The institution of attending summer camp is ingrained in American culture. Most young Americans can expect to attend one of the many thousands of summer camps dotted across the states sometime in their lives.
The camps may be single sex or mixed, day or residential. Camps may be run by private organisations, religious groups, scout groups or non-profits, and aimed at all children or those from certain sections of society such as those with special needs or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Activities may be focused around specific subjects and activities: computing or theatre, losing weight, sports, religious summer school or just everyday outdoor activities. The one thing most camps have in common is their setting in the countryside, often in the woods, by a lake or in the mountains.
Though the concept of camp is largely alien to Europeans and other cultures people from these countries attend summer camps too, but they do so as young adults and as one of the many thousands of staff recruited from across the world.
There are two types of role to take on at an American summer camp. The first is as a Camp Counsellor and is a little like a cross between a teacher and a big brother or sister. The second category of position takes care of the running of the camp, from catering to maintenance and security.
Those wanting to work at a summer camp in the USA should be aged 18 (as of June 1) or over and available from eight to nine weeks from June. Support staff must currently be a full-time university student.
Americans can apply direct to a camp of their choice but international applicants should go through an accredited organisation who will take care of getting the crucial J-1 visa needed to work at a camp in the USA. Those applying from outside the US with a specific camp in mind can request their preference during the application process.
A selection of summer camps in New York State:
Brant Lake Camp
A private overnight summer camp in the Adirondack Mountains for boys aged seven through to 15.
Camp Dudley YMCA
A boys camp for ten and a half to 15 year olds in Westport.
A day camp for 400 boys and girls, aged four to 14 located east of Poughkeepsie, two hours north of New York City.
A coed summer camp in the Catskills region of New York for 220 campers.
A Jewish summer camp offering a blend of individual and team sports, as well as traditional camp activities.
Camp of the Woods
A Christian camp in the Adirondack Mountains. Staff with musical instrument experience particularly welcomed.
A small camp in Panoma, Rockland coounty.
Digital Media Academy
Computer camps in several states including New York.
Forest Lake Camp
A traditional overnight summer camp for boys and girls set in 800 acres just north of Lake George, in the Southern Adirondack Mountains.
Forrestel Farm Camp
Girls horseriding summer camp near Niagara Falls.
The Fresh Air Fund
Owns and operates five camps in upstate New York where 3,000 children get a break from city life each summer. Paid and volunteer positions are also available in NYC.
Hillside Summer Camp
An adventure camp for boys and girls aged 11 to 15.
Point O’Pines Camp
Set on Brant Lake in the Adirondack Mountains this private camp bills itself as a ‘normal, everyday’ camp.
Stagedoor Manor Theatre and Dance Camp
Counsellors aged over 21 are recruited at this camp that attracts both American and international campers with an interest in the theatre.
92nd Street Y Camps
Sends kids from Manhattan to Camp Yomi, in Rockland County.
After spending eight to nine weeks working at camp, the opportunity will present itself to travel independently around the United States where you may want to stay in one of New York’s cheap and central hotels.
Image courtesy usembassylondon