Camp Application Process

If you have made the decision to find a job at a summer camp, then congratulations, you’re right at the start of an exciting new adventure. We may be biased, but we think you’ve made a great choice. Summer camps are one of those unique jobs where work and play are intrinsically linked – and having fun is part of the job description! 

So, you’ve found a camp that you like the look of, you’ve done the research and it aligns with your values and career goals, and you can really see yourself working there – so how do you give yourself the best chance of getting the job? Deciding when and how to reach out to a camp you want to work for can make all the difference in you getting the job you want.



As with most jobs, timing is an important piece when it comes to landing your next camp job.  The earlier you begin your camp job search, the better. Camp hiring can start as early as fall, and usually kicks off onto full gear in the early winter months. 

Camps want to be finished with hiring as soon as possible so they can focus their time on getting camp ready for the summer and making sure their new staff are ready too!

While not ideal, it’s not the end of the world if you’re not starting your search until later than that, as some positions may still be available. Many camps require 100 or more employees each summer in order to operate. Since life is unpredictable, it may be the case that people who had been hired to fill a role may become unavailable.

The world of summer camps certainly faced a lot of unpredictability in the 2021 summer season. Typically, about half of a camp’s employees will be made up of international hires, but with the uncertainties regarding travel restrictions, many camps were left needing to decide when and how to fill so many roles, and in some cases, rehire for roles that would have been filled by returning international staff members. With a lot of unpredictability in what 2022 will look like, it’s possible that we will see new travel restrictions, so spots may open back up before the summer.


Start The Conversation

When you want to get noticed by a camp, we have no better advice than to reach out and say hello! Even if it’s late in the hiring season, and even if you don’t see any positions listed on the camp’s website, it will never hurt to make a personal connection with someone at the camp. In the event that there are simply no available positions, they can make a note to reach out to you first thing for the next season’s hiring needs. 

A simple and professional email introducing yourself and expressing your interest in the camp is more than enough to get on the hiring team’s radar. In this age, most of the people camps are talking to will be through emails initially, so if you make the effort to give them a call and speak to someone live, that can be a great great to build rapport and make a strong first impression before you’ve applied. 

Making sure you have researched the camp and written down some specific questions to ask them will show that you are invested and serious about working there – and makes the application a lot more interesting for the camp. Remember that each camp speaks to hundreds of applicants each year, and it’s the ones that show that they are engaged in the process that really stand out. So take the time to think of some questions to ask. If you can’t think of any, try asking the person you are talking to about their experience at this camp; their challenges, joys and stories. This will almost certainly give you some more information about the camp and if it’s the right fit for you.


Now What?

Once you’ve made a great first impression at the right time, it’s up to you to nail the application and interview. Check out our 4 mistakes to avoid when applying for a job at summer camp!


Want to learn more? We make it our mission to gather all the necessary information to help you find your perfect camp job. Speak to one of our Summer Camp hiring experts and get the guidance you need to find the right camp for you! 

Making it all the way to an interview is an exciting, if daunting, step in the summer camp application process. The interview is often the ultimate make-it or break-it step when it comes to getting the job offer, so it’s important to do everything you can in order to be prepared, make a great impression, and cast aside any remaining doubts the hiring coordinator may have about your qualifications or fit. 

In any interview you find yourself a part of, a general best practice is to have questions prepared for the interviewer. Having your own set of questions ready can showcase your interest in the camp while also highlighting yourself as someone who is responsible and organized. We’ve compiled a couple of excellent questions to ask during your next camp job interview. 

If you’re looking for additional advice on getting your camp application noticed, we’ve shared 5 of our top tips to get hired here.


1) “Are there any projects I can contribute to right away/after the summer?”

A lot of work goes into making summer camps run successfully, and most of that work happens in the months leading up to and directly following the main season. Expressing interest in learning about the ways you might be able to help shows that you are knowledgeable about how camps operate, are a problem-solver, and are willing to take initiative. Additionally, many camps place a high value on applicants who have the potential to return for multiple summers. If you have the capacity to help in the off-season, your investment in the camp will definitely help you to stand out from the crowd. 

Of course, be sure that you only make this offer if you have the capacity to take on something new! If you don’t have the time to take on any extra projects, it’s okay to simply express your curiosity for how the camp prepares for summer, so you could instead ask something like: “What is the size of your year-round team?” or “How are decisions made about the upcoming summer?” or “What kinds of projects are you still hoping to finish before summer starts?”.

2) “What else do you think I need to know to be prepared to have a successful summer?” 

At this point, you should have thoroughly scoured whatever information is available on the camp’s website, but no amount of pre-camp ‘homework’ can truly prepare you for the summer ahead. The interview is your chance to talk with someone who knows what the day-to-day of this camp actually looks like. Asking a question like this shows your interviewer that you are excited, prepared, and that you want to do a good job. Similarly, you could ask something along the lines of: “Is there anything that tends to surprise most people about the work/summer/campers?” Your genuine curiosity will help your interviewer to remember you fondly, and you will have gained some valuable insight on how to best prepare for the summer ahead.

3) “How has the camp changed since your first summer?”

Your interview could offer you some great insight into a camp’s ability, or reluctance, to grow and change. You may know that you thrive in an environment that embraces process development, or maybe you long to work somewhere that places a high value on tradition. Either way, this question will help you determine if this is the right camp for you, and it will also show the hiring manager that you have an interest in the direction and growth of the camp.

Camp counselors in a field looking at a leader with a whiteboard

4) “What has made working at this camp different from anywhere else you’ve worked?”

