What Applicants Should Know
Before filling out our paperwork, prospective applicants must understand the commitment they are making. This section deals with the information that you must impart to any applicant before giving him or her an application. While much of this information is covered in the brochure and information sheets, you may need to clarify specific details or answer questions once an applicant has read the literature.
The camp environment is a unique setting where every child has the opportunity to explore the outdoors, make new friends, and learn more about him or herself. In this setting, the counselor provides structure, safety, and fun. Camp is for campers and they must always come first.
Counselors must abide by all camp rules, including curfews. Camp rules and regulations are designed to provide a safe environment for all members of the community, and although they can be strict, they must be followed.
Parents expect counselors to treat their children with dignity and respect. Taking care of someone else’s child is a huge responsibility. Counselors must be mature enough to handle stressful situations in a positive manner.
Being a camp counselor is a 24-hour a day job. If a child is sick in the middle of the night, a counselor must take care of the child. However, camps will give counselors at least one 24-hour time off period per week. Time off will vary from camp to camp. A counselor may get up to two nights off a week. This usually means a few hours off after the campers go to sleep, and not necessarily a full night off until morning. Many camps will also provide the participant with one period off during the day (approximately 45 minutes to one hour).
Camp assignments can involve hard work, and shouldn’t be treated like a vacation! Participants are here as cultural exchange visitors who are supporting their host camps, and need to make sure they’re fulfilling their work obligations while gaining the full benefits of learning about and living in the U.S.
Camps have a variety of sleeping facilities: cabins, tents, A-frames, and dorms. Facilities range in ruggedness.
Living facilities will be more rustic than participants may be used to. For example, there are some sleeping facilities with no electricity. Participants need to keep an open mind.
The bathroom facilities may be within the cabin or in a centralized location. Either way, the participant will not have much privacy at camp.
Each camp will have different rules regarding dress codes. Some camps may not have a dress code at all. However, each camp has a certain image that it wants to project to parents. The participant should not be offended if he or she is asked to change his or her appearance while at camp (i.e. removing a piercing or covering up a tattoo). Participants should not drastically change their appearance once they are hired at camp by dyeing their hair an extreme color or getting tattoos or body piercings.
Camps may have strict policies regarding alcohol and/or smoking. Participants who are not willing or not capable of following these rules should not apply. Failure to follow these policies often results in the participant being fired.
There are various types of camps across the United States, each with its own history, goals and set of regulations. The overarching purpose of all camps, however, is to ensure that each child has a safe and fun summer experience. Almost all camps are located in very beautiful rural areas, so participants should not expect to have access to big cities or even big towns.
Please see the InterExchange Camp USA program FAQ page for an explanation of the different types of camps. Refer applicants to these descriptions when they are determining the types of camps where they are willing to work.