Flexibility: Medium

Social Engagement: High

What’s What: Camp counselors supervise all activities, develop recreational plans and work with children in residential summer or day camps. Job duties include guiding youth in games, hiking, swimming and other outdoor pursuits. Counselors organize and supervise day trips, plan and schedule group activities, provide emotional support, greet new campers, and explain and enforce the rules.

Amava Take: If you make killer s’mores and can distinguish poison ivy from harmless underbrush you might have the makings of a great camp counselor. You’ll get to lose your inhibitions about singing in public and remember how great it is to get sweaty outdoors. Going on day trips and playing games are part of the fun and if you’re a counselor at an overnight camp you’ll have campfires and ghost stories to look forward to.

From the Front Lines:

What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these jobs?

You should have a positive attitude and a genuine enthusiasm for working with children.

Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?

Get to know the names of all of your campers as fast as possible. It makes it much easier to maintain order and make connections.

What’s a typical daily schedule like?

It depends on what is planned for the day and if the weather is cooperating but you can expect to be on your feet, active and engaged almost all of the time.

From the Trenches:

What’s the most satisfying part of the job?

Laughing. We laugh a lot and sometimes it’s for no reason at all.

How would you describe the hard parts?

It’s always tough when a little one gets hurt. There can be a lot of tears and assessing the extent of the injury can be challenging.

What’s your favorite camp game?

I love the alphabet scavenger hunt. We all have a blast.

Special requirements: There aren’t age or education requirements. Counselors should be physically fit and in good general health.

Related Classes: Managing Customer Service, Skills for Making Great DecisionsKeys to Effective Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Handling Medical Emergencies


Finding a position: Your local YMCA or JCCA are the first places to check for a position. Most municipalities also have day camp programs; call your town recreation department or town clerk. USA Summer Camp is a clearinghouse of day camp and overnight camp counselor jobs. The American Camp Association has a section just for counselors and another section listing summer jobs nationwide for other camp jobs. Camp Leaders is another clearing house that aggregates overnight camp counselor jobs.