Application process and requirements
You should be 18 or older and proficient in spoken English. You should be interested in working with children from the ages of 7-15 and have already gained experience in caring for children (for example as an aupair, teacher or trainer). Maybe you have specialized skills (such as team sports, water sports, arts & crafts, etc . You should be able to provide a local enhanced background check. You are available to work in the camp for 2,5 months starting in June.
You can apply anytime for the next season. Camps will start hiring counselors as early as June/July for the next year. We should have received your application the latest though in mid April of the program year.
You may apply for this program with us if you don't have EU citizenship, but permanent residence in the EU.
Most camps last 8 to 10 weeks, plus a one week orientation for you before the camp. Certain specialists, i.e. lifeguards may even be asked to arrive one week before the general orientation week for specific training.
You will be expected to remain at the camp until your contract has been completed. The nine to twelve weeks usually start in June. The latest possible program end date is August 31. You can stay one month longer in the US to travel once your program is over.
If you are interested in the CampCareUSA program, please send us an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will discuss the next steps with you!
You will usually live directly at your camp. If you work in a day camp accommodation will be provided at or close to the camp. The Camp Counselor program includes housing and food.
Yes, but CampCareUSA needs to approve the camp and make sure the camp is eligible for the program and complies with the DOS- J-1 visa regulations. You will need to provide the same documentation to us as for the Placement Service.
This means that you have found a camp yourself wishing to hire you as a Camp Counselor. CampCareUSA still needs to approve your camp. We will assist you with our J-1 visa service and make sure that your application with the camp you found complies with the J-1 visa regulations.
Intrax will attempt to place you in a Camp that meets your skills and personality the best. Usually, the Camps choose an applicant based on the application and skills. Often, they want to conduct a webcam interview before offering a placement. You should be flexible as to the location and type of camp. Camps are usually located in beautiful landscapes. As long as you love children and nature, you will be happy with the site of your stay, we are sure!
Camps are located all over the United States in both rural and city settings, the majority in the Northeast and Midwest. Camps run as either overnight programs or day programs and offer a variety of different experiences.
You will find the following types of camps: private camps (privately owned and run by individuals or families), non-Profit Camps (owned and run by non-profit organizations and their oversight board), special needs camps (camps dedicated to children and adults with disabilities), themed Camps (camps specialized in a particular sport or activity), religious Camps (camps with a religious philosophy or specific focus on one particular religion), day Camps (open only during daytime hours and campers go home at night).
There is no guarantee that you get placed. However, camps usually have a high demand for camp counselors and look forward to welcoming helpers from all over the world. The sooner you apply for the program the better are your chances to get placed. If you have skills that are especially popular (tennis, golf, swimming, sailing, windsurfing, lifeguard, climbing, high ropes course, zip line, horseback riding, archery, photography, ceramics, jewelry making, woodworking, performing arts, acting, dance, gymnastics) - camps will surely find your application especially attractive. There is a certain point at which camps will stop their recruiting efforts because they have hired all of their counselors for the summer.
It is possible that you can be placed together with a friend as long as you both meet the skills needed and the camp’s demands (this also includes the program start). You can indicate on your application with whom you prefer to get matched. Please understand that we cannot guarantee that a camp will want to hire both of you, but we’ll try our best!
There are two main types of positions that camps seek to fill: general or specialist counselor.
General Counselors act as the main caregiver for a group of children. Their duties will include staying with the children at night in the cabin (although generally in a separate room), taking them to their different activities, and being the primary support system for their group of campers. In camps that last eight weeks, they will likely be with the same group of kids. In camps that run multiple sessions, they will be assigned a different group of campers at the start of each session.
Specialist Counselors’ roles entail teaching the campers a special skill or activity. To be a specialist counselor, you should be proficient in the various elements of a skill and be confident to teach it to the campers. Campers rotate from activity to activity throughout the day and Specialist Staff will remain at their activity station during those times to receive each group of campers. Here is a list of skills camps seek.
But the key is to be flexible. Some camps will ask specialist counselors to also take care of some general counselor tasks. Camp Counselors will only get assigned tasks related to taking care of children, not support work for the camp itself, thus no maintenance, no kitchen duty, no housekeeping etc.
