Be a summer superhero.
Special needs counselor jobs in America.
Take on the most meaningful role at camp. You'll be a summer superhero by making sure summer camp is accessible for people of all abilities.
Qualifications aren't required for special needs counselor roles. Special needs roles aren't for the faint of heart - they're for the big-hearted. All you really need is compassion - if you want to help, you'll be a perfect fit.
Make summer camp accessible for everyone.
As a Special Needs Counselor, you'll be part of a team that provides top-notch care for people with various disabilities.
Special Needs camps bring in a wide variety of people - which is what makes it an amazing place to be. You might be working with mental or physical limitations, helping them have the same incredible summer experience as every other camper - and even participating in the same activities.
Special needs counselors earn an extra $100 for the summer.
Campers with special needs require extra support, so the counselor-camper ratio at these camps is typically 1:1 or 2:1.
You'll have lots of support from fellow counselors, and you'll be able to make sure that your campers have the same incredible summer camp experience as everyone else.Learn more about your day at camp
Ready to become a Leader?
Gain hands-on experience.
If you've made it this far, and you're still reading, it probably means you've got the dedication required to be a great special needs counselor.
Special needs summer camp roles can be challenging, but you'll develop resilience and compassion as a result. You'll experience all the highs and lows of summer - and you'll be surprised at just how hard it is to say goodbye when summer comes to an end.
Applying for a Special Needs role is easy:
2. Fill in your basic information.
3. Let us know your comfort level, including any previous special needs experience.
Why you should be a Special Needs Counselor this summer:
Working at a special needs camp changed my perspective on life. Getting to know campers with disabilities taught me about knowing the person, rather than the label.
Camp was the highlight of the year for most of our campers, but it didn't take long before they became my highlight. One family stood out in particular - at the end of one week, the father approached me, crying. He thanked me for the last four years of caring for his son with autism - it turned out that his son's week at camp was the only time he was able to take his terminally ill wife out for dinner. I'll never forget that moment - it showed me the huge importance of special needs camps.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I get time off as a Special Needs Counselor?
Of course - you'll spend your time caring for people with disabilities, which can be a tiring job. However, most special needs camps are a bit slower-paced than the typical summer camp, to ensure that all the campers can participate. You'll also have lots of support from fellow counselors, and you'll likely have more time off, as most special needs campers will typically only attend camp for a week or two - which means you may get full weekends off.
Each camp is different, and campers may stay for the week or for the whole summer. Whatever camp you end up at, you'll get time off each week to rest and recharge - or, if you're up for an adventure, you can explore the surrounding area. Make sure to ask your Camp Director about time off when your application reaches the "Ready to Hire" stage! Check out our after camp travel perks too make the most of your 30 day post-camp travel period!
What are the accommodations like?
Special needs summer camps resemble the average summer camp - only for people with special needs. The facilities and accommodations may be more accessible for people with physical disabilities, the intention of these camps is to provide the same incredible summer experience as every other camper would get. Simply put, campers with special needs are able to challenge themselves in all the activities at camp.
I've never worked with people with disabilities before - do I need experience? Will I receive training?
Absolutely - you don't need experience to work with special needs campers. Before the campers start to arrive, you'll have at least a week to settle in, meet your co-counselors, and get oriented. There will be lots of other counselors around to support you and provide guidance - the camper-counselor ratio at these camps is usually 1:1 or 2:1.
One thing you'll learn about working at a special needs camp is that you'll never quite know what to expect from each day. The best special needs counselors are flexible and compassionate - if you can roll with the punches, and want to develop great relationships, you'll be perfect at one of these camps.
What are Special Needs campers like?
Special needs campers span the full range of the disability spectrum. You may work with a variety of campers - such as people with intellectual or developmental challenges like autism or downs syndrome, behavioural conditions such as ADHD, or physical limitations such as spina bifida. Some camps will have a specific focus, and work with people who have a specific type of disability, and some may be able to accommodate a wider variety.
Wherever you end up, you'll be doing a good thing - helping people have an amazing summer that wouldn't be possible without you.