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My Summer As Support Staff

Not sure if a summer camp counselor role is for you? Why not think working as support staff?

Author: Camp Leaders
18 Jan 10:58

While applying for summer camp last year, I was so excited for my first summer away in America but I felt like my counselor application wasn’t really strong enough due to the fact I didn't have any specific skills. After chatting with Camp Leaders, I decided to change my application to a support staff role. I liked the idea of more time off and higher pay, and although I’d preferred to have worked with the kids, I felt as if it was a better option for me. As soon as my application went live I was on review with one camp and I had another one waiting for me if the first one didn’t work out, which got me super excited. After a quick FaceTime interview, I was placed at Camp Equinunk and Blue Ridge in Pennsylvania. I was so excited, I even had their website as a tab on my homepage as a wee motivation to get me through my exams.

So, what's a typical day like in the life of support staff? We would start at 6 am to get breakfast ready. Preserving duties included setting tables, plating food, and general waitressing jobs. We then had to serve food to the campers and counselors which we brought to them on trolleys with the plates on. Over the summer I grew a real connection with the tables of kids I served as I learned all their names and I always smuggled them extra cookies when they weren’t meant to get seconds (oops). After serving, we would clear and clean our own tables and surrounding floor space, while also helping prepare food for the next meal and giving the dishwashers a helping hand. It was this same routine at lunch and dinner each day. Although each meal time was the same, every day was different in its own unique way.

I have to say though, support staff is in no way the ‘easy’ option. It certainly does get easier throughout the summer as you gain more experience, but the first couple of weeks were quite tough. Support staff roles are often filled by lots of different nationalities. I worked in the kitchen with people from Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Mexico, and the USA, all of which spoke fluent English and I got on incredibly well with. As time went on we progressed together as a team. You quickly learn that the more efficient everyone does their job, the longer breaks you can have. By week 2 everyone had more or less grasped this idea, and suddenly we were getting 2-3 hours off between meals which amazing.

I definitely did have a different camp experience to the camp counselors, but in no way does that mean it wasn’t as good. We played music and danced on shifts and I think this got everyone in happier moods to do their work. I even met my best friend while working in the kitchen together and we still visit each other every month or so while back at home. My days and nights off were the same as the camp counselors so I made close friends with lots of them too and so I never felt excluded due to the fact I worked in a different area to them.

All camps are different but we had some amazing senior staff who gave us support staff added benefits. Between shifts, we could sunbathe around the back, nap or go catch up with home on the Wifi. Also, sometimes the senior staff would let us join in activities if the kids weren’t using the facilities. We got to go water-skiing, tubing, mountain biking, opportunities that really added to everyone’s time at camp. Camp was so welcoming and so happy and I cannot wait to get back for another summer of fun.

Camp Leaders
With over 20 years of travel experience, the Camp Leaders team has the answers to almost anything you can think of. We're here to help you sort your ultimate summer - feel free to ask us anything.

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