Activity/Skill Questions for Counselors

Camp directors often look for particular skills when hiring counselors. When completing the skills section of the application, applicants should consider the following questions and incorporate the answers in their application:

  1. Explain how you became involved in the activity. Include at what age you began, your progression through the skill levels and if you have competed. Are you still actively involved?
  2. Do you have any current certifications in the activity? (personal certification or certification to teach the activity) Please include safety certification i.e. CPR or First Aid.
  3. Do you have teaching experience in the activity? Whom did you teach? How often? When was the last time you taught the activity?
  4. Also please discuss the safety aspects involved in each activity.

Specific Activity Questions to consider

The more details an applicant can provide about their skills, the better! Applicants should be prepared to answer these questions in an interview and also incorporate their answers in their application.

Arts and Crafts


All Arts & Crafts
  • What experience do you have in the following areas? (Including the type of projects they can complete and teaching experience) Please show examples of work.

    • Basketry
    • Batik
    • Candle Making
    • Ceramics
    • Drawing
    • Jewelry making
    • Leatherwork
    • Metal work
    • Painting
    • Paper mache
    • Photography
    • Pottery (wheel sculpture, kiln)
    • Puppetry
    • Silk Screen
    • Stain Glass
    • Tye dying
    • Woodworking
  • How would you inspire children to start and complete a project?

Jewelry Making
  • Can you solder?
  • What materials have you worked with i.e. metal, beads, clay fimo, plastics, paper mache, enamel, silver and string?
Stained Glass
  • Have you ever cut glass?
  • Have you ever foiled or came?
  • Can you solder?
Photography
  • Do you know how to develop (black and white, color, shading, reducing/enlarging)?
  • Can you operate a 35-mm camera? Show use of Aperture, lens, and film speed, lighting focus?
  • Please name your dark room experience.
Pottery/Ceramics
  • Do you have experience in: Kiln (wood, gas or electric), wheel (electric or kick, can you throw a pot), Glazing (liquid or powder), handwork (pinch pots, sculpture, coiling)?
Painting
  • What types of paints can you use? Acrylics, oils, charcoals, pastels and/or watercolors?
  • Can you paint large murals, sets for plays, portraits, still life, nature scenes?
Wood/Metal Work
  • What type of tools are you familiar with (hand, power, machinery)?
  • Do you know the proper safety procedures?
  • What type of work do you do i.e. cabinet making, construction, fine finishing, detail work?
  • What kind of project ideas do you have for a camp situation – girls/boys – age 6-11, age 11-14 and age 15 plus?

Adventure


Abseiling/Rock-climbing/Ropes Course

Certifications are important here!

  • Do you know how to use the appropriate knots and climbing equipment? (figure 8’s, carabina’s, stick plates, harnesses, ropes)
  • Can you fit a harness? (basic harness, full adjustable, seat harness)
  • Describe a minimal anchor arrangement that you would feel comfortable climbing with?
  • Please give an explanation of the proper safety procedures?
  • Can you belay (top belay or bottom belay)?
  • Can you rock climb? What levels have you climbed?
  • Have you done any lead climbing? What levels?
  • Are you trained in rescue?
  • Have you used a climbing tower or an indoor climbing wall?
  • What are the differences you see between indoor (gym) climbing and actual rock climbing?
  • Do you have any ropes course experience (high or low)?
  • Do you know any ice breakers, trust games, group initiatives?
  • What individual low ropes stations are you familiar with?
  • Have you facilitated a group for either high or low rope courses?
  • Can you set up a low or high rope course?
  • Can you do equipment explanations, check and use?
Camping
  • Can you: Pitch a tent, teach fire building, cook over an open fire for a group of people, read a compass and a map, build shelters, teach knots, teach campsite maintenance, pack a backpack, teach outdoor survival, teach outdoor safety, and teach environmental awareness?
  • Have you ever lead a trip for a group of people? How long and how far? For how many people?
  • What kind of campfire program have you done?
Hiking
  • Over what distance and terrain i.e. flat, hilly, road, mountains etc.?
  • Can you read a map and compass?
  • Have you done orienteering?
  • Have lead a group of people on a hike? Please give details.
  • Can you plan a route for a hike?
Mountain Biking
  • Is your experience on or off road?
  • What type of bike?
  • Are you familiar with maintenance? (Flat tire, brake cable, derailer adjustment, etc.)
  • Can you strip and rebuild a bike?
  • Are you familiar with brake safety?
  • Have you ever scoped out a trial to be used by a group?
  • Have you ever taken a group out on a trip?

