If you’ve ever thought about working in a USA summer camp, then you’ve come to the right place. AmeriCamp works with over 9 incredible camps all across the United States, and would be thrilled to work with you!
Whether you’re looking to showcase your horse riding skills at an equestrian camp or you’re looking to get the most of the New England outdoors at a traditional sleep-away summer camp, AmeriCamp has the position for you.
Find the perfect fit based on your experience with children, your skills, and your preferred job role.
A Brief History of USA Summer Camps
Many of our preconceptions about USA summer camps come from movies and television. Some of our favorite camp-centric movies include The Parent Trap, Camp Nowhere, and Wet Hot American Summer.
While these movies do a great job of setting the scene of a typical USA summer camp—from the perspective of both campers and camp counselors—there are a ton of activities, advantages, and moments of adventure that simply cannot be captured in a movie or a television series.
Fun Facts About USA Summer Camps
Here are ten fun and interesting facts about the best summer camps in the US. Did you know all of these summer camp facts beforehand?
- The First Summer Camps Were Founded in the Late 1800s
- 100 Years Later, There Were Over 10,000 Summer Camps in the USA
- Every Summer, There are Over 1.5 Million Job Opportunities in US Summer Camps
- 20% of USA’s Summer Camp Staff Come from Abroad
- Connecting With the Outdoors Reduces Stress and Anxiety
- Summer Camp in the USA is an $18 Billion Industry
- Summer Camp is a Great Place to Overcome Fears
- Summer Camps Aides in Academic Year-Round Academic Achievement
- Summer Camp Create Lifelong Bonds For Everyone Involved
- Summer Camp Creates Future Leaders
The First Summer Camps Were Founded in the Late 1800s
The first summer camp for children in the United States was founded in Gunnery, Connecticut by a well-known abolitionist named Frederick Gunn. In the late 1800s, summer camps for boys were established so that boys could connect with nature, escape the city, and spend the summer outdoors.
While early summer schools catered to boys, girls were included in the early 20th century. Summer camps for girls focused on homelife skills, like homelife, sewing skills, and preparation for motherhood.
100 Years Later, There Were Over 10,000 Summer Camps in the USA
By 1980, the number of summer camps had exploded to over 10,000! While earlier camps were segregated by sex, ethnicity, and race, today’s camps thrive as environments for cross-cultural exchange!
Every Summer, There are Over 1.5 Million Job Opportunities in US Summer Camps
That’s right! Each summer, the 14,000+ operating summer camps in the USA need a staff of skilled and passionate counselors and professionals.
20% of USA’s Summer Camp Staff Come from Abroad
In the spirit of USA summer camps’ emphasis on cross-cultural exchange, a large portion of the staff come from abroad every year. Are you going to be one of the most sought after camp counselors for some of the best summer camps this coming summer?
Connecting With the Outdoors Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Studies have shown that first-hand experience with nature reduces stress in children and adults. It also helps them to better handle future stressors. This is great news for incoming campers and their counselors. Who couldn’t use repeatable stress-reducing outdoor activities?
Summer Camp in the USA is an $18 Billion Industry
If you think there’s no money in archery, the outdoors, and arts & crafts, you’d be wrong! According to CFL Magazine, USA summer camps are an $18 billion industry.
Summer Camp is a Great Place to Overcome Fears
According to ACA research, 74% of campers reported trying something new and scary at camp. By gathering campers in an environment where everybody is trying new things, an environment of adventure, trust, and risk-taking thrives!
Summer Camps Aides in Academic Year-Round Academic Achievement
While many camps run for about 8 or 9 weeks every summer, the developmental growth is year-round. Summer camps in the US help prevent summer learning loss, and they bring year-round opportunity for meaningful developmental growth. This is especially relevant when it comes to STEAM learning and social and emotional learning.
Summer Camp Create Lifelong Bonds For Everyone Involved
Everybody has heard tales of the ever-lasting friendships made at camps, but did you know that summer camp counselors have the same experience?
Summer Camp Creates Future Leaders
Summer camps in the US help build the people skills needed for success in the workplace and in the world. Skills like independence, teamwork, problem-solving, and creative thinking are the pillars of the best summer camps in the US. Incidentally, these are also some of the most sought-after skills in today and tomorrow’s leaders.
When Is Summer Camp in the US?
The American school system operates from roughly late August to early June, which means summer camps are typically open between June and August. While school year dates vary, the average AmeriCamp placement normally lasts from mid-June to mid-August.
Prospective counselors who are flexible and available from early June to late August will have the best opportunity to fit into most summer camps’ schedules!
What It’s Like to Work at a USA Summer Camp?
