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Feb 21 2020

What makes the ideal camp counselor: A checklist

Are you looking for summer employment? Are you looking to hire staff? Are you a parent considering a summer camp for your child? 

 

This post will bring insights to you about the process camps go through when hiring summer staff.

 

As the director of a summer camp I think it's important to share my selection process. Understanding the values of the camp is the first place to start. Hiring individuals that reflect those values is where I always start.

 

Recruitment is without question the most challenging aspect of being a director of a summer camp. It is considered by most camps to be the most vulnerable aspect of camp. According to the ACQ, association of camps in Quebec finding quality summer staffing is the number one obstacle, especially for specialty camps. A camp like ours, an English Immersion day camp looks at hiring 70 plus employees, it is an enormous task! The main reason for all the stress in hiring a summer camp staff is simple, the stakes are high! These individuals I choose will be caring for children, children that parents trust me to care for. As the director of a summer camp responsible for hiring staff I take that trust very seriously. 

 

I want to share what I consider the ideal camp counselor. If you are a parent reading this I hope by sharing this you will have food for thought and be inspired to make inquiries at a camp that you are considering sending your child to. I also suggest you have a look at Picking the right camp for your child, a post that shares more insights on what to look for in a summer camp.

 

If you are a recruitment manager for a summer camp I hope this post helps you set the bar very high in your selection process. If you are an individual looking into employment possibilities I hope this post helps you understand the expectations of a recruitment manager hiring for summer camp.

 

  1. The ideal summer camp counselor is 100% focused on the camper. He/she is someone who will invest in the lives of the kids at camp. Invest in their happiness, invest in their safety, invest in their well being and emotional adjustments.
  2.  The ideal camp counselor does not see this as a job but as a calling- working with children is not just a paycheck at the end of the week. A calling with Bonuses, the Bonus to meet friend, the Bonus to actually enjoy the activities you are doing.
  3. The ideal camp counselor shows maturity and responsibility. This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it is very important. Caring for children a heavy burden. You are the one who needs to maintain the safety of your campers at all times. How do you determine that in someone you are hiring for a seasonal job? You use your instincts and look for maturity markers that are a reflection the camp values.
  4. The ideal camp counselor is  Hard working. NO ONE CAN work at camp and be lazy. There just isn’t time for it. Unlike other jobs, this one has you running from time the sun rises until it sets (and even after that). When you choose to slack, your campers receive a second rate experience, and that just isn’t fair to them. The best counselors give every activity and every moment their all.

 

The ideal camp counselor checklist

The candidate needs to be able to express the following in an interview:

  • Creativity.
  • Experienced with kids 
  • Initiative
  • A love for children and youth 
  • Empathy
  • Attentiveness
  • Flexibility
  • Kindness
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism
  • Silliness

 

With all this said, there is no magic formula in choosing summer camp staff. Your success rate comes in coming to the process with high standards.

 

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