Am I allowed to find camp jobs on my own?
If you already applied to the InterExchange Camp Placement program, then we will handle the placement process. If you have not applied to that program, you are free to get in touch with a camp director to see if they will hire you independently. After you're hired and the camp sends you a contract, you can apply to Camp USA's Self Placement program to obtain your visa.
What is the SEVIS fee?
On September 1, 2004, the U.S. Department of State mandated a $35 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee for all camp participants. This fee must be paid before Camp USA is able to print DS-2019 forms. Camp USA will provide applicants with SEVIS receipts, which they must bring to the U.S. Embassy as proof of payment.
What is an International Cooperator?
InterExchange also works with international cooperating agencies - independent agencies based in countries outside the USA - to assist participants. If InterExchange works with an international cooperator in your home country, the cooperator will pre-screen you and assist with completing and submitting your application to us. Although you are not required to apply through a cooperator, they can offer you additional assistance in your native language throughout the application process. If applying through an international cooperator, you will pay your fees directly to them. Cooperator fees vary from country to country and are determined by each cooperator based on the services and benefits offered.
InterExchange only works with international cooperators who charge fair program fees. If you have selected an agency in your home country and would like to apply through InterExchange, please contact 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 contact 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.
What does the Orientation and Training process looks like?
Everyone at InterExchange wants to make sure that you have a great summer. Our multi-step orientation process helps us find you a great camp placement and helps you prepare for the experience of working at an American summer camp.
Your first orientation is part of the application process for the program. An InterExchange representative, or cooperator in your home country will conduct an initial interview and orientation. The purpose of this session is to give you an overview of the program and help you get an idea of what it will be like to work at an American summer camp. You'll have the opportunity to ask questions and get more details about the program, and the cooperator will be able to get to know more about you. This helps us make the best match between you and our participating camps.
The online orientation is mandatory and should be completed before you arrive in the U.S. This orientation will prepare you for your arrival and for your entire summer at camp. You should take note of any questions you may have about information covered in the online orientation as you will have the opportunity to ask questions when you come to the InterExchange office in New York City.
Once you arrive at your camp, you'll receive another orientation, which usually lasts three to five days. Each camp runs their orientation sessions differently, but no matter which format, it will help prepare you to do a great job.
How long after I apply will I hear about my placement?
We try 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 a week after they are accepted into the program, while others will have to wait several months. You should be prepared to wait until mid-June for a placement.
What positions are available?
As a general counselor, you'll be assigned to a group of campers, and you'll be more directly involved with them than anyone else. You'll sleep in the same area, eat at the same table, and go almost everywhere together. You'll have a lot of responsibility, and for the summer, you become a teacher and role model for your campers. You'll have the opportunity to make a big impact on your campers' lives. As a general counselor, you will participate or lead a variety of activities.
Activity counselors are responsible for planning, organizing, and teaching one or more specific activity areas, such as swimming, art, tennis, and other sports and activities. You can expect to teach large groups of children throughout the summer. Usually, you'll spend most of your time teaching your specialty to different children from various age groups. In some camps, you may work only as an activity counselor. In others, you might have general counselor responsibilities part of the time and work as an activity counselor during other times.
Special Needs Counselor
Special needs counselors work with campers of various ages who have a variety of disabilities. As a special needs counselor, you may need to help bathe or lift campers. If you have experience working with people with special needs, that's great. However, previous experience isn't required, as long as you are patient, energetic, have a respectful attitude toward people with disabilities, and are open to a challenging but also incredibly rewarding experience.
What types of camps can I work with? There are all sorts of summer camps throughout the USA serving many different types of campers. No two camps are exactly alike, but many camps fall into the following categories:
Usually owned and operated by individuals or families, these are among the most common types of camps. Most are located in areas surrounded by nature and offer outdoor recreational activities.
These camps sometimes host entire families. Parents and children participate in activities together or separately, and counselors must be prepared to work with campers of all ages. Some adult camps are specifically for senior citizens.
Religious organizations operate many camps in the USA; Christian camps and Jewish camps are most common. Religious camps emphasize the value of their respective faiths through traditional camp activities. The level of religious involvement for staff varies from camp to camp.
At day camps, the campers come every day for a week or longer but go home at the end of each day. They don’t sleep at the camp. Day camps are located in a variety of settings, such as cities, college campuses, and traditional camp sites. Staff members might live at the camp or with a host family.
These camps provide a positive experience for underprivileged children, usually from urban areas. Usually operated by nonprofit organizations, these camps seek staff members who have a background in social work and/or experience working with youth groups. This can also be a very challenging but rewarding experience.
Special needs camps work with campers of various ages who have a wide variety of disabilities. As a special needs counselor, you may need to help bathe or lift campers. If you have experience working with people with special needs, that's great. However, previous experience isn't required, as long as you are patient, energetic, have a respectful attitude toward people with disabilities and are open to a challenging but also incredibly rewarding experience.
At these camps, kids participate in activities in a single-sex environment. Sometimes camps have a brother or sister camp nearby. Most scout camps fall under this category.
What are the fees and how do I pay them?
Check out our financial information, which includes fees, stipends, and more.