Working in a USA summer camp is not like your typical US “9-to-5” job. In fact, summer camp counselors can expect to be working from before dawn to well after the late summer sunsets!
A typical camp counselor’s day might resemble this schedule:
- 6:30am – Wake Up: Before the campers wake up, counselors must be ready to face the day.
- 7:15am – Time to Wake the Campers: It’s time to wake and motivate the campers to get ready for their long day of fun and adventure.
- 8:00am – Breakfast: The summer days are long, so breakfast is extra important.
- 9:00am-12:00pm – Morning Activities: The morning is usually full of fun outdoor activities, before the heat sets in.
- 12:15-1:30pm – Lunch: Time to refuel with a healthy and delicious lunch.
- 1:30-2:45pm – Free Time or Cabin Time: After lunch is a great time for everyone to digest their lunch, decompress from the morning activities, and unwind.
- 3:00-6:00pm – Afternoon Activities: Time to hit the outdoors again!
- 6:00-7:15pm – Dinner: It’s time for dinner—and it’s likely that everyone is very hungry after their active days outdoors!
- 7:30-8:30pm – Evening Activity: After-dinner activities are a great time to get silly, show off unusual talents, and have fun.
- 8:45-9:30pm – Camper Bed Time: Time to get the campers to sleep after a full day of activities.
- 9:30-10:15pm – Relax: As a counselor, it’s finally your time to relax and unwind before your last scheduled event, the staff meeting.
- 10:15pm – Staff Meeting: This is where you catch up with other counselors and your supervisors to catch up on the day, and plan for the next day.
- 10:45pm – Your Time
What Are The Best Personality Traits Suited to Working at USA Summer Camps?
Employment opportunities at summer camps are not for everyone, but they may very likely be perfect for you. If you meet any of the following descriptions below, a camp counselor position might be the perfect fit.
- Adventurous, outdoorsy types
- Individuals looking to build leadership and management skills
- People looking to pursue careers in healthcare or home aide
- Positive and optimistic attitude
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Someone who shows resilience, initiative, and adaptability
The best camp counselors are energetic go-getters who aren’t afraid of getting dirt in their shoes or going for an impromptu swim in a lake.
The best camp counselors can keep an even-keeled temperament in a wide variety of situations. They are folks who love spending time with kids and exploring their curiosities, fears, and ambitions with daily activities and bonding experiences.
Last but not least, the best counselors will be creative, fearless, and ready for anything.
If you feel that this describes you, take a look at AmeriCamp’s application process. Sign up early for Summer 2023 and become an AmeriCamp VIP. Best of all, get access to the best summer camps in the USA.
Apply sooner rather than later, and get places at one of AmeriCamp’s gorgeous summer camps.
Valuable Skills Camp Counselors Learn in USA Summer Camps
When you apply to become a counselor at one of AmeriCamp’s USA summer camps, you’ll pack a bag to prepare for your summer. You’ll bring light t-shirts, lots of socks, swimsuits, and all your skills and talents.
At the end of a summer you’ll never forget, you’ll have even more to bring home with you.
What You’ll Get as an AmeriCamp Camp Counselor:
- Experience in leadership and management
- How to be an inspirational role model to impressionable youth
- Creativity, resilience, and on-the-spot problem-solving
- How to build confidence in yourself and in others
- Get to know yourself with an increased sense of individuality
- Memories and friendships that will forever change your life and perspective
- The tempting urge to return next summer
Many of the above skills are extremely desirable in the workforce. For someone looking to build their resume, expand their skills, and show the skills of a self-starter, a summer spent as a camp counselor is the perfect way to cover it all.
Experience in Leadership and Management
For someone who has never managed a group of 12 year-olds, it’s not easy. However, a counselor who has learned to connect with and rally a group of pubescent pre-teens already has leadership skills that might surpass most CEOs!
One summer of managing and unifying a group of campers can teach a lifetime of lessons.
Leadership Skills Every Camp Counselor Will Develop + Master
- Communication: Communication skills, especially intergenerational communication skills, are a highly-sought set of skills. In a workforce that has five generations working together (for the first time in history!) being able to communicate effectively with everyone is crucial.
- Creative Problem-Solving: Any camp counselor who finds their team in the woods when a surprise torrential downpour hits knows that panicking is simply not an option. Every single day, summer camp counselors navigate tricky problems with critical thinking and creativity.
- Empathy: As counselors encounter all different types of campers, they learn how to relate to kids with different backgrounds, communication styles, and needs. This is an invaluable skill in work and in life.
Camp Counselors Learn More About Themselves
As each person at a summer camp navigates homesickness, meeting others, trying new things and facing their fears, they are also learning new things about themselves.
