Thousands of jobs in America will need filling over the next few months as the summer camp industry scours the world looking for people to keep America’s children safe and entertained during the summer.
Working as a camp counsellor in America is classified under the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. This combined with the large numbers of staff required to fill jobs in the thousands of summer camps dotted across the States makes the position one of the easiest ways to work in the USA.
You need to be able to cope with American children for long bouts at a time, be patient, fit, hardworking, and aged over 18. Applicants should also have no criminal record, speak English and, if a smoker, agree not to smoke.
If you want some summer camp employment action but don’t want to work directly with the kids some behind the scenes jobs are open to students only.
Some camps will accept direct applications from overseas applicants but most prefer application through a recognised placement organisation, and some nationalities have no choice but to use a local agent. Keep an eye out for recruitment fairs (see the websites of recruitment organisations below for dates) as these offer a chance to fix up a job on the spot.
The following organisations recruit internationally for summer camp staff and have offices in several countries:
BUNAC – www.bunac.org
AIFS/Camp America – www.aifs.com/work_travel.asp
Camp Counselors USA – www.ccusa.com
InterExchange – www.interexchange.org/camp-usa
A Cultural Exchange Service – www.dealwithaces.com/participants/
American Camp And Work Experience – www.acawe.com
ICEP – www.icep-usa.org
More designated sponsor organisations can be found via http://j1visa.state.gov/participants/how-to-apply/sponsor-search/?program=Camp%20Counselor&state=any
To read a few first hand experiences of life as a camp counsellor take a look at our blogger’s guides.
Image courtesy Camp Pinewood