Summer Camp Jobs

Have you ever been sitting in a lecture and thought that you don’t have enough experience in what your professors are lecturing about? Working at a summer camp is the perfect opportunity for psychology, education, and related majors to gain practical experience. Read on to learn how summer camp can help your college degree!

Counselor Communicating To Campers

Classroom Management

No other job, besides an actual teaching job, can better prepare you to stand in front of a classroom all day, keeping children’s attention, and teaching them vital information and life skills, than summer camp. You learn….

  • To gather children’s attention in creative ways, such as call and response, wacky skits, and more. 
  • To balance the needs, both physical and emotional, of a large group. 
  • Skills and techniques to redirect children when they stumble on a topic that may not be appropriate. 

Learning and perfecting these classroom management skills helped me kick start a volunteer education program for my university, landing me my first job out of college. My classroom management skills also landed me A’s in all of my public speaking presentations in any of my classes. 


Communication with Coworkers and Children

Communication in any setting is key to a successful and efficient day at work, or in life. Camps teach their staff highly effective communication techniques and styles that promote calmness and tranquility amidst a chaotic situation. When it comes to working and living in a community like summer camps, one miss in a communication step can cause major ripples in the ebb and flow of the day, communicating with everyone is highly valued. 

The communication skills I learned while working at summer camp were so valuable, they landed me a scholarship in my second year of undergrad. The styles of communication and interpersonal skills landed me letters of recommendation from my professors then landed me a spot in several post-graduate Master’s programs and jobs out of college.


Therapy in Action

Maybe you are an education major, or a psychology major, a social work major, or working towards understanding human and family development. If so, you will know the importance of therapeutic practices and the empirical research that supports these practices. At Camp Augusta, we utilize several research based therapy practices with campers.

Success Counseling, aka Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

We use something that we call “Success Counseling”, which is rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy. Success Counseling happens when a camper seems to be struggling with something. The counselor and camper sit down together to discuss what the camper was trying to accomplish, what all the options to achieve that goal were, what the best option is, and make a plan for next time. Additionally, the counselor later follows up with the camper to check in with them. 

Success counseling was a great tool to have when I became a teaching assistant at my University to help walk my students through challenging lessons and frustrating assignments. Learning success counseling helped me work at other jobs, too. When I got a supervisory role at a different job, I utilized parts of success counseling to train employees, and walk them through different policies and procedures of our department. 

“Your Storied Life” aka Narrative Therapy

Your Storied Life, rooted in Narrative Therapy, looks at three main components, the events that happened, the life that we lead, and the story we tell about the events. 

This helped me when I was in school to distinguish what was in and out of my control. Utilizing this approach, and teaching others this approach, helped alleviate mounds of stress around things like midterms, finals, public speaking and more. Certain things like studying, paying attention in class, and taking notes were in my control. My grades, while somewhat in my control, were out of my hands as soon as I turned an assignment in. If I got a poor grade, I reminded myself not to tell a story that the professor hated me, or that the professor didn’t understand what I had written. Objectively, I looked at the feedback, and did better the next time. 


students sitting in front of trees smiling

Summer camp can help your college degree in so many ways and the skills learned while working at camp are invaluable can be supplemental to our education or even teach us things we never thought we would learn. Camp can teach us the soft and hard skills that we are looking for to add to our resumes, and help give us that little energy boost to complete our college degrees, help us find purpose in our lives, and as always bring a little wish, wonder, and surprise into our lives.


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!


Welcome to our world-famous summer camp advice column – where our resident summer camp expert, Auggie Augusta, answers your questions about anything related to summer camp jobs! Today we talk about making the difficult choice between a summer of fun with a summer camp job, or an internship, as well as how to best prepare for an interview with a summer camp.

Summer Camp Job Or Internship?


Dear Auggie, 

My parents are really pushing for an internship this summer. I’m studying finance and they don’t want me to fall behind by not making the most of the summer. I know that if I stick with finance I only have so many summers left and really want to spend it outside doing something new. What should I do here?

– Uninterested in Internship


Dear Uninterested,

I am unapologetically pro-camp, so I can’t imagine you expected me to tell you that “no actually a summer in an air conditioned office is actually best for you”. That would just as silly as thinking camp has no value in a future career, even one in an industry such as finance. 

