Types of Camps


With 10 million campers heading off to their summer home from home, the variety of camps out there is huge and every camper's individual preferences can be catered for. Once you have start an online application you'll be able to show your interest in the kinds of camp you wish to be involved with.

Use the quick links below to gain a detailed understanding of the different types of camps you could work at this summer:

Agency Summer Camps

Run by an agency such as the YMCA, 4-H clubs, Campfire Boys & Girls these camps follow the traditions of the agency with which they are affiliated and are operated by a board of directors rather than an individual owner. A variety of sports, arts, waterfront and outdoor living activities are offered to suit camper interests. Campers come from various socio-economic backgrounds.

Day Summer Camps

As the name suggests, this type of camp operates for daytime sessions only. Children arrive early in the morning and participate in a full day of activities before returning home to their families at the end of the day. Counselors lead the campers through a variety of activities each day. Counselors live either in on-site accommodation (dorm rooms, camp staff house) or with host families and have most evenings, and some weekends free, once the children have gone home. Day camps are often located closer to towns/cities than residential camps and campers may come from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Most day camps are co-ed. (*Note- counselors working at day camps must complete an 11-week contract as opposed to a 9-week contract for residential camps).

Female campers at Summer Camp Cody, NHFaith Based Summer Camps

At a faith based camp the campers are offered an opportunity to attend traditional summer camps while celebrating their religious beliefs at the same time.  The level of religious involvement required from camp staff varies depending on the camp so you do not necessarily have to follow the camp's religion. Most religious camps in America are Christian or Jewish.

Are you Jewish and interested in working at a Jewish Camp?  The USA has a vast number of Jewish camps and these camps are particularly interested in hiring Jewish staff from around the world.  Select 'Jewish Camp Leader' when you register!

Do you have an active Christian faith and want to work at a Christian Camp? There are many camps in America which are Christian and who are looking specifically for Christians to work at their camps. The majority of these would describe themselves as protestant evangelical. Select 'Christian Camp Leader' when you register!

Family Summer Camps 

Why should the parents miss out on all the fun!? Here camp can host the entire family during the summer. Some families have attended a particular family camp for generations. Counselors at family camps are often asked to teach or assist in activities with groups of adults or children, or both. Staff sleep in separate accommodations away from the families. During mealtimes entire families will dine together. Many families that attend family camp come from middle to upper-socio economic backgrounds.

Girl Scout Summer Camps

Similar to girl guides in the UK, the Girls Scout of America are an organization which operates year-round clubs to promote the growth of young women in society through activities, challenges and educational experiences. Girl Scout camps have female campers only and most have female-only staff, though a few may have some males on staff. The camp facilities are often rustic, using platform tents and camping (tents) for accommodation. The main activity focuses are arts & crafts, outdoor adventure/cooking, waterfront activities and ropes courses. Campers come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds.

Counselors from Summer Camp North Star, MEPrivate/Independent Summer Camps

This type of camp is a privately owned and operated business. Many private camps are all-boys or all-girls camps, though there are still some co-ed private camps remaining. Many families have been sending their children to the same private camp for generations, so traditions are strongly rooted in the camper and camp staff community. These camps offer a variety of activities including sports, arts, waterfront and horseback riding. Some may also focus on athletic competitions against other camps. The majority of campers at private camps come from higher socio-economic backgrounds and pay a larger tuition fee to attend camp.

Special Needs Summer Camps

Special needs camps vary greatly and serve people with various types of special needs including (but not limited to): cerebral palsy, autism, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, other cognitive/intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, blindness, deafness, learning disabilities, health problems and ADHD/ADD. Campers may range in age from young children to adults or elderly adults and the camps themselves may accommodate children only, children and adults, or adults only.  Many counselors will work with campers on 1:1 or 1:2 person ratios and may, or may not, have to provide personal care to campers (helping with lifting, showering, toileting, dressing etc).

Can I choose the type of special needs camp?  If you are interested in working at a special needs camp you can specify exactly which type of special needs camp you would like to work at in your Camp Leaders application.  Just select yes to the special needs question then answer the supplementary questions.

Do I need experience?  Most special needs camps do not require counselors to have previous experience as they will provide extensive training when you arrive at camp.  In addition, Camp Leaders will sign you up for an online course with the University of Minnesota which you complete prior to going to the USA. This course will help prepare you for camp and you will receive an excellent qualification, further enhancing your CV.

Underprivileged Summer Camps

This type of camp services children from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Many campers may be attending camp on a scholarship, if their families cannot afford the camp tuition. Underprivileged camps are usually run by an organization or foundation which relies on charitable donations and grants to operate camp. Most underprivileged camps offer general camp activities such as water and land based sports, alongside arts & crafts, and have basic facilities. Campers mainly come from regional inner cities.

Summer Camp America in 2017
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