Working at a Girl Scout Camp is a massively empowering way to spend a summer working in America. Girl Scout Camps aim to help build girls’ courage, confidence, and character, and they’re a big part of many girls’ lives. While every Girl Scout Camp is a little different from each other, there are some things they all have in common. Today’s Guest Blogger, Jess Toogood, walks us through what life working at a Girl Scout Camp in America is like.
Everyone working at a Girl Scout Camp is a really special kind of person. They’re all committed to helping empower the next generation of women and they pull together to create a really supportive community. My best friends are all people I met working at a Girl Scout camp. They really support me in everything I do, even if it’s a bit silly!
The empowerment of life at camp is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. Society shows young girls that certain roles are for girls and others are for boys, but it’s just not true at camp. Campers are allowed to explore and discover what interests and excites them. Whether it’s helping their fellow campers make it across the high ropes course or working out how to make an elastic band powered car to run, everything is girl-led.
The majority of Girl Scout Camps will have just one or two members of male staff. Even if there are any, they typically work behind the scenes. All the staff in charge of looking after the campers are usually women. I know some people are put off by this, but just take a second to think about it. No boys mean there are no pressures for the girls to look or act a certain way. Taking away that pressure can be pretty incredible. It really allows the campers to open up and by the end of the week, you’ll see some incredible changes in them.
Not all camps are the same, but Girl Scout Camps tend to be a bit more rustic than Traditional Summer Camps. We have teepees, platform tents, and yurts as living units rather than log cabins. Rustic camps let you remove yourself from the modern world. That means you’ll start to appreciate what’s around you rather than worrying about how many likes you get on Facebook. If this sounds like the perfect summer for you, apply here now!
Ever wondered what a day in the life of a Camp Counselor involves?
Hey! I’m Summer and I was a Camp Counselor in my two summers at camp. I spent a year working at French Woods Festival of Performing Arts in Upstate New York. French Woods is a specialist camp with all the traditional camp activities. Not only are there traditional activities but there are also four theatres, a circus and a magic department! Specifically, French Woods is a sleep-away camp, which means that campers spend the nights sleeping in cabins. There can be up to about fourteen children in each cabin.
Above all, summer camp is one of those places where you fully immerse yourself in a camp bubble. Every day is different and you’re always inspiring and influencing your campers. In addition to all of this, you get paid! You are also adding top skills to your CV. Ready to find out more? Keep reading below to find out what a typical day in the life of a Camp Counselor is like!
The first task of the day as a Camp Counselor is to get the kids up and excited for the day ahead! In order to do this, I and my co-counselors find that the best way to do this is to get some top tunes on. Getting them up and dancing is a great way to start the day. This motivates the kids for the day ahead.
The dancing doesn’t stop there either! Mealtimes at camp (breakfast included) are filled with singing, dancing and banging the tables. All of your typical table manners go out the window! If it’s someone’s birthday then the dining hall becomes a buzz of hundreds of campers and counselors singing, clapping and celebrating. It’s SO fun and one of the best parts of a day in the life of a camp counselor!
After breakfast and a quick cabin clean-up, it’s time to head to activities. At French Woods, the kids choose their own schedule made up of Majors and Minors. Major activities are things the kids would do every day and maybe work towards a project. These can be things like taking part in a musical, being part of a sports team or circus show. Minor activities are things that they chose every day such as activities like swimming, rock climbing or mountain biking.
This is where specialists counselors would head off to teach their activities. Now although you’re ‘teaching’ a skill, this doesn’t mean you’re cooped up in a classroom, you organise your activities any way you see fit! A typical day for myself is usually spent in the Theatre teaching Sound and Lighting skills. Getting kids to create crazy sound effects to use in performances often means heading around camp and looking at how we can record sound effects.
Every day you get a period off, which can be used to get stuck into all the activities. For instance, on a day I was feeling lazy, I could chill in the cabin or by the waterfront. The different activities on offer meant that you could learn a new skill or try something different every day! I tried everything camp had to offer, even daring to go on the flying trapeze in the circus!
After dinner and some chill time for kids and counselors, it’s time for evening activities! This is my favourite time of the day. Every evening is something different as well as a time to get stuck into activities.
We would spend our evenings watching shows and performances by the campers and taking part in games like Color Wars, Capture-the-flag and sing-a-longs. We also had ice cream socials, campfires and themed discos.
After evening activities, everyone is worn out from a busy day! At my camp, counselors work on a rota in the evenings. One counselor and a CIT (Counselor in Training) take care of the kids and settle them for the evening. The other two counselors are able to take the evening off. To sum it all up, one thing I loved about camp on my evenings off was sitting by the waterfront on warm summer evenings and watching the stars, I’d never seen so many it was absolutely spectacular.
Days at camp are active, exciting and busy. Every day is different but every day is fun! You’ll never find a summer job which pays you to have a great time more than being a camp counselor.
Do it, you won’t regret it! Click here to start your Camp Counselor application and experience being a Camp Counselor for yourself.
You may have just finished your first summer at camp. Maybe you’re ready to return for your third summer or more! As soon as you’ve received your offer, you’re ready to return to camp. Summer may be quite a while away yet but as a returner, it is essential to get started with your application ASAP. Find out more about the steps to return to camp and getting started with your application.