Beyond wanting a summer adventure, you are entering a field that is going to ask a lot of you and you will need a vibrant and varied toolbelt at your disposal. I did a cursory search of some of the skills that folks in the finance industry are looking for. 

  • Finance related training and education
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Problem solving
  • Communication skills

Companies are searching for and value skills beyond technical ability. In other words, future employers want you to have strong soft skills, not just hard hard skills. There is no better environment to hone your soft skills than at camp, which provides opportunity after opportunity to push your comfort zone, problem solve on the fly, and embrace both failure and success. 

When you are ready to choose between summer camp and an internship, consider your options through a frame of “Return on Investment” (a little finance reference just for you). A finance internship is going to give you finance experience, which you may already be getting from your finance education. A summer at camp is going to challenge you in an entirely different way. You will not gain a lot of technical finance training, but I guarantee you will walk away from a summer at camp with stronger interpersonal, problem solving, and communication skills. 

When you graduate, you are going to be one of many who has a bright shiny new degree in finance. When employers go to narrow that pool of applicants, they start looking at soft skills. Be the fresh grad that wows employers with your strong communication skills and uniquely powerful problem solving ability – and then tell them you learned it at camp.

I never said I was unbiased!

Best of luck,

Student Throwing Papers In The Air

What to expect from a summer camp interview


Dear Auggie,

I have an interview for a summer camp and I am really nervous about it. It’s over Zoom and I wasn’t given clear guidance for what to expect. Any idea what it will be like?

-Interview Zoom Gloom


Dear Interview,

If I could gaze into my magic crystal and tell you exactly what to expect, I would. But alas, I am crystal-less. That being said, having been around the camp block, I have a general idea about what camps are looking for. 

Camps take a wide variety of applicants. People who were campers as kids, and people who have never been to camp before; outdoorsy types, theater types, athletes and artists. You need all sorts to make a camp go round, so during an interview, a camp is probably looking less critically about what you do, and more about who you are. They are going to want to know about how you handle challenges, how you communicate with others, and what some of your strengths are as a person. 

Skills like rock climbing, crafts, and music are all wonderful bonuses, but you should not worry about them being the focus of your interview. The one skill that definitely could make or break any application is experience with children. Some camps are willing to take a risk on an applicant who has never worked with kids before, others have a hard line on mandatory experience before a hire. The reason is no matter how awesome of a person you are, if you don’t like kids, camp probably will not be a great experience this summer. 

In preparation for your interview, have some examples under your belt for times you’ve overcome conflict, worked with children, and solved a problem. Make a list of your best qualities and how you see those playing out during the summer. (Make a list of your challenges too! Even if you don’t share these during the interview it is good to go into a summer aware of where you may struggle!) Finally, do your research on the camp and learn more about their program’s goals and philosophies. Then, prepare some questions to demonstrate that you’ve looked into their program.

On the day of the interview, dress for success and do your best to just be yourself.

Best of luck!


We hope we’ve helped you make the important decision between choosing a summer camp job or an internship. Both choices certainly have their pros and cons. If you chose camp, you now know more of what to expect from the interview, and you can find more tools to get hired here!


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!

From afar, summer camp can look like all tie-dye and glitter (it’s not!) but those perceptions can lead employers to miss all of the incredible skills that come from camp experience – especially soft skills! There are tons of articles out there about the soft skills that modern employers are looking for.  A summer at camp will put those super desirable soft skills front and center on your resume. Keep reading to learn our top 5 soft skills that summer camp puts on your resume.


What Are Soft Skills & Why Do They Matter?

When employers put out a call for new hires, they are first and foremost looking for people who can do the job e.g. you need medical training (technical skills) to be a doctor. Once an employer has a pool of qualified applicants, it is the soft skills that take center stage. Soft skills are the traits and abilities inherent to you, your work ethic, and way of being. If hard skills are what you do, soft skills are how you do it.

There is no better soft skill developer than summer camp. Let’s talk about the skills camp is going to put on your resume.



