So you’re back from spring break and thinking about summer jobs. You’ve already decided not to apply for unpaid internships answering phones and fetching coffee, turned down your uncle’s offer to help out with the family business, and shunned the idea of summer school. You want to work at CAMP – be outside with kids, learn and teach new skills, develop leadership experience, and create lasting relationships. Hundreds of camps across New England are hiring right now, but how do you go about finding the best fit? Landing a camp job is competitive and camps are hiring the strongest candidates. So here’s our advice:
- Do your research. It’s impossible to get a real feel for a camp without physically being there, but there are plenty of ways to filter your search. Is it a specialized or general program? What specialized (sports, fine and performing arts, and other skills do you have to offer? What is the camp culture like? Competitive or noncompetitive? How is the day structured? Most camps can tell you that with one email or phone call. What’s the level of connection to the outside world – utter woodsy isolation, or occasional Internet and phone access? Directors want to hire counselors whose needs fit the mission and strengths of their camps, which they prominently display on their websites and materials.
- Utilize web resources, but have real conversations too. Check our Jobs section at for a continually updated list of open positions from New England’s ACA Accredited camps. If you’re expanding your search beyond New England, you can post your resume on the national ACA job site. However, if you’re seriously interested in a camp, make contact by phone or in person. Camp is personal, and web interactions won’t let your character or that of your future employer shine through.
- Write a resume that presents a strong background in organization, team building and cooperation. Whether you have previous camp experience or not, you should gear your resume and other application materials towards these core values of camp. Even a job scooping ice cream indicates fluid customer service, collaboration with co-workers, and a playful attitude.
- Draw on personal experience. Before interviewing, think about who your role models were growing up. If you went to camp, what were your best counselors like? Channel these people as you talk to camp directors and hiring managers, remembering how they made your childhood summers special and how you can “pay it forward” to a new generation of campers.
- Radiate enthusiasm! High spirit is the glue that holds all camps together. Don’t let the hiring process make you nervous or timid – show directors just how much you want to enrich the lives of children through quality camp experience and you should have no problem landing a fantastic job this summer.