During your stay at the camp, you will receive pocket money. The amount of pocket money you will receive depends on your age and whether or not you have booked the included flight option. What you will earn ranges between $1.050 & $1.750.
Placements: There will be a fee split into the application fee which is due after we have received your online application and after we have done a pre-screen interview via skype. The remaining fee will be due after you have been placed.
Self-Placements: The program fee will be due after we have received your full application and after we have done a skype interview.
The fees include:
- Camp placement in the USA (if opted for placement)
- DS-2019 form for applying for the J1 Camp Counselor Visa
- $35 SEVIS fee included
- Insurance with benefits according to J1 visa regulations
- Detailed travel-to-camp instructions
- Housing and Food while at camp
- Preparation for visa application, including guidelines
- Program consultation and pre-departure information
- On-line application and resource portal
- 24-hour emergency phone number in the USA
- Certificate upon successful completion of the programme
- If opted for, Round-trip flights from home country to airport closest to camp (Only available from
- selected locations).
Your program fees with Intrax include travel medical insurance which meets the department of state requirements for the J1 visa program. Insurance coverage begins on arrival and covers you until the last day at camp/last day stated on your DS-2019 form. You may also purchase additional insurance if you plan to stay in the USA for the 30-day grace period after your internship.
Please note that our insurance does not cover any pre-existing conditions. If you have such conditions, you should strongly consider taking out additional insurance for the duration of your stay in the USA.
You will typically work from 8h to 17h, but as you will still be generally always with the kids, it is not possible to set specific schedules. Time off is different for each camps but you will generally get a night off each week and a day every two weeks. It may be more, but this changes per camps and more will be learned on this topic during your orientation.
Documents and interview at the embassy
The following documents will be needed for your application:
• personal References (minimum two, and cannot be from family members);
• Certificates of childcare experiences (plus translations)
• enhanced Criminal Background Check: to include clearance of criminal acts and child protection certificate (this can be submitted later in the process);
• Medical History signed by a doctor(this can be submitted later in the process);
• Valid passport.
CampCareUSA has a network of qualified and fully trained representatives in different areas of Europe. You will meet up with one of our representatives for a personal interview once the first and second part of the application have been completed. The interview will be an opportunity to chat about your experience with children and why you are applying for the CampCareUSA program in the US.
SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This is an online database of the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. It serves for the tracking & monitoring of all exchange visitors, e.g. regarding the current location and the program data. The fee for SEVIS is $35 per person. It is included with Intrax in the program costs. Intrax will register you in the database as soon as your DS-2019 is issued.
Pre-departure and arrival information
If you did not select the program with included flight option, then yes, you will have to book your flight yourself. If you have chosen the option with the round-trip flights, CampCareUSA will book the flight for you from your home country to the closest airport to your camp. (This option is only available for selected locations, please contact us if you are unsure whether your location is eligible for the flight option).
My Camp Counselor J1 Visa
You will receive a one week orientation before the official start date of the Camp. This orientation is not meant to train you on any new specialized skills, but rather on how the camp works and what your tasks will be. This orientation will cover everything from camp rules, to child protection laws, to schedules and general expectations through team building exercises.
You can apply for a new J1 Work & Travel or Camp Counselor program every year as long as you meet the requirements. If you are unsure of your visa eligibility, you can of course contact us via email at email@example.com attaching your CV to your email.
It is possible to lose your job, but this is not dependent on CampCareUSA. We cannot control employment decisions made by your camp. If any placement-related difficulties arise while you are in the USA, you have to contact CampCareUSA immediately. If you are dismissed from your job, your visa status is cancelled and will therefore have to leave the United-States immediately. Failure to do so may result in problems with immigration and customs.
Yes, your visa allows you to stay up to an additional month in the United States after you have finished your Camp Counselor program. At this time, you are free to travel anywhere in the U.S. For more information on this, refer to the question on the grace period.
Are you ready?
Find out even more about the program, check out the requirements and costs of our Camp USA program!