Summer camp counselors teach and lead campers, usually children and teenagers, in recreational activities such as hiking and swimming, as well as supervise daily life at the camp. Camp counselor positions are ideal for college students seeking hands-on, resume-boosting experience working with children and nature, according to the American Camp Association.
Summer camp counselors work directly with children in residential or day camps. They may organize and supervise general activities or specialize in teaching campers topics such as tennis, boating, archery or music. Counselors are also responsible for ensuring campers’ well-being and enforcing camp rules.
Candidates for entry-level summer camp counselor jobs are often young adults who attended camp as children and are familiar with the camp experience. Formal training is not typically necessary, although further education in recreation or leisure studies and prior experience as a camp counselor may lead to advancement in the camp career field. Maturity, responsibility and the ability to interact well with children and young adults are important traits for a camp counselor.
Summer camp counselor jobs are seasonal and hours are often irregular, including nights and weekends on a part-time basis, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Counselors spend most of their time outdoors and may encounter a variety of weather conditions.
Pay for summer camp counselors is generally lower than in other career fields, but the nature of the work and the chance to gain hands-on experience working with children attract many candidates. The median hourly wage in 2013 was $12.29, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Employment opportunities for camp counselors should remain strong through 2018, projects the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The need to replace departing seasonal workers and increasing demand for recreational services for children will help fuel job growth.