CAMP LIFE - it's no walk in the park
While you won't be working like a dog - being a camp counselor is HARD work..... BUT it's also one of - if not THE BEST - job you'll ever have! Think we're joking?? We're not!!. Back to the topic at hand - working at camp is work. You aren't at camp to sun bathe and chit-chat; you're there to make a BIG impact on some little guys & gals. Along the way, you will make AWESOME friends, experience REAL American culture, see AMAZING things, laugh, cry and in the end you may even beg to stay! It's all part of the experience and the experience is what keeps people coming back again and again and again..
Work to live, not live to work - right?....
Summer camp may be the only place where this isn't true. Working at camp, is so much more than a "job". Yeah, it's hard work, but it's also really fun.. and rewarding. The work days are LONG and we promise you will be exhausted at the end of the day (especially the first few weeks), but each day is different and exciting, and filled with small moments that when strung together create a chain of "this one time at summer camp" stories. In short, you will actually like what you are doing. Imagine that? Spending a summer enjoying yourself, while earning money and experiencing a different country. You just can't beat it!
Your work Day: Starts at 7 - 8 am and ends between 8 - 10 pm. During the day, you'll have breaks to step away from the kiddos and refresh and unwind.
Your Role: As a counselor, your primary duty is to be a mentor, coach/teacher, role model, and friend to your campers. Your behavior at camp MUST be exceptional as the campers will be watching and looking up to you. The primary reason you are at camp is to create a fun & safe experience for the campers. Campers take a lot of interest in the counselors. They will ask you a lot of questions and want to get to know you. They will also watch and emulate you, so in other words - YOUR ROLE is very IMPORTANT and not to be taken lightly. Your exact job duties and responsibilities will be vary by camp and the job role that you are hired to do. Make sure you understand your job duties before accepting a position.
Your Time Off: Many camps have staff lounges that counselors can use to check emails and reconnect with the electronic world. Camps typically (but not always) have strict no electronic rules (while working). Although the rules don't always dictate this policy, as most camps are tucked away in high trees where cell phones and wifi connections don't exist. You will get days off of camp. Some camps take weekend excursions with all of their camp staff - while others set you free to explore as you want. Many counselors organize trips with other counselors to carpool and visit nearby places. What you do on your days off is up to you, as long as you are abiding by the guidelines the camp has outlined to you. Remember, this is not a typical position, in that you are working in a foreign country and the camp is responsible for you. They set guidelines to ensure everyone's safety and it's important that you follow those guidelines. If the camp feels that you are violating the rules, they will dismiss you and you will be forced to leave the country immediately.
Training: You'll be prepared for camp! Each camp provides pre-camp training a week or two before campers arrive. All staff are required to attend and your hire dates will reflect training (orientation) week. During orientation you will not only learn the structure of the camp, and the roles and responsibilities expected of you, but you will also be prepared for any type of situation that may happen while at camp. Many counselors love orientation because it gives camp staff an opportunity to get to know and have fun with other staff before campers arrive.
At camp you'll ....
After camp: The J-1 visa covers you for an additional 30 days after camp to travel and sightsee. You can head back home right after camp or you can explore anywhere in the U.S. or beyond. Counselors who are able to travel after camp, often make travel plans with other counselors - this saves you money and gives you the luxury of traveling with friends. If you need help with travel logisitics, let us know! One of the best parts of working with SNS is that you'll leave camp with spending $$$! Plus, we're yanks, so we know our way around the great ol' US and can help you with your travel needs.
Read what others are saying about their experience on the camp staff wall.