Camp Counselor Jobs

Fire Up Your Resume with the American Camp Association

Summer Camp Jobs with the American Camp Association

Responsibility is a huge benefit that looks great on a resume, especially for someone in college who has to take care of eight to ten kids by themselves.
—Adam Hotchkiss, Summer Camp Counselor

Although summer is considered a time for relaxing in the sun, many students find that they cannot live solely on student loans and ramen noodles. While a job may be a necessity, a blank resume and a summer of flipping burgers are not. Students across the country are discovering that they can earn much more than cash as a camp counselor—they can obtain resume-building experience or even academic credit.

In today's world, a degree as well as several internships are often necessary to land that job, and while competitive internships may just result in filling the boss's coffee, there are 2,400 American Camp Association (ACA)-accredited camps across the country hiring right now.

According to ACA CEO Peg L. Smith, there is approximately 1.2 million camp staff in the U.S. today, and camps are increasingly hiring interns for academic credit. A camp job or internship is quite different from a traditional job or internship as it provides students with the opportunity to gain resume-building skills, while working with children in the great outdoors—what may be a welcome environment compared to a cubicle. Smith also said that a camp job can allow students to travel or gain experience in a specialization, such as a sport, teaching or working with children with special needs.

Job Search Tips

Browse job postings or post a resume on ACAcamps.org/jobs

Search for a camp by location, affiliation, specialty and much more with the Find A Camp search at: CampParents.org

What a Camp Job Can Add to Your Resume

Real-life, problem-solving skills

Significant and positive influence in the lives of children

Responsibility and patience

Experiential education opportunities that may be applied to any field

From the age of seventeen, Adam Hotchkiss bypassed the typical summer job and has instead worked as a camp counselor at Tate's Day Camp in Knoxville, Tennessee. Hotchkiss continued working at the camp through his college tenure at the University of Tennessee, and he gained not only many skills, but also the opportunity to add the titles of administrative assistant and program director to his resume.

Through his experience working at a camp, he learned organizational skills, responsibility, problem-solving skills, how to work with kids, and teamwork. His experience seems to have paid off as he is currently a teacher at the Episcopal School of Knoxville and is also the director of summer camp programs at the school. Asked if his experience working at camp was beneficial to his career, he said, "Absolutely, if I hadn't done that stuff, I don't know if I would be here today."

Learning new skills

"Summer camp is a special place where children and adults come together and form a unique community," explains Smith. In this setting, young adults working as counselors have the opportunity to:

Master real-life, problem-solving skills
Have a significant and positive influence in children's lives
Develop greater self-understanding
Participate in experiences that enhance personal growth
Develop/expand a network of peer relations

To browse job postings or to post a resume, visit the ACA Employment Center at ACAcamps.org/jobs. This site also lists job fairs, which oftentimes take place on college campuses or even in conjunction with universities. Also, ACA provides Find A Camp, a searchable database of over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps at CampParents.org. Through this searchable database, those interested in a camp job can browse camps by location, specialty, special needs, gender, age ranges and other criteria. Smith said that the Find A Camp search is perfect for those looking for a specific camp, such as a camp with a specialty or at a certain geographical area.

When asked what students can do to land that perfect camp job, Smith said it is beneficial if students have experience with children, such as babysitting or daycare. She also said that applicants should mention any leadership positions held or if they are certified as a first responder or in CPR with the American Red Cross. She recommended visiting ACAcamps.org/students.

"All of these things are important, but of course counselors do receive ongoing training, in such areas as safety, leadership, time management, activity skills, and child and youth development," Smith said. "If someone is considering a camp job, I'd say go for it. Even if you only do it for the summer, you gain the experience and you can learn so much from the environment," Hotchkiss said. "You'll pick up skills you'll use in the future, and you will look back ten years later and realize how much it has benefited you."

A camp job or internship offers opportunities for growth through experiences that will last a lifetime. Whether you want to work at a camp that has a specialty, from scuba diving on the coast to mountain climbing in Alaska, or if you want to work at a camp for children with special needs, a camp job offers real life experiences and a hands-on education that simply cannot be found in a classroom.
—Peg Smith

Camp Friendship

American Camp Association: Enriching Lives, Building Tomorrows

The American Camp Association works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-accredited camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit ACAcamps.org.

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