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What You Need to Know About Working as a Summer Camp Counsellor

One of the most popular ways to travel around America is by volunteering in various projects or working in a children's camp over the summer. With so many different companies offering camp counsellor jobs, it can be confusing when it comes to applying for your position and choosing a company. In this article we take you through the necessary steps and which companies are best to go with.

Which company to go with?

Camp America is the most popular company for people looking to travel the USA and become a camp counsellor. The process for applying for a counsellor job and costs involved are clearly laid out on the website, making it easy for you to understand.

Once you register, every point of your application can be managed through your online account, and some of your payments are managed through here too. Registering your interest doesn't cost you anything and you won't have to pay until you've completed your application. If after your interview you're told your application wasn't successful this time, your money will be refunded.
No matter what company you decide to go with, you will need to take part in a medical examination and a police check, as these are standard requirements for a long-stay trip in the country when working with children. You will also have to apply for a visa. Once you have fulfilled these requirements, your application will be circulated throughout the camps and you will be approached with a placement offer. They'll also arrange your flights and everything else for you!

CCUSA is a similar company to Camp America. It also offers placements at camps across America and will help you with your application and throughout the process. Volunteer jobs are available too, should you prefer these to being a counsellor.

Both of these companies allow you to travel after you've finished your work with your campmates. Most people stay in the country for another month to explore popular destinations such as New York.

What you will need

As mentioned before, a visa is a must if you want to spend the summer working in America.. You should receive a pack from your company of choice that will have information on what you need to do to apply for a J-1 Work and Travel visa. It will usually cost $160 (roughly £100) and should cover you for the amount of time that you'll spend at camp, as well as a month of travelling afterwards should you choose to do this. Be aware that you aren't covered to travel to Canada or Mexico with your visa. Doing so could cause you issues in getting back into America.

You will also be given instructions of how to apply for your police check. Everyone needs to do one of these to ensure that they are safe to work with children and to work abroad. You will need to pay £53 for this to the Police Check Authority once you have passed your interview. In addition, your doctor will need to complete a medical form that will be given to you by your chosen company. The fee for this will depend on your GP, so you will need to ask them for an exact price.

If you're looking to travel after you have finished your camp experience, you will need a long stay travel insurance policy. These policies can cover trips that last up to 24 months and will cover you for two return home trips, in case you need to come back, for up to 21 days.

Why do it?

There are so many benefits that you will get from travelling and taking part as a camp counsellor. Travelling out on your own will give you a great sense of independence; a life skill that will prove useful in the future, especially in your professional life. You will also get the chance to meet other counsellors just like you who share your interest of travelling! You will make friends for life from all around the globe that you can visit whenever.

It will help you with your travelling too. You are sure to meet counsellors who are from America who will be glad to put you up for a few nights while you learn all of the best spots to visit that only the locals know about! You can even meet some of their friends - expanding your group further.

Being in a new place with new people will help you realise who you truly are. You could become more outgoing and confident, which will look great on your CV. Working with children will also prepare you for taking care of your own kids in the future and help show your maturity when it comes to responsibilities. There are of course much more obvious benefits, such as getting a two month holiday whilst working and earning money at the same time!

Roles at the camps

If being a counsellor isn't something you're interested in then fear not. There are other camp roles available with all the same benefits as a counsellor. If you don't want to look after the children you can help around the camp instead, with roles in the kitchen, office, grounds keeping and housekeeping! You can apply for these separately as your role there will be slightly different and involve different processes.

Taking part in a camp and travelling can be a great life experience. Make sure you do your research, and everything you need to do before you go. If you're well organised, everything should go swimmingly. Good luck!

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