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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Summer 2021 update

After missing a summer at camp for the first year in our company history, we can’t wait to get back out there.

As we move towards summer 2021, we are understanding of the New Zealand Governments restrictions in place surrounding international travel. We expect that these restrictions will be relaxed come your return to New Zealand after camp.

Heading to summer camp is a great option for those migrant workers currently in New Zealand that are looking to continue their travels and earn some money before heading back to their home country.

Time is on our side, with the majority of camps only beginning their seasons in June.

As always, your safety and welfare is our utmost priority and we will only facilitate travel if it’s safe to do so.

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Deposit only until 2021

We understand that some people may still be nervous about committing to travel for 2021.

To help, you can save your place by paying just your deposit and nothing else, until Jan 2021.

Your remaining instalments will then be paid in early 2021 as you move through your application stages.

See our pricing
Frequently asked questions

Updated: 3/12/20

When should I apply?

This year we have limited places available due to the number of deferrals from summer 2020. The sooner you apply, the better your chances of securing your spot.

I have instalments to pay, should I pay them now or wait?

We understand that people may be anxious to pay, or want to wait until a time closer to summer. To help, you can save your place on the program by paying just your deposit and nothing else, until Jan 2021.

If I contract coronavirus (COVID-19) whilst on the program, will I be covered by the medical insurance?

Yes, you will receive regular insurance coverage, provided you were not diagnosed with Coronavirus before starting your trip. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness before departure, we ask that you follow your local health authority's guidance.

How should I contact the office about my application?

We are receiving a high volume of queries and are operating on reduced staffing. Due to the number of staff and volume of queries our primary contact method is now email. Please email us at newzealand@campleaders.com. We have reserved our phone systems for high-priority outbound calls only.

How are decisions made about the program and coronavirus?

We are staying informed on the latest advisories and recommendations made by relevant government, health, and travel agencies. These include:

  • The World Health Organization
  • U.S. Department of State
  • The Foreign Office and Public Health authority of each participant's home country
  • Our Visa Sponsors

Can I travel to America in 2021?

Yes, you are allowed to fly to America. There are regular flights leaving Auckland each week, meaning there are no restrictions on you leaving NZ.

Will I have to go into Managed Isolation when I come back to NZ after camp?

At time of publication, yes – anyone entering New Zealand will have to go into a managed isolation facility when returning to NZ. Remember to follow MIQ guidelines prior to booking flights.

Previous updates


Date : 10/08/2020

As of 12.01am Tuesday 11th August 2020, all New Zealand citizens and residents opting to leave New Zealand and return at a later date, are required to enter into a managed isolation facility for 14 days on their return to New Zealand. The charges cover less than half of the average total costs for managed isolation and quarantine.

Exemptions are available for certain groups of people and waivers from chargers are possible on a case-by-case basis for undue financial hardship and in special circumstances.

More information can be found on www.miq.govt.nz


Date: 24/04/20

Thank you for your ongoing patience and support.

We are currently prioritising assistance for participants who were due to depart prior to May 12th. Following that we will be prioritising support based on upcoming departure dates.

With the ever-changing nature of this unprecedented situation a lot remains uncertain as we face the coming weeks and months. At this point, we wanted to try and provide you with some certainty around a few key areas:

  • We are awaiting an update from the U.S. Department of State in regards to the current suspension of the Exchange Visitor Program (issued on March 13th). We expect to receive this mid-May and will update you shortly thereafter.
  • As stated from the outset of the pandemic - we will not facilitate travel if it is deemed unsafe to do so - this will be determined by government and public health authorities, the U.S. Department of State and visa sponsors. Your safety is our highest priority.
  • We will only suspend the program in the instance where it is unsafe to travel or travel is not logistically possible (e.g air travel is suspended). We must remain optimistic for the summer. Hundreds of thousands of children, now more than ever, need your support to learn new skills, build new relationships and have fun this summer.
  • Departure dates at any point in May for those who do not yet have their US Visa for the 2020 summer are extremely unlikely based on embassy closures and the Exchange Visitor Program suspension. Please be prepared for all departure dates to be moved into June or July. We will be in touch to confirm any departure date changes.
  • The vast majority of our camps have not cancelled their summer programs and are making the appropriate preparations for this summer including amending their start date to later in the summer, and the implementation of new safety measures for those attending camp.
  • Nonimmigrant visa appointments at the U.S Embassy remain suspended - we expect appointments to resume soon after the NZ Government announces Alert Level 2. Once we receive more information from the embassy we will update you.
  • Our Online Preparation Days have been finalised and are going ahead. Information on these will be sent to you in the coming days. It is a requirement of the US Dept of State and our Visa Sponsors that first time counselors complete Preparation Training before arriving at camp. While we have time, we recommend that you have these completed while we are in Alert Level 3.
  • We have already received many questions regarding President Trump’s recent announcement regarding a ban on U.S. immigration. Please be aware that the Exchange Visitor Program is a nonimmigrant cultural exchange program. This program is currently suspended until May 11th at which point the U.S. Department of State and ECA will review the situation. At this point, we do not believe President Trump’s recent statement will directly affect the Camp Leaders program.
  • If your camp has cancelled your placement please email us at newzealand@campleaders.com

We continue to operate with a reduced office hours and ask that anyone not due to depart in the near future, and those not affected by a camp cancellation help us by waiting for us to contact them first. We will continue to update this page as we receive more information. For answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding coronavirus please see below.


