Tuesday, 24 December 2013

My American Summer '13 | Applying

Working at a summer camp has always been on my bucket-list. It all seemed a bit bewildering every time I looked into it, but this summer in 2013 I finally went for it. 

Here i've broken it down and explained how I went through the process.

Choosing the agency:

Choosing an agency to go with is the first step to the summer of a lifetime! There are many different companies you can go with and here is a break down of what some of these have to offer:

My personal choice was Americamp

What you get:

  • Comprehensive medical insurance
  • 9 weeks food and accommodation (provided by your summer camp)
  • Counsellor pocket money of up to $1,845

What you pay with Americamp:

  • Americamp fees of £199
  • Third party fees: Police check - £44, US Embassy fees - £130.
  • TOTAL: £373

(This fee excludes your flight fare and any regional airport supplements. It also excludes GP's examination fees (medical) and your travel to and from the US Embassy. You may also want baggage / travel insurance. Check with the agency to see what you are covered for.) 

(*note: these prices are at time of blog post)

Extra Benefits:

  • Skype interviews if necessary
  • Visited in camp by experienced Americamp team members
  • 24 hour emergency hotline in the US, plus Facebook and Twitter support
  • 30 days travel after camp with itinerary assistance
  • 10% discount with Trek America
  • UK-based preparation and orientation days before going to your American summer camp placement
  • Flight deals through STA travel


The sign up process with Americamp is easy and simple. You make an account, fill in your details and in no time someone from the Americamp team will be in touch and the interview process is less scary than it may seem! 
You can have a choice of meeting a representative or arranging a Skype interview. I opted for the Skype option and had a lovely guy named Mikey. The interview is informal and quite oddly, fun! 

You can have two options to be hired by a camp in America. One: make a video showcasing your talents and personality or two: you can head along to one of the recruitment day fairs (details of those will be given to you closer to the time).

I went along to a recruitment fair in Leeds (they have them dotted around the country) where I was greeted
(Americamp, 2012 - Taken from their facebook)

with tables of camp representatives. If you go for this option, Americamp will let you know what to bring (document wise). The fair was very popular, so I advise you get there early. Each camp has their own set-up and signs saying what they are recruiting for (volleyball, archery, mountain biking etc.). My advice is to do your research on the camps before you go so you have an idea of the ones you want to go see! Be prepared to wait in a queue for a very long time. The camp directors have to give a short interview to each and every person before deciding to hire them! I was at the fair for a good few hours but only managed to see 3 camps. The recruiters have a small talk with you and decide if they want to hire you on the spot. Don't be disheartened if you get turned down. You will get hired!

If you don't get hired at the fair, you can make a video and upload it to Youtube for the camps to see.

(*note: there are hundreds of camps which can't be at the recruitment fair so if you make a video you'll get a wider option!)

I got hired at the recruitment fair as a lifeguard for Camp Chipinaw in New York. 

In many camps as long as you are a strong swimmer they will hire you without a lifeguard qualification as they will train you when you get to their camp to the American Red Cross. 

I had the best summer ever and met so many new people from all around the world, but keep in mind you shouldn't be expecting a holiday as it is a lot of hard work looking after the children. Adjusting to camp life can be tough as its early mornings and sometimes late nights. Its a non-stop activity adventure! Be prepared to get stuck in and don't seclude yourself. You're there to enjoy it!

I hope this post has given you a few things to think about but don't over think things! The process if very simple and you will not regret it! If you're scared to travel on your own, don't be. Originally myself and my best friend applied together but got accepted at the fair with different camps. Even though we wanted to be together, because of our skills and what they were hiring we knew that couldn't be. I was nervous to go alone but you meet so many people in the same position as you and you will make friends in no time. Many people who work in camps in America go there on their own but leave with tons of friends and memories and you can also have the opportunity to travel with these new friends after camp to amazing places! 

Whichever agency you choose to go with, working in an American summer camp is a highly rewarding experience for both students and graduates that you are sure to enjoy.

Camp Chipinaw/Silver lake lifeguards 2013

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