Summertime and the living is easy. Okay, it’s not always easy if you’re working at a summer camp. While you are scoring a tan from working outside all of the time, the work is more fast-paced than other summer gigs. But if you love working with kids, have a passion for play, and binge-watch Wet Hot American Summer, a summer camp job could be a great fit.
While most positions have probably been filled for this summer, it’s never too early to start thinking about next summer! Below is a list of types of summer camps you could work at, along with positions they usually hire for.
First, choose your camp:
1. Day Camp
Day campers arrive after breakfast and leave before dinner. They participate in traditional camp activities but go home at night to eat, sleep, and shower before coming back for fun the next day. Often these camps take place in schools or other unused buildings in the summer, but sometimes they have their own campuses.
2. Overnight Camp
Picture "The Parent Trap" and you will have an idea of what overnight camp is like. Filled with bunk-bed lined cabins, camp lasts anywhere from one to eight weeks. Campers eat all their meals at camp, sleep at camp, and have a lot of time for bonding and learning to be away from home.
3. Adventure Camp
Adventure camp is a bit more extreme than traditional camp. Instead of canoeing around a quiet lake, campers might go white water rafting. Picture hiking, boating, surfing, scuba diving, ziplining, and more. Working here will let you not only be a part of an adventure but will also allow you to guide campers through one as well.
4. Performing Arts Camp /Dance and Theater Camp
Future Broadway stars head to performing arts camp for singing lessons, acting practice, and of course, a part in the camp play. If you love performing and want to share your passion with kids, this is a great place to spend the summer. If you hate musicals, however, it's best to look elsewhere.
5. Academic Camp
If you celebrate the word “nerd,” work at an academic camp. These camps specialize in different subjects ranging from science and math to SAT prep courses. Your role will be part teacher, part camp counselor. You’ll get to help brains grow in a way that’s a little more fun than school.
6. Sports Camp
Inspire athletes by coaching at sports camp. Some camps are more general and include all sports, while others are more specific and appeal to just basketball players, baseball stars, or future members of the US Olympic Volleyball team. You’ll get to work out while helping campers work on their sports technique.
7. Nature Camp
Get campers excited about the great outdoors by taking long hikes, doing some bird watching, and observing bugs together. The focus of nature camp is on exploring the world around us. In a society where kids get more screen time than outside time, it’s important to foster in them a sense of outdoor play. Plus, this means you’ll be outside all summer too.
8. Music and Band Camp
We’ve all heard the famous line, “One time at band camp.” While that band camp was wilder than reality, band and music camp are real. Get some extra practice time in by helping campers master their instruments and inspire the next generation of great music makers. The kids will master their skills and parents will be proud at the end of the summer concert.
9. Computer and Technology Camp
While "summer camp" conjures up images of the outdoors, these camps are held inside. Help campers master coding, robot building, software engineering, and more. First stop summer camp, next stop Silicon Valley.
10. Science Camp
If your childhood hero was Bill Nye the Science Guy, you can inspire future scientists at science camp. Spend the summer in a lab experimenting and helping campers realize that science does, in fact, rule.
11. Special Needs Camp
Campers that have different needs can find a safe space at special needs camp. This camp is designed to include campers of all abilities. Working here requires patience and is a rewarding way to spend a summer.
Next, choose your position:
1. Camp Counselor
If the idea of sleeping in a bunk bed surrounded by campers sounds fun, become a camp counselor. Your job will be a combination of organizing play, herding kids, and trying to enforce bedtime. You won’t get much sleep, but you'll have plenty of s'mores to keep you going.
2. Unit Head
If leading staff is more appealing than leading campers, become a unit head. You’ll be a role model for counselors and deal with situations that they can’t handle alone. Unit leaders also deal with staff issues, which at camp sometimes means friendship and romance drama.
Share your specialty with campers by being an instructor. Traditional camps have broader needs like art instructors, sports instructors, nature instructors, and more. Specialized camps like sports camp will need more specialized instructors like basketball coaches.
As director, you’ll be the head honcho and the last word. You’ll be in charge of managing camper issues that have risen above the abilities of other staff. You’ll also manage staff issues such as behavior, staffing, promotions, and a lot of other offseason work.
5. Assistant Director
You’ll be the director’s right-hand man or woman. Camp days are long and exhausting, so all directors rely heavily on their #2. You’ll help with both staff and camper needs and support your director as much as possible.
6. Camp Nurse
Cuts, scrapes, and mosquito bites -- oh my! You’ll be the go-to person for everything from dehydration to allergic reactions. In the woods, lots of creatures bite and sting, and stomach aches can be caused by anything from a bad hot dog to homesickness. You’ll get to care for campers and staff to make sure everyone stays well enough to enjoy their camp experience.
7. Kitchen Staff
Campers have to eat! As a part of the kitchen staff, you will prep meals for campers and staff, taking into consideration any dietary needs. Keeping the camp running requires at least one meal a day, and three meals a day for sleepaway camp! As kitchen staff, you’ll be one of the most loved people on-site.
8. Office Jobs
Not all jobs at camp take place in the sun. If sitting in in an air-conditioned room is more your style, an office job at camp could be a great fit. You’ll help with registration, parent communication, mail, human resources, marketing, and lots of other seasonal and year-round needs.
If it’s broke, you fix it! When working maintenance, you'll help move things around and keep camp going by ensuring that everything is up and running. From bathrooms to kilns to pools, you’ll have a hand in every part of camp.