Camp USA Programs
InterExchange Camp USA recruits and places international participants as camp counselors at camps across the United States. Camp USA applicants apply to one of three program categories: Camp Placement, Self Placement, or Returning Placement. While many of the details covered in this handbook are specific to Camp Placement participants, Self Placement and Returning Placement participants will also find many of the issues covered to be useful.
Camp Placement participants are those who rely on InterExchange to find a camp job. Camp Placement participants receive:
One Camp Placement Offer
Camp placements usually last between 8 and 10 weeks but may last up to 15 weeks. All participants receive a small stipend plus room and board for the duration of the camp season. Stipends are based on 63 days of work. You will receive additional compensation per day worked if you work more than 63 days.
J-1 Visa Documentation and Sponsorship
Once you have accepted a camp placement offer, InterExchange will provide you with sponsorship, a DS-2019 Form and your SEVIS receipt, which allows you to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The J-1 Visa allows you to enter the United States to work during the dates listed on your DS-2019 Form and to travel within the United States for 30 days after the end date on your DS-2019 Form. You are responsible for all visa-related expenses.
All Camp Placement participants will get three and a half months of accident and sickness insurance coverage. The coverage will start the day before your camp contract begins. To learn more about your insurance coverage, refer to the Insurance Information section of this handbook.
Self-Travel Versus Co-op Travel
Self-Travel. If you are a Self-Travel participant, you will be required to book and pay for your own flights to and from camp. You will be provided travel instructions from your camp and will be expected to book a flight into the airport your camp designates. If you choose the Self Travel option and purchase your own airfare, you will receive a stipend that is $700 higher than if you choose to have your Cooperator book/purchase your flights. The $700 is intended to offset the cost of Airfare. Please contact your Cooperator for more information on Co-op Travel vs. Self Travel. This option is not available in every country and is subject to eligibility.
Co-op Travel. Some International Cooperators will book and pay for your flights. This option is Co-op travel. If you are a Co-op travel participant, your stipend will be lower than self-travel participants. You still need to refer to your camp’s travel instructions to determine the airport you need to fly into.
The International Cooperator in your country determines whether participants will be self-travel or not. If there are any doubts about your travel status, please call your International Cooperator.
Before you arrive in the U.S. you must go to app.interexchange.org and complete the online orientation. The online orientation will take approximately one hour.
In addition, you will receive an orientation at camp, usually lasting between three and five days. However, because each camp is run differently, these orientations will vary in type and length.
InterExchange Camp USA will provide you with 24-hour support for the duration of the program, including your independent travel period. If there is an emergency that occurs after normal business hours (Monday - Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. EST), you can reach a member of the InterExchange Camp USA team at our 24-hour emergency number: 1-917-741-5057.
InterExchange also provides the following resources:
- Inside the USA guide
- InterExchange Camp USA Participant Handbook
- Cultural Compass, an online state-by-state guide to the U.S.
- Travel Period After Work Assignment 30-day grace period for travel after successful completion of camp placement
Self Placement participants are those who have received a job offer from a camp without requiring the assistance of InterExchange Camp USA. This category of participants only works with InterExchange as a sponsor to obtain the paperwork to apply for a J-1 Visa and for assistance during your program if you encounter problems.
Returning Placement participants are those who have worked at a U.S. summer camp before, and have received a job offer from a camp without requiring the assistance of InterExchange Camp USA. This category of participants only works with InterExchange as a sponsor to obtain the paperwork to apply for a J-1 Visa, and for assistance during your program if you encounter problems.
- InterExchange is only permitted to sponsor a limited number of 3+ year returnees. Sponsorship for these participants is subject to availability, so applying early is necessary.
If you are a Self or a Returning Placement participant, you:
- Have not applied to the InterExchange Camp USA Camp Placement program
- Have gone through an interview and received a formal offer from your camp
- Are responsible for your own travel
- Must negotiate your own stipend with your camp
- Have met all other requirements for the InterExchange Camp USA program
Accepted Self and Returning Placement participants receive:
- DS-2019 Form, your SEVIS receipt (Required to obtain J-1 Visa and enter the United States) and InterExchange sponsorship
- 24-hour program assistance
- Accident and sickness insurance for the duration of your program
- InterExchange Inside the USA guide and InterExchange Camp USA Participant Handbook
- Independent travel for up to 30 days after your camp placement finishes