Do you enjoy working with children and being surrounded by nature? Have you always dreamt of living abroad and improving your English? If so, working as a counselor at an American or Canadian summer camp could be the adventure of a lifetime. Read on to discover ten great reasons why you should consider spending your summer as a camp counselor in the United States or Canada!
1. Live in a foreign country
Among the most enriching experiences you can get from living in a different country is immersing yourself in the local culture, meeting new people, and discovering new places through travel.
Not only will working as a camp counselor take you to breath-taking locations, but it will also enable you to work with people coming from various cultural backgrounds. By the end of camp, you will find step out of your comfort zone and grow into a much more open-minded and understanding person.
2. Get professional experience
A summer camp job will look great on your resume, especially if you are interested in continuing your career as a teacher or educator. It will help you understand working habits and give you an idea of the atmosphere at an international working place. The list of professional benefits being a camp counselor is longer than that. For example, a continually changing environment such as a camp will teach you to develop soft skills needed in any company today.
The organization, planning of activities, and understanding for the campers you work with, camp counselor duties will surely prepare you for whatever challenges your future career brings.
3. Get paid to do what you love
While you will be responsible for paying the program fees and the flight to your destination, working as a camp counselor will give you a salary of around $1300-$1850. The additional benefit of working at a camp is that you won’t have to worry about accommodation or meal costs. Some camps in the USA and Canada offer individual accommodation. Still, often you will share with other councilors and get the opportunity to turn your coworkers into new friends on the way.
At the end of summer, you will have enough money in your pocket to head out and explore the vast expanses of the USA or Canada. This would be the perfect opportunity to know North America better, and maybe even consider coming back to study.
4. Travel after your work is done
Camp counselor duties are many, and it is a job that requires flexibility. That does not mean you won't have time to rest.
On your days off, you are free to get to know the area and cities around your camp. But the best thing is: after camp is done you will still have more than enough time to experience the country of your choosing truly. The working permit and visa you need to go to Canada or the USA allow you to travel for up to 30 days upon completion of your job. Make sure you pack accordingly!
5. Make new friends from around the world
The counselors from the country of your choosing (the US or Canada) will not be the only friends you get to make. Hundreds of counselors that travel from all over the world to get the same experience as you will make your social circle more interesting and diverse. They will be looking forward to meeting you and spending the best summer of their lives, just like you! It is the perfect opportunity to exchange experiences, stay in touch, and maybe even plan for a reunion after camp is over.
6. Polish up your English skills
It's important to know that to be able to work as a counselor, you need to have an upper-intermediate or advanced level of English.
In your everyday work around camp, you will rely heavily on your communication skills. While there are helpful tips for mastering a language, one of the best ways is to practice with native speakers. Practicing English with other counselors and campers who are native speakers will, for sure help you become less shy and significantly improve your English skills.
7. Teach what you like to do the most
Have you ever wished you could teach others a hobby or a craft that you care about? Photography, water sports, horseback riding, rock climbing, painting, you name it. A camp counselor has the freedom to engage the campers in various activities.
When the time to say goodbye comes, you will be able to feel proud of teaching campers and awakening interest in them for something new.
8. Be a role model
Being a camp counselor even throughout the summer is your chance to change a young person's life and make their time at camp a memory they gladly revisit.
Since the camp is the perfect and ideal place for the children that want to make the most out of their summer, they will see you as a leader and a reference point.
This means you will be the first person they come to for help and guidance.
You'll be a role model for your campers, and make sure they're well looked after. From waking the campers up in the morning to tucking them in at night, you'll keep camp rolling along smoothly.
9. Spend time in the great outdoors
Both Canada and The USA are large and geographically diverse places. While it is true that the cities in both counties offer adventure and entertainment, North American nature is just as impressive.
During your stay, you will get to experience untouched wilderness and enjoy being surrounded by forests, valleys, rivers, and mountains. From the glacial lakes at Banff National Park in Canada to Yellowstone Park in the US, you will never lack for awe-inspiring landscapes.
10. Experience sleepaway camp - the real, North American way
Ever seen Camp Rock? Being away at camp is 100% like the movies. You’ll sing, dance, make new friends, sleep in cabins, make s’mores, tell campfire stories, play games…the list of fun-filled activities is virtually endless. Sound like a good time? Head out to the Land of the Free or the Great White North and find out what the hype around camping is all about!
About the authors:
Patricia Luis Hernández (journalist and Spanish philologist graduated from the University of La Laguna) has lived in the United States for a year and has worked in different regional media. She is currently the social networking officer for Travelingua and a consultant for the Work and Travel program.
Virginia Coy (graduate in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Alicante). She has worked in different camps and been a camp monitor in Canada. She is currently an advisor and coordinator for the camp monitor program in the US and Canada.