While sending gift baskets and calling at odd hours leaving a dozen camp song messages on the camp voicemail may be lovely and hilarious to many camp teams, in the end, it’s not the best way to find the right fit. Below are a top ten (among many more) mistakes that potential staff make when contacting camps.

  1. Sending a bulk email to several camps all at once. Every camp can see how many and which camps you have contacted. It is lazy and looks such.
  2. Sending a resume with nothing else. Camps rarely look for a particular work experience or qualification. Most want passionate, adventurous young people who will work great with children for a summer; a personal bio will go much further than just a resume.
  3. Not mentioning anything specific to the particular camp you are contacting; specifics as to ‘why us’; there are so many camps out there, why are you choosing the camps you are? Show that you have put time and effort into researching about 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 bonus points you get.
  4. Not mentioning experience with or passion for children. This is, first and foremost, what a camp is there for and yet is so often missed by applicants…the children.
  5. Not checking the dates the camp needs staff to start with your available dates before contacting. Some camps start earlier than others, check you can commit to the dates.
  6. Spelling and grammar. Like any professional written contact, make sure it is in tip top shape.
  7. Listing your top reasons to work at camp this summer as: to have fun and make friends. This goes without saying, and camps are looking for people with a passion for working with children, creativity, hard work, responsibility, up for a challenge etc. Yes you will have fun and make friends, but why else do you want to work at a summer camp? The more insight and honesty you offer, the more seriously hiring teams will take you.
  8. Asking to go to camp with a friend or partner (outside of marriage).  You will need to mix with people from all over the world, taking a buddy with you shows a lack of independence and willingness to get to know new people.  If you both happen to get hired independently, great.  Do feel free to share that you are a pair, so you’re honest with the camp, as well as if you’re willing to be separated if you both don’t get hired.
  9. Not getting the balance between fun and seriousness right. Camp is fun! And, we are responsible for looking after hundreds of children every summer…these are people’s babies! Camps look for fun people who can also be trusted to look after 10+ children by themselves; their health, safety and wellbeing. Find a balance between taking the responsibility seriously, and also showing you can be fun and adventurous.
  10. Taking about what you plan to do in the area with your ‘spare time’ (sightseeing, visiting family etc). Most camps work their staff 6 days a week all through the summer, with little to no time off. You are not going to have much time during the summer to do much else, therefore mentioning your off time will show a lack of understanding for the hard work and hours involved.