The Top 5 Soft Skills Summer Camp  Puts On Your Resume

Like any skill, you only grow when you are challenged and there is no better place to have your soft skills challenged than summer camp. Your job as a counselor is to create a magical summer – and without a magic wand you must rely on your own abilities to make it happen. 

Anyone who went through a summer at camp is going to walk away with some seriously toned soft skills that are guaranteed to wow employers. Let’s check out those Top 5!


1) Adaptability & 2) Problem Solving

Every day at camp, counselors are hustling through a huge range of tasks and meeting a variety of needs from both campers and fellow staff members, often with very little oversight and guidance. The wonderful chaos of camp puts Adaptability & Problem Solving in our Top 5 Summer Camp Soft Skills. 

In a single day at camp, a counselor might encounter situations like,

  • Four campers fighting and they each want to tell their side of the story first
  • Missing supplies for the activity that is supposed to be happening right now
  • A twisted ankle in the middle of a nature hike

When things go wrong the only choice is to adapt to the situation and try to solve it by diagnosing what needs to be done and swiftly taking action. 

Remaining calm when the world around you starts to feel shaky takes some serious skill. While you might feel like a deer-in-the-headlights at first, your adaptability and problem solving will grow from reactionary to proactive. With these finely tuned soft skills you will, 

  1. Spot and avoid pitfalls from miles away
  2. Breeze through obstacles with such finesse that campers will have no idea something isn’t going according to plan

Adaptability and Problem Solving is super desirable to employers because Summer Camp far from the only place things go wrong. In any job you go into, plans will go awry and fires will pop up that need to be put out. Employers need adaptable and creative people on their team who have experience with problem solving on the fly i.e. they need camp counselors.

3) Emotional Intelligence

When it comes to avoiding problems at camp, especially ones that directly relate to camper behavior, you will find that it takes more than a “stop that” to amend the situation. To succeed at camp, you will need to be able to effectively communicate with campers and fellow staff members, which puts Emotional Intelligence & Communication into the Top 5 Summer Camp Soft Skills.

Depending on the structure of the camp, you may see hundreds of campers throughout one summer. That’s a lot of personalities that you are meeting for the first time – and are meeting each other for the first time. Without a guiding force, it’s a time bomb.

Take it from a former counselor who made her fair share of rookie mistakes, emotional intelligence is everything – it is what separates you from a child. As a counselor, campers are looking to you to interpret and meet their needs. When you are able to build stronger emotional intelligence within yourself, you are better equipped to take on challenges within your cabin without letting it drain you. 

Employers are looking for people with strong emotional intelligence because it is a sign of maturity and responsibility. The last thing your future employer wants to do is babysit you or treat you like a child. If you can demonstrate strong emotional intelligence, your employer will see a resilient, thoughtful, and life-experienced employee. 

Counselor Communicating To Campers

4) Communication

Emotional intelligence is a must for guiding your kids through camp and preventing yourself from burning out over the course of a summer – pair that internal power with a strong outward expression and you’ll be unstoppable. Effective communication is necessary for advocating your needs, building trust, and making sure things get done the right way.

During the summer, it is practically a guarantee that something will go wrong or you will butt-heads with someone. (Check out our piece in what camp is really like). Counselors who are able to handle conflict directly, intelligently, and quickly have a better summer because they do not allow frustrations to bog them down for too long – they take the bull by the horns and communicate with their team about what is going on or what they need.

Future employers find strong communication skills highly desirable. In the future, you will be asked to work with people who you may not have a natural rapport with, or who you find downright difficult. When it comes time to work with challenging individuals, your experience working on a summer camp staff team (which is made of all sorts of personalities) will set you up for success while impressing the people around you. 

As projects are passed along or tasks require collaboration, employers want to make sure that their employees are able to effectively communicate with each other, regardless of personal tastes. Employees who lack communication skills and are afraid of asking questions or addressing problems will ultimately hold projects back – something employers definitely want to avoid.

5) Time Management

I have yet to meet a day that is quite as jam-packed as a day at camp. From before breakfast to long after campers have gone to sleep, there is always something to be done. Time is a scarcity at camp and being able to make the precious free time you have count makes Time Management our last Top 5 Soft Skills. 

Summer camp is wonderful in that it allows staff to create and build their own magical ideas into the camp program. Whether it is a skit, adventure hike, or day wide program, these require a certain level of planning – and often not the time available to do it. Staff members who are able to quickly move ideas into reality will gain more satisfaction from summer camp because they are able to make their mark on the summer while still balancing important tasks like showering and sleeping. 

Future employers find time management highly desirable. The saying “time is money” rings true for employers when they assign roles and responsibilities. Employers of course want things done right, but when they are paying for your time, they are looking for a level of efficiency that will benefit the company. If you are able to self-sufficiently manage your time and produce results that balance efficiency and excellency, you will quickly be noted and appreciated by your employer – your value by the hour will go up!

Summer Camp Counselor Belaying and Looking Up

Let’s recap.

The Top 5 Soft Skills camp will put on your resume are:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Problem Solving
  3. Emotional Intelligence
  4. Communication
  5. Time Management 

Now here is how they will show up on your resume.

Putting Your Soft Skills From Summer Camp Front & Center On Your Resume

If you are early in your career, you might not have the most impressive resume. That’s okay. The way you phrase your camp experience can make a world of difference and will make it clear to any employer that camp is more than tie-dye and glitter

For any resume, you want to display where you worked, what your job title was, and when/for how long you worked there. 

Your header might look like the following:

Camp Augusta | May – September 2020

Cabin Counselor

Under Cabin Counselor you will bullet point the highlights of your job. This is where we put those soft skills on display! Every bullet point starts with a VERB, ideally the action-version of your soft skill.

For example:

Camp Augusta | May – September 2020

Cabin Counselor

  • Adapted to the fast paced camp environment and thrived in daily life
  • Utilized problem solving daily as plans changed or campers conflicted with one another. 
  • Communicated my needs with the leadership team and fellow staff to build a cohesive summer
  • Practiced emotional Intelligence to help sooth campers and build confidence 
  • Managed multiple original projects in a time crunch that resulted in strong positive feedback from staff and campers

Woah!! Check out those soft skills! You may have been doing tie-dye or life guarding or a silly skit in some of those examples, but chances are your future employer isn’t looking for your technical friendship bracelet skills, so show them what they are after, those incredible campy soft skills.

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


We hope you found some inspiration from this list, and have a better idea of what soft skills summer camp can put on your resume. Check out our tools to get hired at summer camp to learn more and make sure you get your dream job!


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!


Wouldn’t it be a dream to make summer camp your full-time job? Summer camp can be so fleeting, so how can you extend this experience over the remaining 8 months of the year? Maybe you succeeded in extending your summer camp experience to off-season, family camps. But this is only on the tail-end month or two of the main summer camp season.

Below are a few ways to hack the “real world” job force and turn summer camp into a full-time job.


Step 1: Become A Returning Camp Counselor

If you’ve nailed your summer camp interview, and have a great first summer experience, chances are you’ll be hired at your desired summer camp for years to come. Summer camps love returning staff because they can help train new staff and offer institutional knowledge. You’re considered a precious asset not only to year-around staff who trust you, but also to the campers who love being around you every summer. 

Now that you’ve become a returning staff member, you need to figure out a way to keep, well, returning! 

Often there are financial incentives to being a returning staff member. You’ll also be one of the first people to hear about year-round opportunities. So it pays to invest your time if working year-around at camp is an end goal.


Leadership roles at summer camp

Summer camps run typically from early June until mid-August. During the months of May or June, staff are typically on site during staff training. If you return for a semi-permanent role (say five months out of the year total, rather than the standard three), you may be asked to come even earlier and extend your stay even further back to April, in some cases. 

These roles are reserved for summer camp leadership (equestrian staff, hiring staff, program managers, and other leadership roles). If you spend a summer or two as a counselor, these are the likely next steps if you want to pursue a number of years in the camp business. 


Outdoor education, family camps & weddings … oh my!

There are often extra work opportunities before and after summer camp, such as wedding season, events, corporate retreats, school groups, and family camps. Every camp operates a diverse array of summer camp-ish activities during the tail ends of the summer season. 

