Advice for Counselor Applicants From One of Our Camp Directors!

2 minute read

It feels like this summer just ended but it’s time to start making plans for next summer! Applications are being completed and employers are ready to interview and hire. As we enter camp placement season, Emily S., Director at Camp Stonewall, has offered some very good advice for anyone applying to our Camp USA program, or any J-1 exchange program for that matter!

Participants at Camp Stonewall. Image courtesy of Aiden H.

Advice for Camp Counselor Applicants

  • Absolutely, 100% make a video. I know it’s not required, but it has definitely made applicants I’d otherwise have passed over become much more appealing as prospects.

  • You should truly list all of your potential skills/talents. For a director like me looking for multi-talented vs. specialty counselors, staff who only list 3-5 things they can do limit their appeal.

  • You should anticipate searches of your social media. The number one concern for an employer is, of course, a profile heavy in drinking (even if age-appropriate), swearing, drugs, etc. The second issue, though, is the profile that’s blocked from searches (or names changed so wildly they can’t be found). That actually sends up a red flag for me too. We know 99% of young people have some kind of social media presence. As soon as I find an application I like, I check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. - not to rule out, but to rule IN staff. I love seeing pictures of potential counselors with friends, doing things they enjoy, posting about their favorite movie or music, etc.

  • Do your camp homework. If you get an interview request, research the camp! I am always disappointed when an interviewee “doesn’t have any questions,” because there’s SO much to discuss about camp, and that can signal disinterest.

  • ESL staff should know that no one is negatively judging them on their English ability, ever! They should not avoid asking questions or choose to answer more succinctly because they’re worried about how strong/weak their English will be. More is more - more effort, more thoughtful answers; they can take their time, and we’ll be patient.

  • Lastly, check your email! That’s my primary initial mode of contact. I’ve had potential interviewees take over a week to reply, and similarly, already-interviewed staff take equally long to return the activity email we exchange after. Timeliness = respect for the seriousness of the job.

Now, how about putting this advice to good use and starting an application for our Camp USA program?

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U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation