking on your own.
If you’re ready to check off some incredible bucket list experiences, start your AmeriCamp application today. If you’re interested in learning more about how to work at a summer camp in America, you’ve come to the right place! In this guide, we’ll discuss:
- Why you should work at a US summer camp
- The skills a camp counselor needs
- How to work at a US summer camp as a camp counselor
- The opportunities available with AmeriCamp Premium
Join us to learn how to enjoy a summer of experiences you’ll never forget.
Why Work at a Summer Camp in America?
Working at a US summer camp isn't just a job; it's an opportunity to immerse yourself in an environment where personal growth, professional development, and unforgettable experiences converge. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should consider working at a summer camp in America, including:
- Developing new skills
- Discovering incredible scenery
- Enhancing your resume
- Making unforgettable memories
- Helping young campers grow
Plus, you get to do all this in the company of like-minded, supportive people, amongst some of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable.
Develop New Skills
- Leadership, and
- Problem-solving abilities
are honed daily. For instance, guiding a group of children through team-building exercises not only sharpens your organizational skills but also deepens your understanding of group dynamics. The intense, hands-on nature of being a camp counselor equips you with adaptability and resilience, invaluable assets in any career path.
Explore Incredible Scenery
The best US summer camps are almost always held in incredibly scenic locations. From the serene beauty of lakeside retreats to the majesty of mountainous regions, each camp presents a unique backdrop. Imagine weekends spent hiking trails with panoramic views, exploring hidden waterfalls, or stargazing under clear, open skies.
The US is a big country with incredible geographical diversity. Whether you’d be happiest deep in a forest, next to a pristine river, or on the edge of a magical desert, there’s a summer camp in America that’s perfect for you. Working at one of these camps allows you to truly embrace the best of nature and help others do the same.
Enhance Your Resume
Working at a summer camp in America may not seem like traditional work experience for your resume, but it often hones the skills employers are most interested in. Camp counselor qualities like the ability to manage diverse personalities, resolve conflicts, and lead activities demonstrate a high level of responsibility and adaptability.
For instance, articulating how you managed a group of campers with varying needs or navigated unexpected challenges like extreme weather conditions showcases your problem-solving prowess. These experiences enrich your resume, making you a standout candidate in any professional setting. Don’t be afraid to add your camp counselor experience to your resume; it’s more relevant than you might think!
Make Unforgettable Memories
Being a camp counselor is full of moments that may not seem significant at the time, but tend to stick with you. These may be as simple as late-night stories around the campfire, conquering challenges during outdoor adventures, or witnessing campers' personal growth throughout the summer.
Building deep connections with fellow staff members from various backgrounds, as well as the campers you’re caring for, fosters friendships that often last a lifetime. These memories become stories you'll share for years to come, shaping not just your summer but the years that follow it.
Help Young Campers Grow
Think back to when you were younger, and how important your role models were in shaping your future. Teachers, babysitters, older cousins, and other adults in your life helped you grow, overcome, and succeed. As a camp counselor in America, you become a mentor, confidant, and role model, guiding campers through their challenges and triumphs.
Witnessing a child conquer their fear of heights on a climbing wall or seeing their confidence soar after mastering a new skill is incredibly rewarding. You have the opportunity to positively impact young lives, nurturing their self-esteem, resilience, and social skills in an environment designed for growth and self-discovery. It’s a truly rewarding, satisfying, and wholesome feeling.
Travel After Summer Camp with AmeriCamp
With AmeriCamp, you don’t just have the opportunity to work at one of the best summer camps in America. After your incredible camp experience wraps up, you can travel within the US for up to 30 days. As a J-1 visa sponsor, AmeriCamp takes care of securing your visitor visa, which enables you to work throughout the camp period, and then spend a month exploring the best that the US has to offer.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity – start your AmeriCamp application here!
What Skills Does a Camp Counselor Need?
