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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the Camp Counselors USA program?  We have answers!  

Most of the common questions we get regarding the program are answered below.  Browse through the list of the questions in the categories below.  Of course, if your question hasn't been answered, don't hesitate to contact your nearest office.

ELIGIBILITY QUESTIONS

Students and non-Students are eligible for Camp Counselors USA. Any nationality can apply to the program. There are some visa restrictions for people applying in a country other than their home country. Contact your local CCUSA office for details. The age range for the program is 18-30. If you are older than 30, please check with your local CCUSA office before applying.

It is a U.S. J-1 visa requirement that anyone issued with this cultural exchange visa be over 18 by June 1st. If you don’t turn 18 until after June 1, CCUSA will welcome your application next season!
When at camp, it's important that you can communicate effectively using English with young children and other camp staff. Every interview will be conducted in English, during which time we will review your English speaking and comprehension ability. You must also be able to speak English over the phone at a normal speed. We ask all applicants to complete their application form in English.
Unfortunately, the latest departure date we can accept is June 22nd. We are unable to place staff at camps after this date. By mid-July, some camps are halfway through their session. An alternative program that may interest you is CCUSA’s Camp Counselors Russia Program, which has a more flexible departure schedule.
No, unfortunately CCUSA must put forward applicants who can commit for an entire nine weeks. However, CCUSA’s Camp Counselors Russia Program does run a 4-week program.

APPLICATION QUESTIONS

There are many types of jobs that you can be placed in: General Counselors, Specialists / Activity Counselors, Lifeguards and Support Staff (who work in the camp office, kitchen, housekeeping or maintenance). Rest assured there is a position that is perfect for you - check out the “Being a Counselor” and “Being a Support Staff” pages for more details.
You need to have some experience if you want to be a Camp Counselor. Experience can include teaching, day care, coaching, babysitting and taking care of younger cousins or siblings for an extended amount of time.
While it is preferable to have a specialist skill in a particular activity, this is not a requirement of the program. In the CCUSA brochure, you will find a list of over 50 activities. If you can assist in a few of these areas, then you may be placed as a General Counselor. General Counselors attend most activities with campers and normally assist Specialists in running their activities.
ABSOLUTELY!! CCUSA camps are always on the lookout for riding instructors and tennis coaches, as well as all the other activities listed in our brochure. With most activities, qualifications are helpful but not essential. Don't underestimate your personal experiences. Remember, these are American children you are teaching - not experts. Practical experience working with groups of children is what we’re looking for, however, qualifications are a bonus!
CCUSA carefully matches your skills and interests to a camp that will suit you. Remember, you have time after camp to travel and sightsee. Use that time to visit the particular state, area or relative of your choice. If you're worried about being at camp on your own, don't be - you'll make more than enough friends once camp starts! If you still have an interest in working in a camp in a particular area/state, please attend one of our "Camp Counselor Job Fairs". There you will have the opportunity to meet with Camp Directors and may receive an offer from a camp in that area or state. Details of "Camp Counselor Job Fairs" can be found on the Local Information area of our website.
It is very difficult for us to place friends together at the same camp, and it most likely will not be possible. Consider the possibility of going to different camps and meeting up afterwards to travel together. Alternatively, if you are a student, consider the Work Experience USA program – independent option. Often Camp Directors are unwilling to accept joint applications. This can be for a number of reasons. Sometimes people who already know each other integrate less with a group or camps may be worried that if one person doesn't enjoy the job or is homesick both will leave. It may simply be that there is only one space available. CCUSA wants to ensure you both have 'perfect placements'. If you wish to be considered for placement with a friend, be sure to apply early and submit your application forms at the same time.
As a rule of thumb, the earlier you apply, the earlier you get placed. Do not wait until the Application Deadline to apply. APPLY NOW!
Camps can start anytime from May 1st to June 30th. Your departure for camp will depend on your travel availability and your camp contract dates. However, it's worth bearing in mind that the earlier you send in your application, the easier it is to place you. So, as soon as you make up your mind to go to camp - GO FOR IT!
If you don't know your exam timetable or college end date, please indicate the earliest date you are certain you will be available to leave. If you become available earlier, make sure and let us know so we can adjust your application. Remember the earlier your availability date, the more camps we can send your application to and the better our chances of finding you the perfect placement. If you are applying as Support Staff, your visa dates will be based on your official university break dates.
Counselors need to have three and Support Staff need two. Your selected referees will need to complete the CCUSA Reference Questionnaire. References should be from a person who has known you in a professional capacity for more than 6 months. This could be a teacher, sports coach, employer, etc. CCUSA CANNOT accept references from family members or friends! All references must be in English.
Yes, please follow the normal application procedure and include a letter of invitation or an email from the camp that is offering you a position. You must make sure your camp is currently an active camp with CCUSA. If not, please have your Camp Director call our head office in the U.S. at 1-800-999-2267. If or when your camp becomes active, we'll make sure the camp receives your completed application form so they can hire you. As your visa sponsor, CCUSA is required to thoroughly screen all applicants, even if they have a job already arranged.
Yes, CCUSA has many regional coordinators around your country who can talk to you about the program. These are people from your area who have worked at camps in the USA. We also hold CCUSA presentations in countries around the world from September to April each year. These presentations provide information about working at camp, travel, your visa, flights, insurance, etc. Details about when and where we will be visiting your area are available on your country’s website. The presentations last approximately one to two hours and while optional, we strongly recommend you attend one. If you’re unsure about what is involved, or if you just want to find out more before applying, feel free to attend! By bringing a completed application form, you might even be able to organize an interview time following the presentation.
CCUSA has a number of interviewers who are based in different parts of your country, so it's likely we can interview you close to home. Contact your local CCUSA office for more details.
Due to the nature of the program, there are some medical conditions that may exclude participation. CCUSA has many years of experience sending young people to summer camps. During this time, we have developed considerable expertise in determining which medical conditions are appropriate for the camp environment and which are not. At all times, we seek to put the health and welfare of our participants and the children in their care first. We will always try to be fair and judge each application on a case-by-case basis, but there are some medical conditions which can be made much worse through the excitement and environment of summer camps. There are also other conditions which are regarded more seriously in the U.S. than in other countries and for which it is consequently impossible for us to obtain insurance coverage. CCUSA's insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. You will be asked to complete a medical disclosure form detailing your condition, and you will be required to have a special letter completed by your doctor. Our US Office will then review all this information. Please be aware that anyone who is dishonest on their forms will be cancelled from the program, with no refund of fees. If it is a pre-existing condition, you will also be required to purchase, at your own expense, insurance coverage that covers your condition. For further information and questions, please contact your local CCUSA office.