Date: 31/03/20

At Camp Leaders, we know that the unprecedented global situation we all face is challenging every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

As a travel-based company, while it’s difficult for us to witness the world on lockdown, with social distancing and travel bans commonplace, we firmly believe in the measures being taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

At this point, we wanted to take the time to update you on what is happening behind the scenes at Camp Leaders and Smaller Earth:

  • The Exchange Visitor Program, the visa on which the Camp Leaders program operates, is suspended until May 11th. All departure dates prior to this have been rearranged to later dates.
  • Our team, who are working remotely from their homes all across the globe, are continuing to work diligently alongside our American visa sponsors and partner camps to prepare for the upcoming summer. Our goal of providing a life changing summer experience has not changed, and our partner camps remain excited to welcome international staff.
  • Your start dates, travel arrangements, visa appointments and length of time at camp, may change over the coming days and weeks as we navigate our way through this unprecedented situation. With this we ask that you continue to remain as positive, open and flexible as possible.
  • Due to the coronavirus outbreak we are operating with reduced levels of staff. This is having an impact on communication response times and capacity. We ask that anyone who is not due to travel in the near future help us by waiting for us to contact them first. Where possible please use our online help section and coronavirus FAQs (see below).
  • Our utmost priority is the safety of our participants, staff, and partners, and we will only facilitate travel if it is safe to do so. We are following the advice and information from the U.S Department of State, local government authorities, and our partner visa sponsors and camps.
  • As a precautionary measure, we are working on alternative plans for the unlikely instance that it is not safe for the program to go ahead. Further information will be released in the near future. As of now (31/03/20) the Camp Leaders program is still going ahead and standard program agreement terms apply. Most importantly, we would like to thank our participants, partners and staff for their overwhelmingly positive response during these difficult times. We have received many positive messages via phone, email, and livechat, as well as on our social media pages. Although the near future may be uncertain for us all, we are reminded that positivity, kindness, and cultural exchange are here to stay.


Date: 19/03/20

As of 18th March, 2020, the United States Consulates in New Zealand have postponed postponed visa interview appointments until the end of March. We are monitoring this situation and are in close contact with our visa sponsors.

At this time, we ask that you continue to move forward with your application. Please complete all available sections to ensure you are ready when visa interview appointments are re-opened.

If you have a visa appointment scheduled before 1st April, the Camp Leaders team will reach out to you directly. We recommend that all applicants wait to be contacted about their visa appointments.


Date: 17/03/20

Based on the current situation of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Camp Leaders have made the decision to pause all new applications for summer 2020 effective immediately. Any applications started before 17th March will be unaffected and can continue forward as normal. All new applications from 17th March 2020 will be deferred until further notice.

This decision has been made to allow us to provide our current applicants with the high standard of customer care and service we pride ourselves on.

Our summer camps are continuing to operate and are excited to welcome Camp Leaders participants this summer, and as ever, we’re excited to support you on your summer of a lifetime.

The Camp Leaders team will be reaching out directly to every applicant over the coming days and weeks, to ensure that you are supported through this challenging global situation.


Date: 14/03/20

On March 13th the US Department of State announced the temporary pause of international exchange programs due to COVID-19. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) will temporarily pause all ECA funded programs. This has also been extended to privately funded programs which includes the Exchange Visitor Program, the visa on which the Camp Leaders program operates. This temporary pause is expected to last 60 days.

At Camp Leaders we will continue to work towards our May and June departures and expect there to be limited impact on travel to camp.

If you have a departure date that falls before May 11th 2020 our team will be directly in touch with you.

If you are not due to travel on or before May 11th we recommend that you wait before contacting us with Coronavirus related queries to ensure we have the latest information available for your travel.


Date: 12/03/20

On March 11th President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States.

This proclamation is expected to last 30 days and applies to the countries located in the Schengen area.

Travel from the New Zealand remains unaffected at this point, provided you have not travelled in a Schengen area in the last 14 days.

At Camp Leaders we will continue to work towards our May and June departures and expect there to be limited to no impact on travel to camp.

If you are currently in one of the areas affected and/or have a departure date that falls before the 11th April 2020 our team will be directly in touch with you.

If you are not due to travel in the near future we recommend that you wait before contacting us with Coronavirus related queries to ensure we have the latest information available for your travel.


Date: 09/03/20

Camp Leaders are committed to the welfare and safety of our participants and have been monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely.

We are staying informed on advisories from the WHO, CDC, and other relevant local and international agencies. We are also relying on updates from our US team, partners and camps. At this time based on the guidelines and information from the sources outlined above, the Camp Leaders programme will be going ahead as planned for summer 2020.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates if the situation is to change.