If you love dealing with kids, have a positive attitude and love of the outdoors, crafts and games; being a summer day camp counselor could be the perfect job for you personally. Flexibility is really a big plus in this sort of job, as you never know what your 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 very best game. Here are a few tips for getting 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 just some of the myriad fun-filled outdoor activities you’ll enjoy right combined with the kids at day camp. You will need a lot of patience, creativity, leadership skills and above all, a feeling of humor.
This is extremely important as camps often start 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 on hand and note that some sites will request you to create a YouTube video to accompany your application.
If you’re searching for a job near where you live, contact local day camps, YMCAs, town recreation departments and other youth organizations to see if they’re searching for summer camp staff. You might know others who work there and be able to use these connections.
There are a variety of websites listing summer camp jobs including Camp Channel, Camp Depot and Camp Page. Cool Works, a summer job site, also has 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 First Aid certification and it may even give you an edge over other applicants.
Be Creative with Previous Experience
OK, maybe you haven’t been a camp counselor, but maybe you have been a camper. On your application, emphasize your summer camp experience s and how you would like to carry the fun forward by learning to be 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 a counselor role.
Use Your Camp Connections
Many counselors were once campers at the very same camp to which they’re applying. Naturally, this would offer you a leg up in the hiring process as you already know the camp culture, traditions and songs, and best of all; 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, it is possible to 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 if you’ve never set foot in a summer camp, your individual characteristics may position you nicely for employment. Approachability, empathy, leadership ability, creativity and enthusiasm are traits that directors are looking for within their staff… and a little goofiness doesn’t hurt! If you are responsible, caring and also have the ability to put others before yourself, you’ll be a good candidate.
Do You Have a particular Talent?
If you have a specific talent or area of expertise that fits in with the camp’s programs, be sure to highlight this on your own resume. Camps that emphasize the arts, for example, 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 may spend years in Boy Scouts or spent summers camping together with your family. Any certifications in camp-related areas are also important.
So, get focusing 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.