PROGRAM QUESTIONS

Program costs are kept low because CCUSA realizes that money can be tight. Since CCUSA has offices in over 50 countries, the Fees and Pocket Money do vary. However, in all countries CCUSA offers the best value for anyone wishing to work at an American summer camp. Every participant will be paid Pocket Money, although again, the amount varies depending upon your home country and age. Make sure you check out the "What you Pay"and "What you Get" pages on this website to access Program Fees and Pocket Money.
Smoking and drinking alcohol are both greatly discouraged, and each camp will have their own policy on these issues. You will not be allowed to drink at camp or on camp property. Please remember that if you break these rules, you may be fired. NOTE: The drinking age throughout the United States is 21!
Camps have, on average, one day off a week as well as a period off during the day and one or two evenings off a week. Summer camps organize time off independently, so your days and evenings off will be at their discretion.
CCUSA will strive to secure you a placement as soon as possible. The more flexible you are about your Camp Type choices and your dates of availability, the better your chance for a quick placement. CCUSA starts placing people in October for the following year. However, it does take time to ensure a "perfect placement" is found for you. CCUSA will not place you just anywhere. REMEMBER THE EARLIER YOU APPLY, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCE FOR AN EARLY PLACEMENT.
All placements are final. CCUSA only works with the best camps and takes great care to place you at a camp that matches your selected camp types. If you are unhappy with your placement, please contact your local office to discuss your options. It is very important to us that you be happy with your camp placement. 
No, CCUSA will provide you with a list of other people from around the world who are placed at your camp… this list most likely will include other people from your home country. Many countries also do group CCUSA flights, so it is easy to meet people on the way to camp. You won't be alone for long! Once you get to camp, you will meet other internationals who also traveled by themselves. Remember, it's often easier to make new friends if you are not with a group from home. Plus, Americans are incredibly friendly!
CCUSA provides the participant with an excellent travel insurance policy that doesn’t require a co-pay (meaning that in the event you make a claim, there will generally be no immediate payments required at the time of service – if there is a payment required, you will be reimbursed by the insurance company, provided the treatment is covered by the policy.) . Remember to fill out your insurance claim form at the time of the incident.
The US Government issues the J-1 cultural exchange visa to CCUSA participants. This is not a general work permit! Counselors may only work at other summer camps in a Counselor position after the successful completion of their original camp contract - no other employment is possible. Support Staff who successfully complete their original camp contracts can work in other jobs within their original visa dates – please contact your country office for more information. The J-1 visa is only valid to a maximum of 4 months, based upon your personal criteria.

RETURNING TO CAMP QUESTIONS

You can apply online at any time. However, to complete your Returnee application process, you will need to include a contract or an invitation letter/email from your camp. Please keep in mind that for some countries we cannot accept returnee applications after April 1 (check with your local office for confirmation). Remember, if you filled in your application with CCUSA in a previous year and attended camp, your application is still accessible through our Application Centre. Simply log in with your same user ID and password and follow the directions. It is quick and easy.
Absolutely!! Every year, many people who have been to camp through other organizations return to camp with CCUSA. All you need to do is complete a short Returnee application and submit it with your invitation letter/email or contract from your camp. Please contact your country office to ensure that your camp is currently an active camp with CCUSA.