If you’re returning for a second summer at camp, that makes you a 2nd-year returner. If you are returning to the same camp you will need to get an offer of return from your camp. Camps will start their hiring process around September/October time. Make sure to speak with your camp as early as possible to secure your place for the upcoming season. In addition to reaching out to camp yourself, you will also negotiate your salary. As well as your salary, it is important to know your role at camp.
When you are ready to start your application to return to camp, log into your profile. From here, you will be able to select the option to create an application for the future season ahead. The Department of State often has limits on the number of returners that can be sent back to camp, because of this, it is important to start your applications as soon as possible. To fully secure your place you will need to pay your £99 deposit. You can do this either on the phone or on your profile. Find out more about returner fees here.
For those returning for their 3rd summer or more, it is ESSENTIAL to get started with your application as soon as you have received your offer. The Department of State limits the number of visas for 3rd year+ returners which means late applications will not be eligible for a visa. The Department of State insists that only 10% of total visa allocations are available for 3rd year+ returners. This is offered on a first-come-first-served basis.
To start your returner application, log into your profile. From here you will be able to create an application for next season. You will then need to pay your £99 deposit. This secures your place on the program to return to camp for the upcoming season. Find out more about returner fees here.
You may have decided that you’d like to head back to camp but this time, you’d like to head to a new camp. If this is the case, you are classed as a first-timer. Everything is the same as when you first decided to head to camp, including the option of choosing your flight options. However, you will need to get a reference from your old camp to return to a new camp. You can get started with your brand new application here.
We can’t wait to help you get back out to camp and continue your summer journey. Remember to keep up to date with us throughout the year as well as the summer for exclusive news and competitions!
Great news, a camp has put you on review and now wants to interview you! Your profile is all up to scratch but now you need to get ready your summer camp Skype interview. Like any other interview, camp wants to get to know you a little better and see if you’d be a great fit at there camp. Similar to your NST interview, it’s not as formal as a traditional interview. Camp wants to see your personality and your capability of being part of the team at camp.
Find out how to nail your Summer Camp Skype interview with these top tips!
Make sure to finalise your profile and make sure everything reads perfectly! When camps are getting ready for your summer camp Skype interview they’ll use your profile to direct questions. Check to see if there any spelling mistakes or errors ready for your interview.
This is a video interview which means that your interviewer can see you as well as your surroundings. Make sure you’ve scheduled a time to sit down in a quiet space with no distractions. Keep your background minimal and free from any busy clutter. Ideally, sit at a desk with your laptop, phone or tablet in a fixed position. No selfie positions here, please!
A number one bugbear of directors when interviewing potential counselors is technical difficulties! When getting ready for your interview, make sure your Skype is fully functional. This means making sure your wifi is connected, your mic is working, the sound is on and your camera is good to go. They’re small things to check but they can make or break your interview, so make sure all your technical checks are done!
This isn’t a corporate role so there’s no need to dress in your best. However, you don’t want to rock up in your pyjamas. Keep it smart casual in a simple shirt or smart top. You may have heard of others conducting Skype interviews and meeting with a shirt on top but pyjamas on the bottom. Yes, they may not be able to see what you’re wearing on the bottom but if you do need to stand up for whatever reason they’ll be able to see your PJ bottoms. Don’t risk it and make sure your outfit is cohesive head to toe!
You may have been asked to add the director on Skype or even Facetime. Avoid any technical errors and make sure you’ve done this well in advance. Also, make sure you know your Skype name (in addition, check that is an appropriate name!), this usually looks something like this “live:xxxxxx”.
There’s nothing worse than being asked “so, what do you know about us?” and coming up blank. Have a look at the camp’s website as well as their social media to get a vibe for what they do and what they’re all about. The more you know about them, the more impressed they will be! Similarly, you’ll want to prepare questions to ask them as well. It’s important to make sure that camp is a fit for you as well as you being a great fit for them!
While completing your interview remember to keep cool! Understandably, you’ll be nervous about your interview but try not to let this affect your interview. Don’t speak too fast and rush through your interview because the camp may struggle to hear you clearly. Slow things down and take your time. If the camp keeps repeatedly asking you to repeat yourself, this may be a sign you’re speaking too quickly for them to understand. Remember, you are most likely going to be interviewed by an American and they may struggle to understand your accent. Additionally, any regional slang may be difficult for them to decipher.
Be confident and ready to talk about yourself! This interview is about YOU and why you should be hired. Remember to read through your profile and emphasise your skills. Be passionate about what you do and this will show camp why you are the best person for the job. On top of all this, remember to SMILE! Camp is all about having fun and bringing joy to the lives of your campers which means smiles all around. Be friendly and excited for your summer of a lifetime and how you can make a difference this summer.
Camps will often check your social media accounts before your summer camp Skype interview. Are your accounts appropriate? Make sure there are no inappropriate images such as ones with alcohol, rude gestures etc. Keep an eye on your posts as well. People have been rejected in the past purely down to their social media accounts. If you’re unsure, make them private!
Remember to thank your interviewer for their time. Manners go a long way and a small thank you at the end is their last impression of you. First impressions count of course but so do your last!