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The Participant Experience
The Participant Experience

The Participant Experience

Regardless of which placement type a participant chooses, InterExchange and our ICs thoroughly screen and prepare each participant for the camp experience. When an IC representative receives a completed application, the documents are reviewed to determine if the applicant is an appropriate candidate for the program.

Online Application

Each participant will receive and complete a written online application. The content of the Camp Placement application is different from the Self and Return Placement application. All applications collect biographical information along with a participant’s education, work history, and medical history. Camp Placement participants will also discuss their skills and experience, and they will complete an ‘About Me’ section discussing their motivations for participating in the Camp USA program. As part of their online application, each participant will invite references and upload required documents. 

Camp Placement participants are required to have at least two references for their application. At least one reference will come from an employer or teacher of theirs. Whether the reference is regarding their skill level to instruct an activity, their experience working with children, or a general character reference, all will need to speak to their suitability to work as a camp counselor for children. In addition to the references, Camp Placement participants are required to upload a Police Background check and a photocopy of their valid passport. We also encourage participants to upload skill certificates, videos or photos showcasing their personality and skills, or other documents they believe make them a stronger candidate. 

Self and Returning Placement participants are required to have at least one reference for their application. This reference MUST come from an employer or teacher of theirs. For returning placements, the reference cannot come from someone associated with camp. In addition to the reference, these participants must upload a Police Background check, a photocopy of their valid passport, and a copy of their placement offer. This offer can be in the form of a contract with camp, or it can come as a letter on camp letterhead. It should include the scheduled dates of employment, position, and stipend. Self and returning placements are also required to upload any requested documents showing their eligibility for the program as set by the U.S. Department of State.

Interview and Language Assessment

Once a participant has completed their written applications, InterExchange or an IC will contact eligible applicants to arrange an interview. During an interview for a Camp Placement participant, the interviewer inquires about the applicant’s relevant skills and experience with children and evaluates the applicant’s reasons for applying. At the same time, the interviewer critically assesses each applicant’s language speed, comprehension, fluency and clarity. Throughout the conversation, the interviewer records his or her observations on a written report. During an interview for a Self or Returning Placement participant, the interviewer assesses the participant to ensure their eligibility for the program and to ensure they understand the role they have been hired for and the process to obtain the visa. The same language assessment occurs as well.

Accepting an Applicant

Once the participant’s application is completed, including the interview and required documents, the IC submits the application to InterExchange. An InterExchange representative will then review and assess the application. After considering the applicant’s attitude, skill level, maturity, availability and English level, our program staff decides whether or not to accept the applicant into the program.

Orientation

All Camp USA participants will attend either a virtual or in person comprehensive orientation. During these orientations, participants will receive detailed information regarding their health insurance plans, travel planning, camp expectations, emergency situations, visa rules and regulations, and many other topics. The purpose of this orientation is to prepare our participants as best as possible for the program, and we hope you will prepare them for your specific camp as well. In addition to the online training, some ICs will host an in-person orientation event where soon-to-be counselors get to practice their skills and camp life in a modified learning environment.

What Participants Receive

All participants pay program fees to InterExchange or the International Cooperator. Please note that the visa application fee that all participants pay directly to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is in addition to the fees listed.

What InterExchange Provides:

  • For Camp Placement participants: a minimum stipend of $2,000, access to our database of camp/employers, room and board for the duration of the placement.
  • An interview to ensure each participant is eligible for the program
  • Online orientation.
  • Documents to obtain a J-1 Visa (DS-2019 Form).
  • Accident & sickness insurance for the duration of their program dates that meets or exceeds the U.S. Department of State requirements.
  • InterExchange Camp USA Participant Handbook, Inside the USA Guide, certificate of completion, 
  • 24-hour program support throughout the summer.
  • Access to events, training and educational opportunities

What the Camp Is Responsible for Providing

  • Pay and benefits commensurate with a similarly situated American counterpart
  • Workers’ compensation insurance for any work related injuries.
  • Room and board (including linens).
  • Training for the specified position.
  • Ensure the safety and well-being of the participants while on the program.
  • Cultural exchange opportunities.
  • Access to transportation for off-site activities and when medical attention is needed.
  • Transportation to hotel, train/bus station, or airport in the event of early departure