The Summer Camp application is LONG! How can you make yourself stand out amongst the thousands of other people applying?
Whichever camp will want to hire you, you’ll have to fill out an application form which will go on FOREVER!! At first, it will look daunting, but don’t be scared! All of the questions are there for a reason, and completing the application to the best of your ability will greatly enhance your chances of being placed at a summer camp. Read on for some tips about how to complete your application to ensure that it stands out. This is your first chance to make a good impression to CCUSA and to Camp Directors!
This guide will take you through the most frequently asked questions on application forms. If some of the sections here are not found on the form you’re filling out, don’t worry!
Remember…this is an application for a job. A job where you will spend the majority of your time looking after somebody else’s children. If you don’t take it seriously, you don’t have a chance.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation are incredibly important. It is a great idea to write the longer sections in Microsoft Word, or a similar program and then copy & paste the section into your application. This ensures that everything you write is checked for spelling and grammar before you submit it.
Do not use abbreviations or ‘text speak’ in your application. No-one wants to read ‘#YOLO’ or ‘I wil b a gr8 cmp cnslor LOL.’ in an application, unless you’re applying for a job which requires you to be a professional wally.
Remember that you can save your application, have a cup of tea and a biscuit, then come back to it at a later time/date. Don’t think that you have to power through the whole application in one sitting.
Present yourself in a positive manner. Do not write anything negative. Camp Directors want to hear about what you can do, not what you can’t do! For example, do not write ‘I’ve been swimming for 15 years but I don’t have any experience of teaching.’ No-one wants to know about things you can’t do and you only succeed in looking unsure of yourself.
Your application photo should show you smiling! Camp is a happy, friendly place, so your face should be similarly happy and friendly! Directors will not want to hire anyone who has an bitchy resting face in their photo.
When asking people to act as referees for you, choose people who have known you for a good amount of time (over 6 months,) and will represent you well. It would really help if your referees can comment on your work with children.
Be honest! Please only include truthful information! If you lie about your skill level or qualifications, you could be placed in a job which does not suit you.
Use humour sparingly. The things that make you laugh are not necessarily the same things that make a Camp Director laugh.
Keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. Camp Directors may well look you up before offering you a job. If your profile is full of pictures of you drinking a million beers or your Tweets are a bit dodgy, you will not look like someone who can be trusted to look after themselves, let alone a group of children.
Working in America requires a level of maturity and responsibility. Although you will want to involve your parents throughout the process, you are the person who will be working in the States, so take responsibility for your entire application.
Be sure to answer ALL questions. If you have left questions unanswered, it will only delay your application.
If you have other photographs that will help to support your application, feel free to upload them onto your application, or send them to your Summer Camp company! Photos should show you playing or working with children or doing a sport or activity which you can teach.
Include your full name, EXACTLY as it is written in your passport. This information will be used for your visa forms, so make sure you use your actual name.
If you are unemployed or on a Gap Year, include details of your most recent job or student status. Your visa forms will need to show that you’ve recently been working or studying.
Fill out your passport details fully. If you do not have a passport, or if it will expire before March 2015, you will need to apply for a new one. This is because the US requires all passports to be valid for at least 6 months after you return from the States.
Make sure that you use the correct units of measurement when completing the height/weight sections. I’ve seen too many people who have said that they are 9kg in weight or 170ft tall. If this is true, some WEIRD looking people are going to camp!
When providing dates of availability, flexibility is important! Put down the absolute earliest date that you can leave for camp and the latest date that you can return. The longer that you’re available, the more camps your Summer Camp company will have to look at for you!
The more contact details you’re able to provide, the better! There will be times when your Camp company will have to get in touch with you quickly, so it’s important that it is easy to track you down.
Double check that your phone number and e-mail address are correct.
Hotmail/Gmail e-mail addresses are preferred to University e-mail addresses. Not everyone will have access to their University e-mail account all of the time. You will be sent e-mails from when you first apply until when you are at camp, so you need to have an e-mail account that you can access for the duration of that time.
If you have a Skype username, be sure to include it. Camp Directors will often interview you via Skype before offering you a job, so they will want to know that they can call you for free!
Complete this section thoroughly and honestly. It is important to know you are going to be in good health when you go to camp, both for your safety and for the safety of the campers/fellow staff.
Most medical conditions are not a problem for working at camp, but all issues will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
If you have ever been cautioned, arrested or convicted of an offence, you MUST disclose the information when you apply. Everyone with a criminal record (no matter how minor or how long ago the incident happened) will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. If you fail to complete this section honestly, you may well find that it will lead to immediate cancellation without refund from the program.
Counselors with a criminal record have to attend a different type of visa appointment which is why it’s super important to have accurate information from the very start!
Include details of ALL positions you have previously held, whether they have been paid or voluntary.
You must include at least 1 job. If it looks like you’ve never worked before, a camp will be unwilling to hire you because it will look like you’ve never held a position of responsibility.
This section will allow you to add details of your favourite skills and activities. The more skills you can add, the stronger your application will look and the easier it will be to place you!
You may also have to write some information about your skills. Remember to only include positive information. Have a think about these questions: How long have you played? Are you a member of a team? Have you ever won any medals/tournaments? What specific skill can you teach/perform? Have you ever coached anyone? Do you have any qualifications? What is your proudest moment?
Choosing Camp Types
This is where it starts to get interesting, and you can start to really think about your summer! Most Summer Camp companies will work with between 6-8 different camp types. The more camp types you select, the more camps your Summer Camp company will have to look at for you, and the greater your chances of being placed.
Before you select your camp types, please read about them all online so that you know about what you are choosing. If you have any questions, give your Summer Camp company a call!
Working at camp is all about new experiences and being open-minded. For example, you don’t need to practice a religion to work at a Christian or Jewish Camp, nor do you necessarily need to have firsthand experience to work at a Special Needs or Specific Requirement Camp. Camp Directors are looking for staff who are willing, respectful and open to new ideas, so if a camp type interests you…select it!
Experience of Working with Children
As a Camp Counselor, you will be looking after children all day, every day. As you’d expect, there will be a section where you’ll get to chat about your previous work with children, from coaching, after school programs to teaching and childcare.
The more examples you can give, the better!
If you’ve only worked with children in your family, it would be a good idea to spend some time before camp getting some work experience with other children. You can always add information to your application from when you first apply to the point that you are placed at camp.