14 Days To A Better Summer Camp Experience

If you love working with kids, have a confident attitude and love of the outdoors, crafts and games; being a summer day camp counselor could be the perfect job for you. Flexibility is a big plus in this type of job, as you won’t ever know what your day will throw at you, and you will need an upbeat, can-do attitude. Whether you’re supervising lakeside activities, wearing a wacky outfit and doing the chicken dance or mediating a squabble between campers, you’ll need to bring on your best game. Here are some tips for obtaining the summer job of your dreams.

What Do Camp Counselors Do?

Typically, counselors are hired to do something as recreational leaders supervising overall camp operations or teaching various special activities. Swimming, archery, horseback riding, crafts and nature education are just a few of the myriad fun-filled outdoor activities you’ll enjoy right along with the kids at day camp. You’ll need plenty of patience, creativity, leadership skills and above all, a sense of humor.

Apply Early!

This is vitally important as camps often begin looking for staff in the wintertime months. If you’re a little late, don’t worry; many programs still have openings in May and June. Have good references readily available and note that some sites will ask you to make a YouTube video to accompany the application.

Looking Locally

If you’re searching for a job near where you live, contact local day camps, YMCAs, town recreation departments along with other youth organizations to see if they are looking for summer camp staff. You might know others who work there and be able to use these connections.

Look On-Line

There are a number of websites listing summer camp jobs including Camp Channel, Camp Depot and Camp Page. Cool Works, a summer job site, also offers some interesting opportunities.

IS THERE Educational Requirements?

While you can find not specific educational requirements for summer camp counselors, it helps to have CPR and First Aid certification and it could even give you an edge over other applicants.

Be Creative with Previous Experience

OK, maybe you haven’t been a camp counselor, but perhaps you have been a camper. On your own application, emphasize your summer camp experiences and how you intend to carry the fun forward by becoming a counselor yourself. If you have spent a summer or two at a camp as a counselor-in-training, you have actual on-the-job experience coping with campers from the counselor role.

Use Your Camp Connections

Many counselors were once campers at the same camp to which they’re applying. Naturally, this would provide you with a leg up in the hiring process because you already know the camp culture, traditions and songs, and on top of that; you have a real and infectious love of the camp itself.

Get Experience Working With Kids

Though you may not have specifically worked at a summer camp, you can accumulate other experience dealing with youngsters. Tutoring the experience of working in a summer camp , volunteering at afterschool programs, assistant coaching on kids’ teams and babysitting are invaluable experience with children. Ask guidance counselors, coaches or teachers for suggestions.

Emphasize Your Positives

Even if you’ve never set foot in a summer camp, your personal characteristics may position you nicely for a job. Approachability, empathy, leadership ability, creativity and enthusiasm are traits that directors are searching for within their staff… and a little goofiness doesn’t hurt! If you are responsible, caring and have the capability to put others before yourself, you’ll be a good candidate.

Do You Have a Special Talent?

If you have a particular talent or specialization that fits in with the camp’s programs, make sure you highlight this on your resume. Camps that emphasize the arts, for example, may be thrilled with your expertise on the violin or experience with musical theater production, while wilderness camps may zone right in on the fact that you spend years in Boy Scouts or spent summers camping together with your family. Any certifications in camp-related areas may also be important.

So, get focusing on that resume! Be sure you emphasize the positive, list all related experience volunteer or paid and put your enthusiasm and love of kids’ front and center.

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