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Types of Summer Camp Jobs in America

There are 3 main job role categories at summer camp. So which one is the best fit for you? Let's have a look and figure it out...

Author: Rhiannon
17 Dec 15:47

Making the decision to go to summer camp is an easy one. But what are you going to do?

There are 3 main job role categories at summer camp but what should you pick and what's the difference?

Take our quiz to find out...
Types of jobs at summer camp

The 3 main job roles are

The General Counselor is your all rounder. They live life with the children at summer camp, usually sharing a cabin. They’ll get up, get the kids up and moving. Make sure they’ve brushed their teeth and hair, then accompany them to all the activities throughout the day.

Personality profile for the General Counselor

General counselors are known to be outgoing and active people. They are up for all activities and challenges. Normally a good all rounder - not always strongly skilled in one area. They are the ones keeping the campers motivated and supervised.

Activity Specialists are counselors who have a particularly strong skill set. They’ll run the activity or will help lead in their specialty sport. From waking up in the morning, they will be stationed in their activity location and will help teach the campers, run games and coach matches. When not teaching, they will fulfill the role of a general counselor and look after a partiular age group.

Personality profile for the Activity Specialist

Activity specialists are the leaders in their activity. They will be skilled in their subject area and confident to lead a class. Again known to be very enthusiastic and more than willing to get involved.

Support Staff are found behind the scenes. They keep camp fed, watered and maintained. A support staff member will have a specialty also - but this will be either kitchen, maintenance, gardening or office work.

Personality profile for Support Staff

Support staff are hard workers, they get up early and will work through the day. Keen to join in with activities and enjoy camp life from a different view point. Support staff are very inclusive, with many cultures and people from all around the world.

The differences

The main difference really stems from ‘Do you want to work with children?’.

Yes I want to work with children

Activity Specialist and General Counselor

No, I like the idea of summer camp but I don’t want to work with children

Support staff

The main difference between counselors and specialists vs support staff is the interaction with the campers. As a support staff, you wouldn’t have much daily interaction with the campers - the roles are more structured, with set hours and a set skill set. You’ll have the perks of summer camp life - access to activities, evening activities plus after camp travel. Just not the everyday camper routine.

What is the difference between activity specialists and general counselors?

In fact, these roles crossover a fair bit. As a general counselor, you’ll often find yourself in situations where you’re leading the activity (especially in a smaller camp). If it’s raining - you’re the one leading the lip sync... evening activity - you’re the one calling the shots in manhunt.

When you fill in your application - you’ll notice that we ask you to choose at least 5 skills, which might seem a bit odd if you are only applying to be a general counselor. But we want to know what interests you. Even if you’re not particularly good… at least you give it a go!

Don’t be afraid to list those skills, whether you’re qualified or just enjoy taking part - this will give the Camps and their directors (the people who run camp and hire the staff) a great insight into you and what you want to get out of the summer. As long as you want to work with children you’re going to be great.

How do I choose to be an activity specialist?

If you love an activity and want to build your CV and skill set up with over 800 coaching hours… then why not do it America. Summer camp is the best of travel along with teaching your passion. Pretty ace.

When you fill in your application with us, you’ll begin with your skills - if your qualification matches the US certified level needed for camp, we’ll switch your application over to a specialist one.

Specialists will have the ability to earn more money than a general counselor. Especially if the skill is Niche - such as lifeguarding, rock climbing or special needs.

How to make the decision

It falls down to what you want to do and where you see yourself at camp.

If you want to be on the camp side - as a general counselor or activity specialist - you’ll need to get as much information into your application as possible.

The application is designed to help you build a profile without having to choose.

If you really like the idea of being an Activity specialist - but don’t have the qualifications - take steps to improving your application. Go to your local sports center, or performing arts club and ask to volunteer and help out. Experience is a winner.

If after reading this, you think you’d like to aim your application at a different category - no problem! Just let us know.

Whatever you decide… it’s summer camp… it’s going to be incredible.

Rhi is our company wordsmith. Having been to summer camp for 6 years, there's nothing this veteran doesn't know.

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