What do camp counselors do?
You always knew your talent for building s'mores would come in handy; what better way to share your gift than teaching kids to create their own marshmallow masterpieces around a crackling campfire? If you can distinguish poison ivy from harmless underbrush, win staring contests with large spiders, or if the idea of being on a bus full of kids singing 'The Song that Never Ends' makes you grin instead of grimace, you're well on your way to being an awesome camp counselor!
Positive attitude and a genuine enthusiasm for working with children are vital whether you are a day camp counselor or an overnight camp counselor. Counselors are typically hired as recreation leaders (who supervise general camp operations) or as activity specialists (who teach various subjects including archery, crafts, horseback riding, etc.). Either way, being a summer camp counselor is a great opportunity to build leadership skills while spending the season outdoors. Just be sure to come prepared with rain gear, sunscreen and bug spray; you'll be working in all sorts of weather conditions.
How much do camp counselors make?
Camp counselors make around $7.50 per hour. Many camp positions are seasonal or part time, making this an ideal job for high school and college students who are looking for work during summer vacation.
What are the education requirements?
There are no specific educational requirements for summer camp counselors, but CPR and First Aid Certification are encouraged (and might give you an edge over other applicants). Employers often have counselor in training (CIT) programs set up to show new camp counselors the ropes. In addition to certifications and training, patience is critical for recreation leaders; your campers may be away from home for the first time, and it's your job to calm their nerves and make sure everyone has a great experience. If you enjoy teaching and have talents in sports, crafts or the arts, you are well positioned to become a recreation specialist.
Career paths for camp counselors
Full-time positions are limited and competition can be strong, but there are a variety of opportunities for advancement in the recreational field. Recreation supervisors manage camp counselors, organize and oversee camp activities, and report to the director. Directors of recreation typically hold a graduate degree and are responsible for managing budgets and overall programming.
Experience as a summer camp counselor can also serve as a starting point for related positions in the park industry, daycare or cruise recreation.
The future of camp counselors
The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects faster than average growth in recreational job opportunities over the 2008-2018 decade. Individuals, sports organizations and civil groups are spending money on recreation, but new government funded positions will be limited.
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