Working at a summer camp is an excellent choice for students because there are so many niches and positions to choose from! You can choose to work for an organization-based camp or a private camp, subsidized or un-subsidized. From day camp to overnight camp, time commitments for camp jobs tend to vary, and so do the positions. Camps tend to have a variety of leadership opportunities and lots of room for advancement. If you love kids, working at a summer camp could be the perfect job for you. Being part of camp staff has other benefits such as planned staff socials which allow you to interact with co-workers your age outside of the work environment.
Some camp positions include:
- Counsellors-in-Training (CIT)
- Counsellors/Cabin Leaders
- Unit Head
- Head Counsellor
- Assistant Director
Counsellors are responsible for ensuring the safety of the kids in their care while also facilitating activities and encouraging inclusivity amongst campers. Camp is a great place for bringing your individual interests and skills to the fore by being a Specialist. Perhaps you know a lot about nature, arts and crafts, canoeing or dance (just to name a few).
Since many camps have aquatic activities, Life Guards play a key role in summer camps. These positions are sometimes called Swim Staff or Swim Supervisors. Life Guards, due to an intensive certification process, often get a competitive rate of pay. Certification as a Life Guard varies from province to province but can typically be completed at community centres and private swim centres. Certifications may vary by province.
Some choose to be a CIT before taking on the responsibility of a Counsellor. A CIT is a position intended to prepare one with the skills they need to be a responsible Counsellor. CITís are typically un-paid, though some exceptions exist, and they work alongside Counsellors and camp staff to build their leadership skills for future employment. Being a CIT allows one to familiarize oneself with the camp and different positions of interest, and a great first summer job.
Position titles tend to vary from camp to camp so it is necessary to understand the qualifications of the position you are applying for, as no two camps operate quite the same. While many still envision summer camp as a place of outdoor activities like campfires and hikes, camps have evolved over the years. Many camps now incorporate a variety of activities or specialize in other areas entirely, including the performing arts and music. There are even leadership and team-building camps, self-esteem building camps, special needs camps and religious-affiliated camps. Some camps are divided based on sexes, while others are mixed.
Some types of camps include:
- Sports camp
- Cheerleading and gymnastics camps
- Education camp
- Arts and music camps
- Religious camp
- Leadership camp
Sometimes summer camp fairs are held during off-season months to promote camps for prospective campers and counsellors, so keep an eye out for these events in your community. For information about summer employment at a city-run day-camp, check your local community centre for more information. For private camps, it is best to refer to their website.