Working as a camp counselor requires a diverse skill set to navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by camp life. Beyond supervising activities, counselors serve as mentors, educators, and role models. Some of the main camp counselor skills that come in handy include:
- Patience, and
Coming into camp with these skills may make your life as a counselor easier, but you can also use camp as an opportunity to strengthen these skills. This will help you set yourself up for success in both personal and professional settings in the future.
Leading by example, demonstrating enthusiasm, and encouraging campers to participate helps to create a positive camp environment. Good camp counselors should inspire teamwork and cooperation, especially during group activities or challenges. For instance, taking charge during a camping trip, delegating tasks, and ensuring everyone contributes builds leadership skills and establishes camaraderie among campers.
Clear and open communication with campers, fellow staff members, and camp administration is essential. Listening actively to campers' concerns, providing clear instructions during activities, and mediating conflicts require strong communication skills. Explaining the rules of a game or offering constructive feedback to campers helps establish rapport and ensures a smooth camp experience for all involved.
They say patience is a virtue, and that’s certainly true when you have a summer camp job! Understanding that each camper has their own pace of learning or adapting to new situations is crucial. Whether you’re assisting a camper struggling with a particular activity or handling disagreements among campers, maintaining a patient demeanor is key. Encouraging persistence and celebrating small victories creates a supportive and nurturing environment.
Camp life is unpredictable, demanding counselors to be adaptable in various situations. Weather changes, unexpected itinerary adjustments, or group dynamic shifts require quick thinking and flexibility. Being prepared with alternative activities in case of rain, adjusting schedules to accommodate unforeseen circumstances, or modifying plans to suit the needs of individual campers showcase your adaptability.
How to Work at a Summer Camp in America as a Camp Counselor
Working at a USA summer camp is an incredible journey filled with opportunities for personal growth, adventure, and life-long memories. Let’s take a look at how you can embark on your own camp counselor journey, by:
- Polishing your camp counselor resume
- Applying to AmeriCamp
- Considering the type of camp you would prefer
- Thinking about where to work
- Preparing for camp counselor interviews
- Packing your bags!
Here's a comprehensive guide to help you get started on this incredible experience.
Polish Your Camp Counselor Resume
Craft a resume that highlights your relevant experiences, such as:
- Working with children
- Leadership roles, and
- Specialized skills like lifeguard certification or soccer coaching
Emphasize achievements that showcase your ability to handle responsibilities and interact with diverse groups. For instance, detailing how you organized and led activities for a youth group or highlighting your communication skills during a teaching or mentoring role can boost your application.
Apply to AmeriCamp
Even if you’re not sure exactly what type of camp counselor experience you’re looking for yet, it’s a good idea to apply to join AmeriCamp as early as you can. That way, we can review your application and connect you with a member of our team who can answer your questions and explain more about the program, giving you a better idea of what to expect moving forward.
Consider the Type of Camp You Would Prefer
AmeriCamp partners with hundreds of the best summer camps in America, so there’s a great chance we can connect you with a summer camp experience that’s perfect for your interests and skills. Some of the different camp opportunities we offer include:
- Day camps
- Traditional overnight camps
- Special needs camps
- Single-gender camps
- Faith-based camps
Sometimes, camps cater to specific interests, including sports, arts, outdoor adventure, and more. Think about the type of camp that aligns with your skills, interests, and values, and consider the age group you'd like to work with, whether it's young children, teens, or a mix.
Think About Where to Work
As well as the type of camp you’re looking for, you’ll also need to think about the location. Is there a specific state you’d like to explore? Do you have your heart set on a cozy camp set beside a lake? The US boasts camps nestled in diverse settings, from wooded areas to lakeshores to mountains. Research different regions and their camps to find a setting that resonates with you.
Prepare for Camp Counselor Interviews
Once we receive your AmeriCamp application, we’ll set up an informal video interview so we can get to know you better, understand the type of camp experience you’re looking for, and hear why you want to be a camp counselor. You don’t need to prepare anything for this chat, but if you have questions about the program it’s a great chance to get some answers.
