Obtaining a job as a camp counselor is one of the best ways to experience the US and build an impressive resume.  It’s ideal for teachers and coaches interested in summer employment or students who are pursuing degrees in teaching, counseling, coaching, physical therapy, athletic training, sports psychology, etc. or who simply love working with youth and want a summer job that feels like play.  Camp Counselors interact directly with groups of American youth, overseeing camp activities and ensuring the general welfare of the campers throughout the summer. Through the Camp Counselor program, American staff and campers have the chance to experience foreign cultures, while foreign participants increase their knowledge of American culture. For those who enjoy working with youth it is a wonderfully rewarding experience that provides invaluable insight and practice in working with youth through leadership roles. Camp counselors require a J1 Camp Counselor Exchange Visitor Visa.

As a counselor, participants work with campers ranging from 7-16 years old.  Participants have the responsibility of being a friend, a leader and a positive role model regardless of the type of counseling position accepted.  With the right personality and positive attitude, it is a lot of fun!  Counselors eat meals with the campers, entertainment them, sing with them, laugh with them, and even cry with them (on the final day of camp!).  It is hard work though and can be physically and emotionally draining at times.  While there is support from co-counselors and other staff, counselors must LIKE working with children (or the disabled depending on the camp) to have a successful experience.

CampStaffUSA is the best site to assist interested participants in connecting with summer camp employers.


  • General Counselors are invaluable staff members who spend their whole day with one group of campers. They are role models who assist and motivate campers whether they are trying to learn a new skill or they have concerns about an issue or idea. Throughout the day general counselors monitor and participate in the group’s activities and do everything in their power to make each of their campers’ summer the most memorable yet. General counselors must be fun-loving, patient and genuinely concerned for the welfare and development of young people.
  • Activity Counselors are hired both on their merit in a specific teaching area and their experience or desire to work with children.  Most activity counselors will either lead or assist in a particular activity during scheduled instructional periods during the day and will live and work with a designated group of children during the rest of the day and in the evenings.
  • Activity Specialists are individuals who are hired for their abilities and experience in leading particular areas of interest in the camp’s instructional offerings.


  • Free housing and meals
  • Beautiful rural locations
  • Camp activities and fun vary by camp but can include kayaking, canoeing, ropes, climbing wall, sports, etc
  • Meet staff from the US and around the world!
  • Earn college credits
  • Contracts average 9-12 weeks with ample time to travel!
  • Build an impressive resume

Qualifications: Applicants for Counselors must

  • Be a mature adult over the age 18.
  • Possess strong English language skills
  • Be willing to work long hours with kids and some prior experience
  • Possess two or more camp related skills that they can teach or assist in teaching to kids at camp – the stronger the skills and application, the better the chance of a placement at camp
  • Be open minded, energetic, flexible & prepared to work long hours!
  • Have no criminal record
  • Have sufficient funds to pay for program fees, flights and all additional costs
  • Be independent and self-motivated. Counselors are required to be pro-active in the application process, to research employment position, location and travels fully.

It is important for students to understand that although camps offer a unique experience in beautiful locations and opportunities for outdoor fun,  living and working in a new country will be challenging at times and is a learning and life experience, not simply a holiday.