Often because summer staff know the in’s and out’s of camp, they’re asked to stay on and work. This can pay even more than summer camp salaries, and offer the same benefits such as room and board. Ask in your interview about what kinds of opportunities there are to extend your stay and make sure your director knows that you’re interested so you can transition easily. 


Step 2: Make summer camp a full-time job … sort of

Say that you succeeded in extending your summer camp experience to off-season, family camps, etc. If your camp isn’t hiring full-time yet, or you need more skills under your belt, consider spending a few years with the “hybrid” model. In other words, work a summer, plus family camp, AND find about 6-8 months of work (late-August until May) elsewhere. 

Below are a few adventurous (and lucrative!) ways to go with the hybrid model and piece together a summer camp career. 


Find a job that enhances your favorite camp activity niche

There are a number of great ways to build on your skills that you learned throughout the summer and apply them in a more enhanced way during the next summer (i.e. taking on more responsibility and potentially getting hired in a leadership role). 

Use the skills you’ve obtained during summer camp to your advantage and keep building out your resume and skills profile. Why not apply to be a woodworking shop hand, art studio specialist, or a ropes course manager? There are many pathways you can take to enhance skills you’ve already built as a summer camp counselor. 


Fill in the gaps with remote work

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the concept of remote or work-from-home has become normalized. Use this to your benefit and search on websites that offer remote-friendly jobs: Flexjobs, AngelList, and Remote.Co. More and more companies are embracing the power of skilled contractors and freelancers to fill in the gaps on their staff roster. 

Check out freelance websites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr for contract opportunities (upload your profile, your skills, and bid on some jobs). It takes a bit of time to get in the flow and piece together work, but this is a great way to gain experience with divergent companies, nonprofits and organizations that could use your skills. Often you can piece together months-long or 8-month-long contracts to fill that time in between summer sessions.

Need more opportunities to build out your portfolio? Consider using your specialties alongside Catchafire and volunteer with nonprofits from around the United States. 


Work Abroad 

After living and working at camp, maybe you stashed some money away for that epic backpacking trip through Europe. 

Take some time to create space from the amazing work you’ve been doing and explore the world. Along the way, you may find different work, meet new friends, and build community in the most unexpected places. Consider the following work abroad resources: WWOOF, Workaway, and Worldpackers.  

If you’re living abroad, there may be some work you can do remotely in support of camp, such as hiring, building staff training, re-writing staff manuals, or recruiting campers. Much of this work can be done remotely, so ask your camp director and go forth!


Step 3: *Actually* turn camp into a full-time job

As a full-time staff member, you need to have a firm grasp on working independently, living in isolation, and be willing to put on a number of hats to maintain the wellbeing of summer camp while the kids aren’t there. 

You may be battling the weather, horses and cows running amok, or putting out kitchen fires from other staff that may not remember to turn the oven off (true story). You could be bailing hay, cleaning up glitter explosions at the Art Barn, or scrubbing the bottom of a swimming pool. While not glamorous, you’ll find that the “servant leadership” mentality runs deep in these communities. 

*Important note: companies love when you talk about servant leadership in future interviews.

That said, working full-time at a summer camp can be truly wonderful. You may be asked to run other programs in the off-season, get certified as a ropes course practitioner, take a NOLS Wilderness Responder course, become a Red Cross CPR/Lifeguard Trainer, or go to other personal development workshops that your camp may pay for. 

The more years you put in, the more skills you obtain, and the more valuable you become to the camp organization as a whole. Your director will see that, and you may take on more responsibility. Be willing to receive constructive feedback every year and make actionable steps to advance your career rather than stay stagnant. Plus, there are hundreds of transferable skills when you’re ready to move on from summer camp life. 

Working Full-time at Camp is Challenging and Fulfilling

If you find yourself in the unique position of working full-time at camp, or have been able to stitch work together so you can keep going back each summer, by all means, enjoy the experience. You’ll learn a lot about yourself in a very short amount of time, and get to try on a multitude of hats.

While it can be isolating and challenging, there are ways to mitigate the shock of not living in the real world. Plus, living below your means for a few years is a great way to hit the financial reset button. 

By strategically navigating the summer camp circuit, all while keeping an eye on your future career goals, you’ll be able to create a meaningful and joyous life/work balance for years to come. 


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!