Summer Camp Counselors work as part of the staff of summer camps. Their main duty is to coordinate, conduct, and supervise all recreational activities for children and young teenagers during their stay at the camp. They are responsible for the well-being and safety of campers, as well as for creating a safe, fun, and rewarding environment for them.
Some summer camps have special themes (e.g. drama camps, space camps, or sport camps) and, depending on the theme, the type of activities assigned to the Summer Camp Counselor will vary from one to another. It is their job to tend to the individual needs of each camper, as well as to create activities that promote social interaction between campers.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Summer Camp Counsellors are required to complete.
- Briefing with other staff members:
- Coordinating and scheduling recreational and other types of activities;
- reading a list of campers to ensure they are all accounted for;
- helping Junior Counselors and volunteers; and
- discussing rules, regulations, and campers with special needs.
- Greeting new campers as they arrive to the facilities:
- Introducing campers to each other and to staff members;
- explaining facility rules and safety procedures;
- greeting parents and guardians; and
- answering all questions and inquiries in a direct and polite manner.
- Managing the operation of recreational facilities:
- Explaining safety rules and procedures;
- demonstrating the use of equipment; and
- supervising the proper use of equipment by campers.
- Monitoring campers to ensure their safety:
- Enforcing safety procedures and rules;
- assessing emergencies in a timely manner;
- administering first aid when necessary; and
- contacting medical assistance when required.
- Organizing and leading activities for campers:
- Creating a weekly and daily schedule;
- explaining the rules of a game or recreational activity and dividing campers into teams when needed;
- promoting participation and encouraging teamwork among campers; and
- supervising the proper development of the activity.
- Providing individual counsel and support to each camper:
- Monitoring each camper’s individual development;
- speaking and interacting with campers; and
- providing encouragement to each camper.
- Briefing with other staff members.
- Coordinating and scheduling daily activities.
- Explaining activities to campers and encouraging them to participate.
- Monitoring activities to ensure safety.
- Explaining and demonstrating the use of specialized equipment.
- Providing counsel and advice to campers.
- Assessing emergencies and responding in a timely manner.
The average Summer Camp Counselor salary in USA is $23,544 per year or $12 per hour. This is around 0.8 times less than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $16,000 while most experienced workers make up to $33,000. These results are based on 229 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Excellent physical condition and stamina:
- Participating in physical activities and sports;
- enduring days of constant activities; and
- helping campers during activities.
- Strong observational and awareness skills:
- Being capable of monitoring the activities of several campers at the same time;
- identifying and responding to the individual needs of each camper;
- looking out for possible hazards or safety violations; and
- noticing emergencies as soon as they happen.
- Good interpersonal and communication skills:
- Being capable of conveying clear instructions to campers;
- being patient, especially when working with a large group of children;
- explaining in a clear and calm manner safety procedures and rules;
- providing counsel and advice to campers; and
- being able to explain emergencies and injuries to medical personnel in a clear and concise manner when needed.
- Excellent teamwork, conflict-resolution, and leadership skills:
- Being capable of calling out infractions in a respectful yet authoritative manner;
- acting as a mediator between campers in case of conflict;
- being able to work as part of a team;
- assisting other staff members when necessary; and
- relaying instructions and responsibilities to teammates.
- Good stress management and decision-making skills:
- Being capable of reacting to emergencies in a calm manner;
- assessing emergencies according to established procedures; and
- requesting medical assistance for serious injuries.
- High levels of reliability, honesty, and integrity.
Work as a Summer Camp Counselor is usually available on a seasonal basis. Although the planning and organizing aspect of the job generally begins before the start of the summer, work with the actual campers starts later during the summer. The educational requirements to work as a Counselor usually vary depending on the type of camp they’re working on. Most camps usually require their Counselors to be at least 18 years of age and be senior high school students. However, Space Camps, Drama Camps, and other specialized facilities require their Counselors to have some background in the area of expertise that the camp specializes in.
Training in the use of equipment and safety procedures are provided by the administration of the Camp as well as first aid instruction, which usually lasts 2 weeks. Nevertheless, most hiring companies demand their employees to have a first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification, preferably from a recognized organization, such as the YMCA.
Applicants with a minimum of 6 months to 2 years of experience working with children and teenagers are preferred. It is also common for campers to become Counselors themselves once they reach the necessary age by using their experience as campers to their advantage.
Many companies offer young foreigners the opportunity to be part of a Camp Counselor program in the United States. Depending on each company’s terms, applicants must meet some requirements to be eligible.