Land Sports


For all Sports
  • What is your view on competition?
  • How do you teach good sportsmanship?
  • How do you make drills fun? Give examples.
Archery
  • Do you have experience with a compound or recurve bow?
  • Please explain appropriate range safety procedures?
  • Is your experience target shooting or hunting?
  • Can you restring a bow?
  • Can you set up an Archery Range or targets?
  • Can you refeather arrows?
  • Can you run a tournament?
Basketball
  • Have you competed?

  • Have you coached: what age, what level, for how long?

  • Can you teach the following:

    • Ball control
    • Passing
    • Tactics
    • Rules and Regulations
    • Co-ordination
    • dribbling
    • Offense/Defense
    • Drills
    • Shooting
    • Refereeing
Golf
  • What is your handicap?
  • Can you teach the purpose of each club?
  • Can you teach basic grip and swing?
  • Have you played competitively? Do you have a coach?
  • Can you correct a hook or slice?
Gymnastics
  • What level have you reached?

  • What coaching level have you reached?

  • Which apparatus do you have experience with? What can you do in each activity?

  • Do you feel confident teaching and choreographing routines for the following:

    • Vault
    • Floor
    • Mini tramp
    • Beam
    • Uneven bars
    • Rings
    • Parallel bars
    • Horse
    • Trampoline
    • Acro
Martial Arts
  • What type are you involved in: karate, judo tae kwan do, tai chi?
  • What color belt have you earned?
  • Is your particular specialty more aggression or fitness based?
  • Can you adapt your art and teach a self defense course Riflery
  • What types of guns do you have experience with?
  • Are you familiar with the proper care of guns? (cleaning and safety)
  • Were you in the armed forces?
  • Do you own a gun?
  • Are you a member of a shooting club?
  • Do you have any rifle range experience?
  • Please explain appropriate range safety procedures?
Soccer
  • Can you teach beginners, intermediates or advanced?

  • Can you teach the following skills:

    • Ball skills
    • Passing
    • Heading
    • Tactics
    • Co-ordination
    • Shooting
    • Positions
    • Techniques
    • Drills
    • Dribbling
    • Offense/defense
    • Rules and regulations
    • Refereeing
Street Hockey
  • Are you experience on foot or on skates?

  • Can you teach the following:

    • Offensive/Defense
    • Slap shot
    • Push shot
    • Goal
    • Rules and regulations
    • Refereeing
Tennis
  • Have you taken private lessons?

  • Have you coached: beginners, intermediate, advanced?

  • Do you play regularly in club or team competition?

  • Can you teach the following skills:

    • Grip
    • Drills
    • Stance
    • Smash
    • Singles and doubles rules & regulations
    • Umpiring
    • Racket control
    • Swing
    • Co-ordination
    • Top/back spin
    • Ball skills
    • Strokes
    • Foot work
    • Forehand/backhand

Nature


Outdoor Education/Nature
  • Can you set up a nature trail or study program?
  • Can you teach – conservation, ecosystems, marine biology, animal study, plant study, environmental cycles, survival and habitat, camouflage, geology?
  • Can you identify trees, flora, edible plants etc?
Farm Animals
  • What type of animals have you cared for? And what have you done (i.e. feed, groom, stable management)?
Astronomy
  • Are you knowledgeable of the US summer constellations?

Other Activities

Computers
  • What types of operating system do you have experience on, Mac or PC?
  • Do you have a degree in computers?
  • Do you know how to write programs?
  • Can you perform computer maintenance?
  • Do you have experience on computer networks?
  • Have you used publishing programs, written newsletters or web pages?
Fishing
  • Can you make your own lores?
  • Can you repair broken reels?
  • Do you know the range of fresh water fish?
  • Do you have experience fly-fishing?
Go-Karts
  • Can you drive a go-kart?
  • Have you ever supervised a go-kart track?
  • Do you have any experience with go-kart or small engine repair?
  • Are you aware of track safety?
Religious studies
  • Have you taught religious education? What denomination?
  • Can you organize, teach, lead and run a religious discussion?
  • Have you put on skits depicting religious stories?
  • Can you discuss your faith without trying to convert people?
  • Are you comfortable working in a religious environment that is not your religion?

