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U.S. Residents
Camp USA
Camp Counselor
Camp USA

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about the Camp Counselor experience? We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions here.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is camp?

You may begin the camp program starting as early as May 15th and ending as late as September 15th. You will coordinate your exact dates with your camp director. Counselors arrive a few days early to undergo staff orientation and training before the campers arrive. This gives you time to bond with other counselors and get accustomed to life at camp! After your last day of work, you will be allowed 30 days of travel within the U.S.

Although we work with camps across the United States, most camps are located in the Northeast region, a few hours from major cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia! Enjoy the outdoors while being a hop, skip, or jump away from a city that would be a great trip on a day off.

A camp counselor is the best job ever! In a nutshell, you’ll be in charge of leading day-to-day activities and helping campers have a ton of fun. No two days as a counselor will be the same. One day, you may be leading a hike, while the next helping your cabin prepare for the camp talent show! It’s a job that takes lots of energy but is really rewarding if you love working with kids. Learn more about the camp counselor experience from our participants here!

Working at a U.S. summer camp requires applying for the J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa.

  • Camp Placement participants apply through InterExchange to find a camp job!
  • Self-Placement participants are first-time international candidates who have accepted a job offer from a specific camp before submitting their application to InterExchange.
  • Returning Placements are participants who have worked at a camp in a previous year and have secured a job offer by making arrangements with the camp directly. Camp Placement participants apply through InterExchange to find a camp job!

Applicants from all countries can apply. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 28, comfortable working with children, proficient in English, and either a student, teacher, youth worker, or someone who can lead a specialized skill at camp, then you are eligible for the program!

What’s a “specialized skill,” you ask? Anything you are good at that can be of value to a summer camp is a specialized skill! Love to swim? Great with a video camera? A natural on stage? All of your talents can and should be highlighted in your application!

There are all sorts of summer camps throughout the U.S. serving many different types of campers. No two camp locations are exactly alike, and many fall into multiple categories.

Just to name a few, there are:

  • all-girls camps
  • boys camps
  • religious camps
  • sports camps
  • arts camps
  • academic camps
  • equestrian camps

Some camps serve children from underprivileged backgrounds and camps for people with special needs. Many camps combine these categories. For example, you could join an academic, all-boys camp that serves children from underprivileged backgrounds.

We encourage applicants to be open to as many camp types as possible and determine if they would be a good fit based on their interview. There’s no reason to limit yourself to a job opportunity before you get a glimpse into life at that camp.

The short answer is no, but it is helpful if you have some special skills or qualifications that you can offer. But it is far more important that you love working with kids and enjoy the outdoors. Previous childcare experience is always a plus, but you can apply without it! There are so many skills you can offer to a summer camp! A great attitude and a desire to work with campers are the main attributes camp directors want to see in applicants. Many directors value life experience over qualifications, so if you love drawing, don’t be afraid to list it as a skill on your application.

Yes! Once accepted and placed at a U.S. summer camp, InterExchange can process the paperwork needed to apply for the J-1 Visa at a U.S. Embassy in your home country. We will walk you through all of the steps you’ll need to take to obtain a visa!

InterExchange also works with independent agencies (international cooperators) based in countries outside the U.S. If InterExchange works with an international cooperator (IC) in your home country, they can help you complete and submit your application to us. You are not required to apply through an IC, but they can offer you great advice and guidance throughout the application process in your native language and home country. This is why if you apply to InterExchange through an IC, you’ll pay your fees directly to them. International Cooperator fees vary from country to country and are determined by each IC based on the services and benefits offered.

InterExchange only works with IC’s who charge fair program fees. If you have selected an agency in your home country and would like to apply through InterExchange, please get in touch with us to verify that the agency is approved to send candidates through InterExchange. We do not accept applications from unauthorized third-party agencies, and we request that you do not pay any fees to an agency without first verifying they have a contractual agreement with InterExchange. Similarly, if you would like help finding an international cooperator, please get in touch with us for a list of InterExchange-approved agencies in your home country. If we do not work with an agency in your country, you may still apply to InterExchange directly.

Apply as soon as possible! The earlier you submit your application the better. Applications submitted after March 1st aren’t guaranteed to be accepted. Keep in mind that InterExchange will ask you to do a short interview before we accept your application, so plan accordingly and get your application in early!

The application can be completed in as little as one day; it depends on you! We encourage you to take your time with the application, consider your responses, and make your application stand out. But the key to submitting a stellar application is starting early!

We try our best to find a placement for each participant. Since camp directors have the final say on who they’ll hire, we can’t guarantee a time frame. Some participants are matched one week after they are accepted into the program, while others wait several months. You should be prepared to wait until mid-June for a placement.

You can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before your program start date, but we recommend not arriving too early so you are refreshed and ready for camp. Your visa also grants you a 30-day U.S. travel period after camp! We highly encourage you to use the travel period after camp.

Am I allowed to find camp jobs on my own? We will handle the placement process if you have applied to our Camp Placement program. We work with hundreds of camps across the U.S., and we’ll match you with a job that fits your skill set and personality!

If you have applied to our Self or Returning Placement programs, you are responsible for finding your camp job independently. After you are independently hired and your camp sends you a contract, you can apply to our Self-placement or Returning Placement program to obtain your visa.

Program and SEVIS fees are non-refundable once you have accepted and signed your job offer. Any insurance fees paid are refundable before your program start date. If your visa is denied, you will receive a 50% refund of the program fee and a complete refund of the insurance fee.

Refund policies vary if you apply through one of our International Cooperators.

Social Security numbers are generally assigned to people authorized to work in the United States. They are used to report your wages to the government and when filing your tax return. Also, when opening up a new bank account, most banks require either a Social Security number or proof of application for a Social Security number.

Camp Counselor Participant collage

Get started today

It’s free to start an application and nothing is due until you accept a job offer.