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How To Get Summer Camp Experience For Under $100

If you love working with kids, have a positive attitude and love of the outdoors, crafts and games; being truly a summer day camp counselor may be the perfect job for you personally. Flexibility is really a big plus in this sort of job, as you never know what the day will throw at you, and you’ll 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, horse riding, crafts and nature education are simply a few of the myriad fun-filled outdoor activities you’ll enjoy right combined with the kids at day camp. You will need plenty of patience, creativity, leadership skills and most importantly, a sense of humor.

Apply Early!

This is extremely important as camps often begin looking for staff in the winter months. If you’re a bit late, don’t worry; many programs still have openings in-may and June. Have good references readily available and remember that some sites will request you to create 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’re searching for summer camp staff. You might know other people 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.

Are There Educational Requirements?

While you can find not specific educational requirements for summer camp counselors, it can help to have CPR and MEDICAL certification and it could even give you an advantage over other applicants.

Be Creative with Previous Experience

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

Use Your Camp Connections

Many counselors were once campers at the same camp to which they’re applying. Naturally, this might provide you with a leg up in the hiring process as you know the camp culture, traditions and songs, and best of all; you’ve got a real and infectious love of the camp itself.

Get Experience Working With Kids

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

Emphasize Your Positives

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

Do You Have a Special Talent?

If you have a particular talent or specialization that ties in with the camp’s programs, be sure to highlight this on your resume. Camps that emphasize the arts, for instance, may be thrilled together with your expertise on the violin or experience with musical theater production, while wilderness camps may zone right in on the truth 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 working on that resume! Remember to 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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