Performance Arts


Drama
  • Are you an amateur or professional?
  • Have you performed live, in front of a camera or on stage?
  • What do you have experiences in: drama, comedy, musicals, theatre sport, mime improvisation?
  • Have you directed, written, cast or produced? Details?
  • How would you cast and direct a 45-minute play of 15-20 campers who you have for 1 hour a day for 1 week?
  • Do you have experience in the technical side: lighting, sound, props, make up or costuming?
  • Do you play piano? Have you ever choreographed?
Dance
  • What type of dance have you been involved in?
  • Have you taken lessons?
  • Do you have experience choreographing?
  • Have you assisted or taught dance classes to children? What age, sex and level?
Music - Instrument
  • What instruments can you play?
  • Can you read music, play by ear and/or accompany a singer?
  • What songs/styles do you know? (musical shows, popular, classical etc.)
  • Can you transpose music?
  • Have you ever taught others to play? Please explain.
Puppetry
  • Have you made puppets? What types?
  • Have you written scripts and performed?
Singing
  • Are you an amateur or professional?
  • Do you sing alone, in a choir or group?
  • Are you confident to sing alone in front of a large group?
  • Are you confident to direct a group of individuals singing?
  • What style music do you sing? (musical shows, popular, church, classical etc.)
  • Can you write and/or arrange songs?
  • Can you sing and teach harmonies?
  • Do you play guitar – can you lead a large group singing (i.e. dining room)

Horses


General
  • What do you have experience in:

    • English
    • Vaulting
    • Games
    • Rodeo
    • Western
    • Dressage
    • Trail
    • Roping
    • Cross-country
    • Barreling
    • Jumping
    • Gym Kanna
    • Pleasure
  • Can you bridle and saddle a horse?

  • What is your experience with caring for horses i.e. grooming and feeding?

  • Are you familiar with safety? What safety procedures would you require?

  • Would you muck out stalls?

Waterfront


Certifications are important here!

Lifeguard/General Waterfront
  • What type of facility have you worked at before i.e. pool, ocean, river, waterpark, lake?
  • Do you have experience lifeguarding for specific waterfront activities? Which ones?
  • What are your certifications? Kayaking/Canoeing
  • Do you have experience in an open or closed canoe?
  • Do you have experience in white or calm water?
  • Can you teach: Eskimo rolls, capsizing and stork e techniques?
  • Have you lead canoe/camping trips?
  • What safety procedures would you follow when running an activity?
Sailing
  • What type (including size or class) of crafts have you sailed?
  • What bodies of water do you have experience sailing on?
  • Are you able to rig boats, if yes what kinds?
  • Can you teach wind direction, navigation and capsizing?
  • Can you perform biadic maintenance and repairs?
  • What safety procedures would you follow when running an activity?
Scuba Diving
  • Can you do maintenance on dive equipment?
  • Do you have experience with night dives, open water, cave etc.?
  • What safety procedures would you follow when running an activity?
Swim Instructor
  • Please note you must be certified in your country as a swim instructor!

  • Are you certified as a lifeguard as well?

  • Are you a strong swimmer yourself?

  • What strokes/skills do you have experience teaching:

    • Beginners
    • Intermediates
    • Advanced
    • Swim team
    • Free style (crawl)
    • Breast stroke
    • Back stroke
    • Side stroke
    • Butterfly
    • Diving
    • Floating
    • Kicking
    • Breathing/breath control
    • Turns
Waterskiing
  • Can you personally do or teach? Please explain.

    • Double ski
    • Single ski
    • Trick ski
    • Knee board
    • Wake Board
    • Barefoot
    • Jump
    • Tube
    • Beach Start
    • Deep Water Start
    • Get up on one
    • Drop a ski
  • Do you have a boat driver’s license? What class and for how long?

  • If you have experience with driving a boat have you ever pulled: a skier, a tuber, a knee boarder, a barefooter, Wake boarder?

  • What safety procedures would you follow when running an activity?

Jet Skiing
  • What brands/models have you used?
  • Detail any teaching experience.
  • What safety procedures would you follow when running an activity?
Windsurfing
  • What size board do you have experience with?
  • What bodies of water do you’ve experience in: lakes, rivers or oceans?
  • Do you know how to rig a windsurfer?
  • Do you know basic maintenance?
  • Can you teach wind direction?
  • What advance skills do you possess i.e. jumping and wave riding?
  • Have you ever taught windsurfing? Explain
  • What safety procedures would you follow when running an activity?
U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation