The Camp Leaders Experience

If you're looking for the ultimate work and travel experience, you've just found it. Summer camp in America might just be the best way to work and travel for a season, and Camp Leaders is the ultimate summer camp experience. Here's everything you need to know if you're thinking about taking a mini gap year (summer) in America.

Work at Summer Camp in America

American summer camps are an annual tradition for excited kids and counselors - and for good reason. Heading to camp is like being transported into a completely different world for 8 weeks. In America's work and travel industry, summer camps lead the charge. They're always looking for international staff who can bring fun, fresh perspectives, providing campers and staff with incredible cultural exchange experiences.

You’ll spend your summer helping out American campers, developing new skills, and making awesome new friends to travel with. There are lots of different positions available at camp, so there's a good chance you'll find a great fit. The typical camp will run for 8-10 weeks, so it fits in perfectly with a university schedule.

You’ll get lost in the summer heat, spend your days hanging out with kids, and lead lots of fun games and activities. With your help, they can explore new interests and hobbies. You’ll discover some things about yourself, too, and have an absolutely unforgettable summer.

Travel America

If you’re looking for the ultimate summer job, look no further. Camp Leaders is the classic summer camp experience, and you’ll have an unforgettable time exploring the land of the free. Camp might just be the best way to work and travel in America. Whether you want to see the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, or anything in between, camp is simply the best way to work and travel in the USA.

In a country known for it’s great variety, there’s something for everyone. You’ll be a short trip away from some of the most incredible sights in the world, and be free to travel wherever you like after camp. Smaller Earth also provides you access to some key discounts for hostels, treks, tours, and car rentals, to help you make the most of your after-camp travel.

You’ll wake up each day to something new, and you’ll be able to challenge yourself in completely new ways. There’s no travel experience like America, and you’ll be able to finance your adventures with your pay from camp. One thing is for certain - you’ll definitely want to return for year 2.

What to Expect with Camp Leaders

Food & accommodation at camp
Return flights (No Flight option also available)
Easy application process
10 week comprehensive health insurance
24/7 in-country support from an award-winning team of camp experts
Visa assistance and sponsorship

Summer Camp Jobs in America

A great summer camp experience depends on the camp’s staff. As a camp counselor, you’ll play a key part in making sure the summer runs smoothly. Your job is to just let kids be kids, and make sure everyone is looked after.

You can make a big difference in helping your campers develop their skills and confidence , and you’re sure to grow from the experience, too. No matter what role you end up in at summer camp USA, you can bring your unique traits, and develop them at camp.

General Counselor: the all rounder

If you’re the type who can help out in a variety of ways, you’ll make a great general counselor.

You’ll get to take part in all the fun camp activities, and experience something new every day. You’ll be a role model for your small group of campers, and you’ll be the person they’ll turn to if they need help. You can make a big impact on your group because you’ll be with them day in and day out. You’ll get to watch them grow over the summer, which makes this a truly rewarding role.

Qualifications: No qualifications are needed for this role.

Activity Specialist: teach what you love

If you’ve got a one-track mind, this one’s for you.

If there’s a better summer job than helping kids develop their skills in an activity you’re passionate about, we haven’t heard of it. If you’d be confident enough to teach kids about your chosen activity, you’ll be a great fit. All you really need to bring to this camp role is your enthusiasm and creativity. You’ll excel if you can find ways to help kids grow in different ways. You’ll usually have five 1-hour sessions at your station each day, and you can join other activities or groups in your spare time.

There’s a huge range of activities and job roles at summer camps in America, so there’s likely a perfect role for you. Make sure to let us know about your skills in your application. If you're interested in a specific role, ask a Camp Leaders team member on your welcome call.

Qualifications: Not required for most Activity Specialist roles. If you do have qualifications in any of the activities on your profile, that’s a bonus!

Special Needs Counselors: know no limits

Step into the most rewarding role at summer camp.

You’ll be supporting people with all kinds of limitations, whether they be physical, mental, or emotional. The extra attention required to make sure these campers get the most out of their summer means that you’ll have more support, too. Most special needs camps have at least a 1:2 counselor-camper ratio, much higher than at traditional camps.

If you’re compassionate and patient, you’ll be a great fit at one of these camps. The campers can try any activities they would like, and you can support them to challenge themselves in new ways. In your application you can state your level of comfort and, before heading out to the USA, you’ll attend a pre-departure support event to prepare you for camp. Giving these campers the opportunity to fully submerge themselves in camp life is incredibly fulfilling, as they are able to partake in the same daily activities that are available at traditional camps. This role may appear to be the most challenging, but the incomparable impact you make and genuine relationships you build is the reason so many counselors return summer after summer.

Qualifications: No qualifications are needed for this role.

Support Staff: step behind the scenes

This role is perfect for people who want to go to camp, but don’t want to work directly with kids.

There are roles in the camp office, security, food preparation, maintenance, and housekeeping, among others. The staff members behind the scenes keep everything moving along for the summer.

You’ll be part of a team, often made up of people from different nationalities. It’s a chance to make friends from around the world, develop your skills, and gain valuable work experience in your chosen industry.

Qualifications: You must be an active full-time student at University.

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American Summer Camp Types

These camp types provide lots of different opportunities to work in the USA for foreigners. Choose your adventure, and lock down one of the best summer camp jobs in America.

Private/Traditional

These camps are privately owned and operated, and some of them span back through several generations the same family. With activities ranging from performing arts to competitive sports, there’s something for everyone at these camps.

Non-Profit Agency

Associated with non-profit organizations, these camps provide have low-cost or free program fees for campers from underprivileged backgrounds. With the aim to send children to camp who otherwise would not have the means to go, the daily activities at these camps are very similar to traditional camps.

Special Needs

Special needs camps make summer accessible for everyone. They operate under the philosophy that every child should have the opportunity to grow, develop, and try new activities. A positive attitude, and the motivation to make a difference to campers with physical, behavioural and/or developmental limitations, are ideal attributes for a special needs counselor.

Faith-based

Although these camps are typically Jewish or Christian, you don’t need to practice a religion to work at these camps - it’s all about teaching good values. The level of practiced faith varies from camp to camp, so some of these camps are indistinguishable from traditional ones. With shared values, fun traditions, and a wide range of activities, faith-based camps provide a strong sense of community. You’ll be sad to leave the close relationships you’ve built behind once the summer is over.

Girl Scouts of America

Girl scout camps are the most rustic camps out there. If you have a love for the great outdoors, these camps are for you. From wilderness expeditions to sleeping under the stars, orienteering hiking trails to roasting s’mores on campfires, these camps allow you to get in touch with nature. You'll enable children to explore and develop a love for being outside.

Specific-Focus

These camps are meant for campers who want to train at a high level in one specific activity. Whether it be sports, performing arts, horse-riding, or any other activity, specialist camps offer personalised coaching to campers. Many of these camps are also equipped with advanced, modern facilities. If you are highly qualified in an activity, these camps are a great way to make an impact on the next generation of athletes, artists, or other professionals.

Day Camps

Day camps cover a wide range of activities, but they're only open in the daytime. They function in a similar fashion to a daycare, but provide a more fun and interactive environment. Campers typically live close to the camp location, so they'll arrive in the morning, and head home in the evening. You and the other counselors will have some time to hang out together by the campfire at night.

Weight loss camps

If you want to make a big impact on campers this summer, a weight loss camp is the right place for you. With a specific focus on health and nutrition, the activities at these camps are similar to the other camps listed, but with added sessions around fitness, lifestyle and self-esteem. Depending on your skills and experience, you may even have a chance to train or coach for adult programs during the summer.

What's Provided On the Camp Leaders Program

What's Included

  • Summer camp placement
  • Food and accommodation at camp
  • 90 days medical insurance
  • Visa assistance and sponsorship
  • Pre-camp preparation day
  • 24/7 in-country expert support team
  • Up to 30 days travel after camp
  • Option to have return flights included
  • Earn up to $1250
Additional fees
  • Medical Check - Varies based on GP
  • Advanced Police Check - £60
  • US Visa Interview - $160, Paid to US Embassy

Why Camp Leaders?

Camp Leaders is a story of passion and perseverance. It all started in a back bedroom in Liverpool, UK in 1999.

That was the year when Chris Arnold, the founder of Camp Leaders, returned from summer camp in America. Inspired and enriched by his cultural exchange experience, he knew he'd found something incredible. He wanted to help others experience the life-changing impact of summer camp, so he decided to share his experience far and wide, and find a way to help them do it, too.

Chris knew he could make a huge difference by spreading his message. He decided to create a straightforward program, with the aim to open the possibility of summer camp to as many people as possible - and so Camp Leaders was born.

Since it's inception, Camp Leaders has grown and grown, driven by the same camp-inspired spirit.

Over the past 20 years, Camp Leaders has emerged as a worldwide leader for cultural exchange. The Camp Leaders program is now one of the world’s most well-known camp travel experiences. The Camp Leaders team is made up of world travellers and summer camp experts, who understand the unique value of working at summer camp in the USA.

From top to bottom, Camp Leaders is driven by people who are passionate about providing an incredible customer experience. They know it's possible to make your mark on the world, at the same time as having an incredible, life-changing experience - because they do it every day.

Camp Leaders FAQ's

Can I choose where in America I go?

Camp Leaders takes your preferences into account, but mostly place staff members according to two main factors; skill and personality. Basically what this means is that they'll favour the type of camp, what skills you have that match the camp's needs, and whether you'll do well there, over where the camp is placed geographically. Camp Leaders have long-standing relationships with camps all over the USA, so they know who the camps are, and how to match you with a place where they know you'll thrive.

It's most important that you go to a place that's a great fit for you. This means that, while they will take your location preferences into account, it's more important that you're able to get the most out of your summer. Besides - anywhere you go, you'll be in 30 degree weather, surrounded by the cool greens and blues of American summer.

Do I need to have qualifications?

Qualifications are not required for most roles. Even most of the activity specialist roles don't require anything more than a general knowledge of the subject - and each new staff member at camp will have full training in their role before the campers arrive.

Can I travel after camp is over?

Yes - it wouldn't be summer in America without a road trip. With your J1 visa, you can travel for 30 days after your contract is up.

Camp Leaders and the Smaller Earth Group have travel partnerships with companies all over North America. Check out our Car Rental, Hostel Accomodations, and Tour Discount options.

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Summer Camp in America
from £349 8 weeks

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