In the article below, you will learn the details about the job of a camp counselor.
This includes responsibilities, skills, training, schedule, and prospects, etc.
Camp counselors deal with children in summer camps and supervise campers in their everyday activities.
The role of a supervisor is significant, but they also should be role models, mentors, and leaders.
Counselors live 24/7 with their campers and ensure their experience is fun, safe, and memorable.
The age of campers can range between 7 and 16, so counselors are usually college students (college-aged).
Article Table of Contents
What Does A Camp Counselor Do
Camp counselors work directly with children in a fully immersive hands-on setting.
Mostly, summer camps are built around outdoor activities, but some are solely academic.
Counselors may have to teach and lead activities, identify and show how to recognize poison ivy, settle disputes, treat insect stings, organize s’ mores around the campfire, and supervise the campers otherwise.
Usually, there is a routine of activities in a summer camp, but some duties of a camp counselor can vary depending on campers’ needs.
Counselors should be patient, compassionate, respectful, and have a willing attitude.
New counselors usually earn $7.5 per hour in the position of a counselor-in-training.
More experienced counselors returning to seasonal work many summers in a row can make $11.5 per hour.
- Assist with daily activities for campers.
- Supervise campers during assigned activities.
- Establish relations with campers based on mutual respect and genuine interest.
- Provide campers with a positive role model by demonstrating a cooperative, upbeat, and friendly attitude.
- Plan and lead activities for evenings such as skits, campfires, games, and singalongs.
- Help campers learn the rules and follow them to ensure a healthy and safe environment.
- Be a problem-solver, but ask for help when necessary.
- Attend all training and meetings.
- Be organized, punctual, and follow the directions.
Camp counselors should establish rapport and trust and set healthy boundaries in their work with kids.
They work with campers who are learning how to relate to others, some even struggle with that, so counselors should relate to campers ensuring they stay calm, safe, and cooperative.
Counselors deal with creating and directing daily activities for campers.
They should know how to grab children’s interest, manage time and activities to keep campers on task while having fun and staying safe.
Camp counselors work with kids who are still developing the abilities to respond flexibly under pressure.
Camp counselors must be able to intervene quickly and decisively to solve problems and model effective problem-solving skills.
Supervising active children during various activities requires teamwork.
Camp counselors should work well in a team to implement and coordinate activities and schedules for the campers to have an engaging, seamless, and positive experience.
How to Become a Camp Counselor
Camp counselor position doesn’t require any special certification or education, but mostly, they need a high school diploma or equivalent.
They must have a love for children and a can-do attitude.
It is great to have some expertise in camp activities, swimming, archery, horseback riding, arts, or team sports.
The employment rate is supposed to grow by more than average by 2024.
Training and Qualifications
Camp counselors are usually college-aged people with a high school diploma or GED.
You can stand over other applicants if you have certifications in First Aid and CPR.
Camp counselors work hands-on with kids in activities, so these skills might be necessary.
Many camps train their counselors on-site through Counselor-in-Training (CIT) programs.
They are designed to help employees learn the details of a specific camp.
Generally, counselors need to have such qualities as patience, compassion, and the ability to remain calm under pressure.
You can get a job without any experience in a camp setting.
However, having worked with kids and loving children may be important.
Some camp counselors have teaching, tutoring, coaching, or babysitting experience for the first job.
With experience in a camp setting, applicants can become competitive for repeat summer jobs and obtain higher-paying positions at different camps.
Many camps sign off the hours that counselors work as documentation for work placements to college internships.
This can be an advantage for applicants for full-time or post-graduate employment.
Basically, camp counselors work 24/7 while camp is in session.
They live on-site and provide supervision to campers 24/7.
This means that they live, eat, and share sleeping accommodations with campers, except for during their time off.
New camp counselors can work as activity specialists or recreation leaders.
Recreation leaders supervise the campers during all general activities and evening programming.
Activity specialists design and lead specific activities such as horseback riding, swimming, arts, and crafts, etc.
Their hourly rate ranges between $7.5 and $11.5, depending on the camp where they work.
The employment rate for this position is expected to grow by 10%, which is higher than the average for other occupations nationwide.
Some employees can advance from seasonal jobs as counselors to full-time positions as recreation supervisors.
They design and direct various camp activities, manage counselors and report to the directors of the camp.
To advance to the camp director position, you need an advanced degree, since directors handle budgets, hire and fire employees.
They also manage various business affairs for the camp, such as marketing strategies.
Those who love children and spending summers outdoors are perfect candidates for the position of a camp counselor.
In this position, you can earn money and develop skills in teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication.
The employment opportunities are expected to increase at a higher rate than the national average by 2024.
In this field, you can find opportunities for full-time employment and advancement with more experience and on-the-job training.
Since counselors live with their campers 24/7, camp counseling is an engaging experience.
However, this job is also rewarding with the possibility to positively influence the lives of children.