Too often, folks dive into lifelong careers without too much thought about how it fits their own personalities, passions, or their mission in life. Summer camp is a great time for both campers and counselors (and anyone working at a summer camp in the USA) to reflect on their lives—and what they want to do next!
Things Counselors Learn About Themselves at Summer Camp:
- How to relate with others.
- How their passions relate to their everyday life outside of camp
- Their strengths and weaknesses
- Their passions and dreams
- How to relate to a more childlike version of themselves
- How to continue to seek and achieve more growth
Memories and Perspective-Changing Experiences
Beyond the opportunity to immerse in another culture, counselors also live through the differing experiences of their campers and their fellow counselors. Alongside learning more about themselves, counselors can use the cultural exchange piece of their summer in the USA to learn more about their fellow humans.
Through creative problem-solving activities to bonding moments, counselors can take a peek into the inner lives of their fellow humans. They can use their summer in the USA to learn more about what it’s like to be a 10-year-old girl in the USA. Working in a special needs summer camp, a counselor might learn how folks that others see as “disadvantaged” make more of their unique abilities than most anybody else.
Finally, there is huge value in the lifelong connections and friendships made at summer camp. Any counselor who has spent 8 or 9 weeks working on some of the best summer camps in the USA will tell you that it changed their lives forever.
Jobs Available at USA Summer Camps
We already told you that there are over 1.5 million job opportunities at summer camps in the USA every summer. While most of these job opportunities are for camp counselors, there are a variety of specialties and opportunities for employment in summer camps. Let’s explore.
Job Opportunities at USA Summer Camps Include:
The backbone of the staff at a USA summer camp, camp counselors act as role models for the campers. Camp counselors lead daily activities and sports for the campers.
Some counselors serve as outdoor activity specialists. These specialists are well-versed in a variety of skill needed to navigate the outdoors
Outdoor Specialist (OA) Skills:
- Rope equipment
- Zip Wiring
- Shelter building
- Nature identification
- Safe fire building
- Lifeguarding and CPR
Beyond the Outdoor Specialist roles, there are a myriad of specialty summer camps that require counselors with specific experience and specialized skills. Summer camps that specialize in the arts, theater, STEAM, sports, or music are always looking for counselors with specific experience in their field.
Skills for Specialized Summer Camps:
- Visual Arts Summer Camps: pottery, ceramics, woodworking, painting
- Sports Summer Camps: tennis, baseball, basketball, football
- Outdoor Adventure Summer Camps: camping, ropes courses, climbing
- Waterfront Summer Camps: boating, canoeing, kayaking, lifeguarding, sailing, wakeboarding, water skiing
- Film Summer Camps: digital and film photography, video production, acting, directing
- Extreme Sports Summer Camps: all-terrain vehicles, mountain biking, whitewater kayaking
- Fitness Summer Camps: personal training, yoga, nutrition
- Horse Riding Summer Camps: English riding, stable management, Western riding
- Performing Arts Summer Camps: syncing, acting, guitar, magic
- Target Practice Summer Camps: archery, riflery
- Circus Skills Summer Camps: acrobatic, trapeze
If you’re an expert guitar player looking for a summer camp job this summer, consider looking for employment at a musical or performing arts summer camp, where you can teach your skills to young guitarists and/or accompany aspiring vocalists with your guitar skills.
If you’re a coding genius, then a summer camp that specializes in math sciences, and other STEAM subjects might be the perfect fit to share your expertise!
Support staff are also an important element of any functional summer camp. The varied support staff ensure the camp is safe, comfortable, and in working order for campers and counselors.
Summer Camp Support Staff Jobs:
- Cooking and kitchen staff
- Grounds work
- Administrative (ie. accounting, data entry, filing, telephone)
- Nurses and healthcare support
Support staff ensures that everyone is fed, that the grounds are safe, and that everyone has the dream summer camp experience they came to cherish forever.
How to Become a Counselor at a USA Summer Camp
If a camp counselor or support staff job at a USA summer camp seems like the perfect fit for you this summer, what are you waiting for?
Every year, camps recruit for an assortment of positions in a bid to deliver a summer of a lifetime to their campers!
Some of the benefits of becoming an AmeriCamp camp counselor include:
- Placement at one of our amazing Camps in the USA
- Minimum salary of of $2000
- Comprehensive medical insurance for the full duration of your camp contract
- All meals and accommodation for the duration of your camp placement
- Guidance and sponsorship for your J-1 Visa and cultural exchange permits
- Up to 30 days of travel included on your visa after you have completed your camp placement
- A pre-departure orientation to ensure you’re fully prepared for camp before flying out
- 24-hour emergency helpline in the USA if you ever have any problems
- Full support throughout the application process
- An unforgettable American summer camp experience that is far better than any movie or television show