Your Guide to the Important Interview Questions for Summer Camp
What’s up, future summer camp extraordinaire? So, you’re cracking on with your summer camp application and you’ve got your deposit in. What next?
With over 20 years experience in sending people to summer camp all around the world, Smaller Earth has refined its process to ensure it’s as smooth as possible. For most of you, it will look like this:
- Register an interest
- Speak to a staff member and pay your deposit
- Complete your online profile/application
- First interview, informal chat with a team member local to you
- Final interview direct with camp, at a jobs fair or over Skype
For most, the most nerve wracking part is, understandably, the interviews and the interview questions for summer camp. People put so much pressure on themselves to succeed that it can actually be a burden. The aim of our support here at Smaller Earth is to break that pressure down, to ensure you can thrive and shine.
As you can see above, your interviews will come in two different forms. Firstly, you’ll be sitting down with someone for your initial Camp Leaders /Camp Canada /Adventure China interview. Although an interview, it’s an informal chat to discuss your application and to help bring out as much useful information as possible. Pass this and you’re onto the programme! That leaves one final interview for that incredible summer camp placement, which will be with a director of a camp.
Whether you’re feeling a tad nervous, or you just love to be prepared for all scenarios, this blog which explores interview questions for summer camp will have you covered.
Yes, interviews can be daunting and that’s why you’re here right? To prepare for every possibility to make it as easy as possible?
This blog is here to anticipate the important interview questions for summer camp that may be coming your way and to help make sure you enter those conversations positive, confident and ready to show your best self.
Once you’ve started your summer camp application, had the welcome call and paid your deposit, it’s time to have your first interview, which will be with a Camp Leaders / Camp Canada / Adventure China national team member. We have dedicated members all around the country, who have been to summer camp and got the camp t-shirt, so they know exactly what you’re going through. Their job is to meet you for a tea or coffee locally, chat through your application and find out as much relevant info as possible.
This is an opportunity for you to soak up some great knowledge from someone who's ‘been there and done that’. They are there to help guide you through the application process but to also give you that experience of talking about yourself, your strengths, your passions and the things you love to do. That’s ultimately what the camp directors will want to know too.
Here is a quick break down of some typical area’s you’ll be expected to talk about:
1. “Why do you want to work at summer camp?”
- This one should be easy as it’s going to be at the forefront of your mind already.
Be honest, why did you sign up to do this? You must be a courageous person, right? Someone who cares for others? There’s no set ‘best answer’, as it’s all individual. But remember that the kids are at the heart of summer camp.
Be honest and don’t be afraid to give as much information as possible.
2. "What’s your work experience like with children/with others?"
- If you want to best prepare for this, just write down before a quick bullet point list of all the times you’ve interacted with children/teenagers and join them into groups of work-related or even family-related. Ever done babysitting for family, or even got a young family around you? Work at a youth club, or help out with a kids netball team? Get it all down.
Sometimes, the smallest detail to you, could be the deciding factor for camp.
3. "What’s a time you had to be dedicated/work long hours/commit to a set goal?"
- There’s a saying you’ll learn at camp “the days are long but the weeks are SHORT”. Honestly, you’ll say this most days to your friends at camp.
It’s true when at camp you’ll be on the ball from the get-go in the morning, through to going to sleep at night. It’ll never feel like work but it can be tiring, so one area you’ll be asked about is around your commitments and times you’ve worked long hours.
If you’re lucky enough to not have to work long hours yet, that IS okay. Think about how you would manage yourself when put in that environment and talk about that.
4. "What’s your travel history?"
- Again, super easy! This one really speaks for itself. The reason you get asked is both the summer camp and Camp Directors love to know if you’ve been travelling before. Have you ever solo-travelled? Have you ever had to adapt to brand new cultures and what did that look like for you? If you’ve had family adventures that link to an activity, for example skiing, then don’t be afraid to say.
At camp, you’re going to be in a brand new environment so if you have travel experience, fantastic. If not, don’t worry. Think instead what you would do to cope with travelling for the first time. How would you handle being away from home, if you haven’t already? Where would you love to travel after camp? These are key.
5. "What is your biggest achievement(‘s). What do you really enjoy doing?"
- Now for this question, you can be as deep as you wish. You can tell us about the time you won a sports event through school, or as far as overcoming a huge life obstacle to achieving a good grade in an exam. Whatever it is, it’ll mean something for you.
This helps give a great insight into who you are and the challenges you’ve faced.
The first top tip I’m going to give you today is quite simple; make the most of your interviewer. The start of this post is true, they’ve been there and done that. So use this opportunity to ask them any questions you have about camp, what it was like for them, were they nervous? Anything you’re feeling, they felt too. But, the difference is they also now know how fantastic summer camp can be.
This interview should be treated like any other, be punctual and act accordingly. While it's an incredibly relaxed environment, this is great practice for when you interview with a camp director.
Above all else, have fun with it.
Part 2: Summer camp interview & questions
Now for the big time, the interview with a camp director.
This is 100% less scary than you believe it is going to be at this point. These people live and breathe summer camp. If you’ve read or watched anything about summer camp, you’ll know it’s a special place full of dedicated people who want to make the world a better place. Camp directors are the head of this movement.
One great thing to remember, they’ve already seen your profile and like something that's on there. That’s why they’re reaching out to you. So go into the interview with that confidence.
Here’s a few key things to expect from your interview:
1. They’ll ask about the details on your summer camp profile
- Be sure to read back over your profile before your interview with them. They’ve already done this and will ask you about some of the experiences/skills you’ve listed. So give yourself a refresh.
Be ready to talk about your experiences in further detail. It only takes one specific experience to really hit a chord with the person reading it, so don’t be afraid to fill the space.
2. "If ‘situation A’ arises at camp, what would you do?"
- Summer camp is all about the children, so it’s a given that any camp director will ask about your experience with children. They may even flip the question and talk about hypothetical scenarios to test your problem solving ability.
This can be anything from encouraging a camper to get into the pool during general swim, to providing support to someone who is feeling homesick. Draw from your experiences, or simply picture yourself being in that situation and how you would handle it. Common sense and empathy will really help here.
3. What are you looking to achieve at camp?
- Going to camp is a huge experience for us. We’re dedicating ourselves to trying something new, being outside our comfort zones and flying across the pond to make a difference. Camp directors are always intrigued as to why and what we’re looking to provide/achieve at camp.
Again, there’s no best answer but definitely think about this beforehand. You could even list out these answers on a notepad to remember why you’re doing this. Self development is so unique to each person, so really think about your “why”.
ASK THEM QUESTIONS TOO. Like all interviews, camp directors will usually end the interview opening the floor to field any of your questions. So TAKE this opportunity. If there’s something that stands out to you about camp and you want to know more, ask. If the camp director hasn’t covered anything you wanted to know (such as what the food is like, what orientation involves, the living arrangements, when the soccer field grass gets cut) just ask away. It shows an interest, intrigue and more importantly, engagement when you ask. If you don’t, it’s a blot, so even if it seems trivial, find something to ask.
Be sure to be positive too. These camp directors are just like me and you, they also at some point had their own first summer at camp as staff. They know what it is like and they love camp so they’ll do nothing other than make you feel perfectly confident for this experience.
What about after the interview?
You’ll fall into one of two categories; you’ll either find out immediately are you’ll find out a little later down the line. Whichever it is, you’ve taken an important first step into your summer camp journey. Don’t be worried if the first camp isn’t for you, we work with absolutely loads of camps, so we can set you up with other interviews until you find your ideal home for the summer.
The above important interview questions for summer camp are essential pre-reading if you want to smash those interviews. Taking your time to prepare will set you up perfectly to succeed and this small amount of prep will lead to you having a summer of a lifetime. Take your time, chill and be yourself; you’ve got this.