Getting some insight about the camp through the voice of someone who works there is often far more enlightening than whatever you may find on their website. Asking a question like this will hopefully excite the interviewer, but if it doesn’t, that may be a pretty telling sign. In our experience, long-time camp employees tend to be full of stories that they’re all too happy to share. Remember, your goal is the same as the interviewer’s – you are both confirming that this is a good match. With a question like this, you should be able to get an idea about why employees have loved working at this particular camp.

5) “Is there anything else you need to know in order to feel confident about my fit for this role?” 

A question like this allows you to address any concerns that may be lingering for your interviewer while showcasing your willingness to be vulnerable and accept feedback. 

Similarly, you could ask: “Do you have any concerns regarding my being a fit for this role?”, or “Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?”

Ending an interview in this way should help to give you and the interviewer a clear picture of whether or not the role is a good fit.


We hope you found some inspiration from this list, but don’t forget to also ask any other questions you need answered in order to decide if the position is a good fit for you. When it comes to finding the right summer camp job, It’s not just about winning someone over, it’s about making sure that both you and the camp have found an excellent fit. 


Want to know more? Our Summer Camp experts are ready to answer any of your questions to help you find the perfect camp job. Get in touch today!

In this article, we’re going to help you stay one step ahead of the competition by sharing 4 common mistakes to avoid when applying for a job at a summer camp. 

Every year, thousands of summer camps across America begin the considerable task of hiring the staff necessary to run their upcoming season. Hiring excellent staff members is a massive undertaking, and each camp will spend their off-season months on the lookout for the best candidates to fit their own unique set of criteria. From year to year, each camp will be hiring everything from counselors, to kitchen staff, and even leadership positions. 

Luckily, every year, there are also hundreds of thousands of young professionals from around the world looking to land their own ideal camp job. Camp looks great on a resume and can fill your summer with adventure, new friendships, useful skills, and lifelong memories, so, it’s not surprising that work at a camp is such a highly sought-after opportunity. For many with a passion for childcare or for those who are on the path towards careers in teaching, there’s no better way to spend a summer. 


1) Sending Only a Resume

The reality of camp hiring is that camps rarely look for a particular work experience or qualification when finding their staff. Rather than looking primarily at things like time spent in a position or GPA, most camps want passionate, adventurous young people who will be great at working with children for a summer. 

If they’re looking through your work history, it will be to see if you have a clear passion for childcare that shows up in the work you’ve done leading up to camp, or to see if you have experience working in a physically and emotionally demanding environment. For example, babysitting on its own is not usually qualified as a strong example of working with children, but if you show that you paired a side-gig of babysitting with heading a volunteer effort that brought together the community to start a children’s literacy program, or that you lead a weekly playground cleanup program, that will certainly stand out! 

All this to say, unless your resume has some excellent examples of how your passion for childcare has led you to seeking a camp job now, don’t rely on it to pave the way to your dream camp. Instead of letting your resume do the work for you, there’s no better opportunity to let your personality shine and have some fun with an application! 

As with everything else, each camp will have its own unique hiring process, but you can bet that the more of your authentic self you let shine through, the better your odds at getting noticed and hired by the right camp for you. This is your chance to make that “All About Me” Slideshow, send along an introductory video, or send along photos of your most intricate tie-dye creations. Don’t be afraid to stand out and show who you are beyond the typical resume. 


2) Being too General

When applying for a job at a summer camp, you need to be specific about your interest in the particular camp you are contacting! We drive this point home a lot, but every camp is unique, meaning that there is hopefully something specific to that camp that’s fueled your desire to work there. 

To bring some personal experience to this category, while hiring at our camp, we got an application that mentioned how excited the applicant was about getting to “do sports” with the campers and going on to talk about their experience with soccer and basketball. All in all, not a bad sentiment, the only problem is…our camp didn’t offer sports, and a quick browse through the website would have been enough to learn that. So, as the person reading this application, I now either have someone who is really excited for something they won’t be able to do at our camp, or I have someone who did not do their research about us before applying to work with us. In either case, it’s no longer an application I’m super excited about. 

There are so many camps out there, so be sure to take the time to figure out why you are choosing to apply at the camps you are! Show that you have put time and effort into researching a particular camp by mentioning specifics from their website or brochure, just like you would research about a company before you go to an interview. The more specifics you can talk about and how they apply to your passions and beliefs, the more likely both you and the hiring team will feel that it’s a good match.


3) Not Finding the Right Balance of Fun and Professional 

Camp is more often than not a fun, creative, and silly place where children and adults alike feel a sense of freedom and playfulness not found elsewhere. When hiring new staff, camps are looking for fun and magnetic personalities, but they are also looking for people who can be trusted to care for groups of children on their own. If there is any doubt about your ability to provide outstanding care for the health, safety, and wellbeing of children, you will not be considered for the job. In order to really shine, you need to strike a balance between showcasing that you can take the responsibilities of the job seriously, while also showing off your fun and adventurous side.

4) Making Your Experience about Anything Other than the Campers

Working at a summer camp will provide you with many awesome benefits. For starters, it looks great on a resume, plus, you will get to meet fun young professionals from around the world, forge friendships that will last a lifetime, try activities like zip lining, and perfect your tie-dying skills, amid countless other perks. Many camp counselors end their summer by traveling with their newfound friends, whether that be cross-country road trips or backpacking across Europe or Southeast Asia. 

You can certainly be excited about all of these opportunities…but we suggest not talking about them when applying for a job at a summer camp. Remember, the people in charge of hiring are searching, first and foremost, for someone who will be great at caring for the campers. Channel your excitement into what you can offer to the camp and the children vs what they can offer you. 

We hope that with these tips in mind, you are able to find and get hired at your dream camp! 


Want to know more? Our Summer Camp experts are ready to answer any of your questions to help you find the perfect camp job. Get in touch today!