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Late Season Options & Strategies For Finding Summer Camp Jobs

May 2013

Late Season Options & Strategies For Finding Summer Camp Jobs

Summer is quickly approaching and many people already have their summer plans in place with respect to both employment and recreation. If you’ve found yourself procrastinating or perhaps circumstance has dealt you a joker from the deck, rest assured it’s not too late to find a fun and rewarding summer camp staff position.

While Memorial Day is often considered the unofficial start to the summer, most residential summer camps don’t get underway until the second or third week of June.


Late season options for finding a summer camp staff position


It is important to understand that most camp directors have started to change their primary focus of recruiting campers and hiring staff to the chores of actually setting up the day-to-day operations of camp. This can be an extremely significant undertaking; often encompassing a broad range of activities such as lining up transportation, food deliveries, basic utilities, etc. in addition to setting up essential facilities which might require significant maintenance after having been packed away for the winter.

Although most directors will likely be in a “high gear multi-tasking mode” at the moment, it is certainly possible there are still a few positions which need to be filled. Time permitting, most directors will be open to correspond with interested and qualified candidates; however, you might find yourself playing phone tag or perhaps trying to communicate with a director who is busy “in the field” engaged with other individuals or contending with important tasks at hand. Don’t let any of this discourage you, since it is a very typical circumstance with summer fast approaching.

In fact, conveying a respectful understanding of a director’s current hectic situation might help to illustrate you are considerate and a good team player. If you do happen to have an initial conversation of any length, it is important to be concise, on target, and efficient in communicating information about yourself … while gathering any information related to all possible work situations which are currently available.

In all likelihood, the majority of a camp’s positions have already been earmarked for other individuals; however, there might be a few remaining positions still available. It is also possible the director might have some reservations regarding the suitability of some of the existing staff members they’ve selected for particular positions. In such a case, if you’re truly an exceptionally qualified candidate for a particular position, it’s possible the director might hire you and re-assign the original individual to another position. This sort of re-shuffle scenario is ultimately a matter of chance and is not really something which you can anticipate or “try for” – other than to confidently express your qualifications and areas of expertise from the outset.

On the other hand, zeroing in on what might be the few remaining positions available is something which can be more actively addressed by an interested applicant for a summer camp job. You might already be aware of the remaining positions available, or a director may have simply rattled them off during the course of an initial conversation. Often at this stage of the season, and depending upon the particular nature the camp program, the remaining positions are typically those which require a relatively high degree or specialized set of qualifications (i.e. Nurse, Lifeguard, etc.), or positions which aren’t as “popular” (i.e. Office, Maintenance, Kitchen, etc.).

If you happen to be highly qualified in a particular niche or skill set, you might be in luck with respect to your immediate first choice in a camp; however, if your skills or expertise are in high demand, then you might also do well to seek out such a specific summer staff position by widening your search for summer camp jobs across a much wider spectrum of camps – in both type and location … especially if you have the ability to pick up and move for the summer.

If you don’t happen to posses expertise which is in high demand, yet still have an interest to work at a camp in some capacity, it never hurts to inquire about any openings.

If none of your “first choice” positions are available at a camp you’ve contacted, you can always look to another camp which might still be hiring or inquire to see if the camp has a “wait list” for particular positions. You might have luck at very large camps which often hire a great number of staff members in order to maintain a low camper to counselor ratio.

Alternatively, you may wish to consider pursuing any available staff position which you feel you’re qualified and have at least some level of genuine interest. While you might have preferred another position or role, it is important to understand that it is relatively late in the season & you won’t be afforded the same amount of choices had you embarked upon your quest earlier in the year. If you are flexible and maintain a positive attitude, you may find yourself working in a role which is rewarding in ways you hadn’t initially considered – aside from simply having fun and being able to make ends meet for the summer.

By accepting literally any position at a summer camp (whether it’s a general camp counselor, kitchen staff, nurse, etc), you will have effectively entered their extended “camp family” … which has it’s own intangible rewards, and may also allow you to more easily move to an alternate position of your liking in the future after having demonstrated a solid work ethic and general love of the camp community and the bonds it creates.

To get started on your summer camp job search, try visiting the Camp Channel’s Camp Jobs section.