Once we start circling your resume to our camp partners across the US, camp directors at American summer camps will review your application and, if they think you’re a good fit, reach out to you for a video interview. For this interview, make sure you’ve prepared some answers to common camp counselor interview questions, and be ready to discuss your skills, experience, and interests.
Interviewing with a camp director doesn’t have to be a one-way street; don’t be afraid to ask questions. You might like to learn more about the camp’s values, atmosphere, and culture, as well as what the role of a camp counselor would specifically involve at that particular camp. Use this opportunity to make sure your placement would be a good fit for both sides.
Pack Your Bags!
Once you’ve been successfully matched with one of the best camps in America, it’s time to start packing your bags and preparing for your trip! Remember, AmeriCamp takes care of your J-1 visa sponsorship and health insurance while you travel, so you can focus on booking your flights and getting all your supplies ready.
Most camps will provide you with a list of what you’ll need to bring, but you can also follow a general camp counselor packing list to get started. If you’re planning on traveling after your camp wraps up, don’t forget to pack your suitcase or backpack with that in mind.
Unlock Even More Opportunities With AmeriCamp Premium
While our standard AmeriCamp program can expose you to hundreds of American summer camp jobs, AmeriCamp Premium takes things to the next level. With AmeriCamp Premium, you can earn more working at an American summer camp and enjoy several other benefits to enhance your camp counselor experience. Let’s take a look at what AmeriCamp Premium offers, and who can take advantage of this unique opportunity.
What Is AmeriCamp Premium?
AmeriCamp Premium gives prospective camp counselors the opportunity to work at one of the top summer camps in the US in a teaching role. Use your specific skills and qualifications to earn a higher camp counselor salary than the standard AmeriCamp program, with no increase in costs or application fees.
AmeriCamp Premium gives you the chance to earn more and provides you with a unique opportunity to share your passion, hobbies, and skills in a specific field with an eager audience of youngsters. You’ll still enjoy the full cultural experience of summer camp, but you’ll also be able to focus your energy on doing what you love.
Like all AmeriCamp programs, AmeriCamp Premium gives you a job at a top US summer camp, free accommodation and meals, medical insurance, visa sponsorship, and the ability to travel for up to 30 days after camp. However, AmeriCamp Premium comes with some added perks, including:
- A minimum salary of $2,350
- Priority access to in-person camp fairs
- Exclusive access to online hiring events
- Guaranteed placement at a top summer camp in America
- Your first camp interview within one week of being on the platform
- A special merch pack
- Access to top-tier coaching equipment and facilities
As you can see, there’s a lot to love about AmeriCamp Premium. Start your application here to secure your spot!
What Skills and Qualifications Are Required?
AmeriCamp Premium offers unique opportunities to camp counselors with specific skill sets and qualifications. Some of the premium skills we’re looking for include:
- Canoeing and kayaking coaches
- Powerboat drivers
- Sailing coaches
- Waterskiing and wakeboarding coaches
- Riflery experts
- Gymnastics coaches
- Tennis coaches
- Equestrian instructors
- Mountain bike experts
- Ceramics teachers
- Woodwork instructors
- Circus acts
- Robotics experts
In some cases, formal training and certification is required. You can find more details here.
Apply to AmeriCamp Premium Here
If you believe you’re a good fit for AmeriCamp Premium, or you’d like to learn more about the skills required and the opportunities on offer, start your application today. Complete this form and an AmeriCamp representative will reach out with more details. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Work at a Summer Camp in America With AmeriCamp
There are lots of rewarding ways you can spend a summer, but they don’t come much better than working at a summer camp in America. At AmeriCamp, we can connect you with an incredible opportunity at a US summer camp that aligns with your skills, interests, and values. Plus, you’ll have the option of traveling for a month after your camp placement wraps up.
Don’t miss out on the summer of a lifetime; join AmeriCamp today!