In theory, Camp Fairs are the easiest thing in the world. All you need to do is turn up, have a chat with a Camp Director and then walk away, hi-fiving everyone in celebration of being placed. Sounds easy doesn’t it?
However, in reality, you will be competing for these jobs with about 11 BAZILLION other people who ALL want to go to Camp. If you’ve not prepared for the Fair, you will spend 60% of your time wandering aimlessly around the room 30% of your time feeling bewildered and 10% of your time curled up in the foetal position in the middle of the room, weeping uncontrollably.
I don’t want to hear of ANY crying foetuses, so here’s CCUSA's guide to getting hired!!
1. Arrive Early!!
From the picture, you can see just how long the queues can be. Imagine being at the very back, staring at 1,033,859,480,348,346 people who will get to chat to Camp Directors before you. During your time in the queue, you will wish death on everyone else, just so you can get to the front. But hey! You know what’s better than mean-spirited thoughts? GETTING THERE EARLY!! Yes, you may have to wake up before midday…but if you can get a good spot in the queue, you can get in + start chatting right away!
2. What to Wear??
At Camp, you’ll spend 90% of time in t-shirt and shorts, but as the Fairs will be in January, I wouldn’t recommend wearing that…unless you’re a fan of pneumonia. You should aim to dress in smart-casual clothes, but wear something that you feel comfortable in. There is no need to wear a suit as you’ll feel horribly overdressed and slightly awkward.
Before you go to the Fair, find out as much as you can about the Camps that will be attending. Check out the websites of all of the Camps and try to find out the jobs that they’ll be hiring for at the Fair. The more work you can do before the Fair, the more prepared you’ll be! Pick your 4-5 favourites before the Fair, so that you know exactly who you want to talk to. This will allow you to target specific camps as soon as you enter the Fair, rather than spending the first 30 minutes, wandering round, looking at all of the camps for the first time!
4. Talk to Staff!!
The Camp Fairs can be overwhelming + quite stressful. Take some time to chat to staff as they will have worked at Fairs before and will be able to answer any questions, suggest camps to check out, find out if you have any in-demand skills and do all that they can to help find you a great camp!
You should be prepared to queue for an interview, but before you join a queue, make sure you know which job you want + whether the camp has any age requirements. There would be nothing worse than queuing for 45 minutes, only to find out that the camp is not hiring for a job you thought they were, or they’re only looking for staff over 21yrs old.
6. First Impressions!!
This will probably be the only time you can speak to Camp Directors face-to-face, so make sure you make the most of the opportunity! Camp Directors are looking for enthusiastic, motivated counselors with plenty of personality, so show them what you’ve got! Along with your charming personality, the Directors will also need to know that you’re suitable for the job, so make sure you can talk about your skills + previous work with children in a coherent way!
7. Questions and Trivia
If you’ve done your research, you’ll be able to drop little facts about the Camp into conversation. This will show the Director that you know about their Camp and that you’ve made an effort to prepare yourself for the Fair. You can also ask questions about the Camp based upon what you’ve read. You might want to know about the facilities, how many campers will be in each bunk, where in the world other staff come from or what kind of training you’ll receive before the campers arrive. Try to keep the questions specific to the camp you’re talking to + stay away from questions about travelling or time off as this may show that you’re more interested in what you do away from camp!
8. If at First You Don’t Succeed…
There will be a LOT of Camps at the Fair. If your 1st choice doesn’t have a job that suits your skills, don’t take it as a personal attack. Move on and speak to another camp. And another. And another. You will have made the effort to attend the Fair, so you may as well take the time to chat to a range of Camps. Make sure you go into the Fair with an open mind as you may discover that your perfect Camp is somewhere that you’d never considered before the Fair!
9. Don’t Worry if You Don’t Find a Job
If you end the day without a Camp, please do not worry. Although it may seem like the end of the world, it’s important to put it into perspective. Only a VERY small percentage of Camps will attend the Fair. There are HUNDREDS of other Camps out there and THOUSANDS of jobs, so your perfect Camp may not have been at the Fair. From late January, there will still be 5 months to find you a Camp + Directors will hire the majority of their staff between Feb-May. Have faith in the Summer Camp Company you’ve applied with. They’ve been doing this for many years and will start to look for a Camp for you as soon as possible after the Fair.
10. HAVE FUN!!
The Camp Directors have flown over from the States to meet YOU!! They are excited to meet you and hear about why you’ll be the perfect Counselor. Although the Fairs are a great opportunity to walk away with a job, you will also learn loads about Summer Camps + the type of place that you could be spending your summer. You’ll also get to meet plenty of other people who are hoping to find a job, so you’ll all have the same hopes and dreams for your summer.
We can't wait to meet you all and I hope that you end up with a job…just like these happy, smiley people!