A summer working at camp in the USA is a life-changing experience for our participants. It is one of the best ways to experience American life, develop new skills and make lifelong friends from all over the world.
We understand that a child heading to the USA for a summer can be a daunting prospect for parents. This is the first big trip away from home for most of our participants. Rest assured, we are with them every step of the way.
Every year we have parents reach out to us with questions about the Camp USA programme and we are always happy to put their minds at ease. Below are some of the most common questions we get asked by parents and family. We can’t stop you from worrying…that’s your job!….but hopefully we can convince you that this experience is one of the most rewarding ways your son or daughter can spend their summer.
What is Camp USA?
Camp USA is a summer programme for 18-30 year olds offered by USIT Travel, Ireland’s leading student and youth travel organisation. It is a J1 programme, but you do not need to be a student to be eligible. We recruit enthusiastic and hard-working people to work as camp counsellors at one of over 500 summer camps across the United States. Participants typically work from mid-June to mid-August and can stay in the US for up to 30 days after they finish at camp.
Tell me about the summer camp environment.
Summer camp is a huge part of American culture with 10 million kids aged 8-16 going to camp each summer. Camps are typically in a rustic setting, often on a lake and surrounded by forest. Camps are typically self-contained villages with everything within walking distance. The camp environment looks to provide opportunity for achievement in a wide variety of skills as well as for personal growth and development for campers and staff. Each camp has their own unique atmosphere and philosophy and offers kids an amazing outdoor experience in land sports, water sports, arts & crafts and more.
How does Food and Accommodation work? What needs to be paid for once they are there?
Our participants have no living costs while at camp. Campers and staff typically live in cabins. A dining hall will serve 3 meals a day to all staff and campers. Laundry is also taken care of by the camp. We advise having $300-$500 spending money for nights off and days off. Our participants are typically paid on the last day of camp.
What does the Camp Counsellor job entail?
A camp counsellor’s main focus is the well-being of the campers (aged 8-15), ensuring they get the most from their camp experience by creating a fun, friendly and safe environment. Most counsellors live in a cabin with a group of similarly aged campers and other camp counsellors. They sit with their campers at meal times and entertain them in the evenings. They can be responsible for taking their group to different activities throughout the day. Those with valid experience may be assigned to teaching or supervising an activity such as horse-riding, tennis, mountain-biking, theatre etc.
What happens if someone needs medical attention?
Summer camps have medical staff on-site and take care of all minor medical issues. Our participants are insured for all accidents and emergencies.
What do participants do after camp?
The Camp USA programme allows participants to stay in the US for up to a month after they finish at camp. Our participants are never short of options when camp ends. The majority will use the time to travel with other international staff and explore all the US has to offer. Many will visit American camp friends at their homes or colleges. It is also quite common for families of campers to invite counsellors to come and visit after camp.
What are the personal benefits of a summer at camp?
Camp is a healthy & active summer: All the sunshine, the routine of meals at a set time, getting up and going to bed (mostly) at the same time, along with keeping active gives a camp counsellor an amazing health boost and sense of wellbeing. You don’t need to be a typical ‘sporty’ person. With swimming instructors, basketball coaches, yoga teachers and experienced hikers on staff and a wide range of opportunities available, it’s easy to make being active a part of every day.
Camp is a place to Unplug: Camp policy generally limits device use while working. This is to give everyone – both staff and campers – the best opportunity to be present in each moment. Conversations on the porch, guitar at the camp fire, reading a book by the lake and even meditation can all be part of a transformative summer at camp. There will be time to get online during time off and let you know how they are getting on, but it’s fair to say that camp is one of the few remaining places where you can digitally detox. Campers write home on almost a daily basis and staff are encouraged to do the same.
Camp is a classroom of fun: Learn to juggle, swim, play the drums, fly a trapeze, bake bread, skateboard, tie-dye, rock climb, water-ski, horse ride, tap dance…Each camp we work with offers a range of activities giving our participants the opportunity to learn from high school and college coaches, professors and teachers, athletes and artists.
Camp is a place where friendships are made: Working at summer camp is more than just a summer experience. It’s a way to form a global network of friends for life. Summer camps are 24/7 communities who work, live, eat & play together. Camp staff form extremely close bonds over the summer that last far beyond the summer’s end. Whether it’s couch surfing while traveling, hunting for a job, needing a little bit of advice or support or sharing an inside joke: camp friendships are lifelong.
Camp is a Confidence builder: There will be daily opportunities at camp for staff to stand up and participate. Whether on a stage or on a sports field, camp will challenge staff in the best possible ways. There are also countless interpersonal and communication skills picked up along the way. Hundreds of problems are solved on a daily basis at camp and being in this camp environment is an invaluable and constant learning experience.
Camp is a CV builder: In today’s rapidly changing society, being able to solve issues with limited resources, balance a diverse work team and cope with multiple pressures are critical to success across multiple job industries. At camp you will learn techniques appropriate for all ages and settings. Employers are becoming more and more aware that experience as a camp counsellor translates into excellent management and personal skills.
Why USIT’s Camp USA programme?
Experience: We are the only Irish owned summer camp recruitment company and have been sending satisfied Irish students and non-students to the USA on a number of programmes for over 50 years.
Support: USIT branches in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway as well as over 30 Camp USA team members nationwide means face-to-face support is never far away.
The Perfect Match: We listen to our participants and match them with the camp that is the best fit for them. There is a camp for everyone and by getting to know our participants we design the perfect summer experience for them.
Hiring Events: We have over 50 camps hiring over 3 events in January 2019 with directors from all over the US looking to hire our amazing participants. Please see campusa.ie for more details.
What does the Camp USA Package include?
The Camp USA programme right now is just €699 (while places last):
The following is included in the programme fee:
- A placement at a top American summer camp
- J1 Camp Counsellor work papers (Sponsorship)
- Return flight to New York or Boston
- Food, accommodation & laundry for your entire stay at camp
- A wage of up to $1200
- 30 days travel time after camp
- SEVIS Fee
- 24-hour support while in the US
- Accident and Emergency Insurance
- Assistance with preparing for US Embassy interview
- Orientation Day before departure
What does the Camp USA Package not include?
- American Embassy Interview Fee ($160)
- GP Health Form (Should cost no more than a usual GP visit)
- Police Cert from Local Garda Station (Free of Change)
If you have other questions, don’t miss our Parent’s Info Night on Wednesday 9th of January at 6:15PM at USIT Travel, Dublin. You can register here:
Also, please feel free to call us on 01 602 1808.