Preparing for summer camp interview

Arranging to speak with a Camp Director is so exciting but can be quite daunting too.  It’s a big deal for you, but it’s also a big deal for the camp too.  They are trusted by the parents to find staff they can rely on to provide the BEST care possible for their children so a good Camp Director will do a thorough job of talking to all potential candidates to be sure they are hiring the right people for them.

Most camps prefer to keep conversations as relaxed as possible so they get to know the true you and not the “interview-perfect” version of yourself.  Be reassured that camp staff are known for being friendly and approachable and they will be looking for you to display these qualities as well.

Here are some top tips for preparing for your interview:

  1. You have probably already visited the camp website but if you haven’t, now is definitely the time to do so. Get familiar with the location and general set-up of the camp and consider where you might fit best.  Watch some videos and try to imagine yourself working there – if there is something you particular like about what you read/see, be ready to tell the Camp Director as it will show them you have researched their camp carefully which indicates a real motivation to work at there.
  2. Ask yourself what aspects of camp life you are willing to be flexible on – for example is job role important to you or would you be happy doing any job at the camp? Is the age of the kids you are responsible for important? The camp may ask you questions like this and whilst it is tempting to aim to please by saying you would be happy with anything they can offer, if you know in your heart you really want things a certain way then be clear about it or you could end up unhappy in your job.
  3. Assess your motivation for going to camp and be prepared to answer questions on this. We all know that the opportunity to travel and spend a summer having fun outdoors is appealing but is that really the only reason you are applying?  We hope not.  You may be looking to increase your childcare experience, learn about different cultures, gain new skills or build confidence teaching – whatever your reasons, the camp will be keen to know what drives you to commit to this summer.
  4. It is very difficult to come up with examples when you are put on the spot in a job interview so spend some time thinking back through your previous work, education and recreation activities and try to find a few clear examples of when you have shown leadership skills, needed to work as a team, been a role model or acted under pressure. These are the main areas a camp will be looking for concrete evidence to support your application.
  5. Lastly, practice saying ‘hi great to meet you’ (or other similar greeting!) with a super welcoming smile on your face. Those first few moments after you are first connected with a camp often tell the camp everything they need to know.  All staff receive training so inexperienced staff can be hired safe in the knowledge they display a strong work ethic and desire to learn, but even the most qualified and experienced person will not find a camp job if they do not give off a happy and positive first impression.

If you have any further questions or concerns get in touch, we are always happy to help!  Good luck, you will be amazing!

An immense application for an immense opportunity

Applying for a job at Camp Augusta in the words of Ross Burton who worked there for two summers

“Camp Augusta has a rather unique application process; in terms of job applications it’s quite the monster! Not only does it take many hours of forms, personality tests, soul searching questions, and Skype interviews, but at times it was a personal challenge as well. To give an example the first question was “Who are you?”; I wrote about 500 words, I later learned that this was a little under the average for successful applications!

So is it worth it? 110% yes! You won’t find another summer camp experience that compares.

lake vera

Camp Augusta is situated in northern California within some of the most beautiful woodland and forest I have ever seen; it is wonderfully unspoilt and the wildlife is genuinely impressive, everything from skunks to mountain lions and from deer to bears. The camp sits on Lake Vera which provides the camp with a wonderful water-sports program. I had the opportunity to sleep under the stars in the fresh night air away from any city lights – the sounds and smells of nature is something sorely lacking from my life in the “real” world.

Staff put their heart and soul into getting a job at this camp but this effort is rewarded as Camp Augusta puts its heart and soul into its staff.   Staff training at Augusta is something special; at 3-4 weeks it is the longest training of any summer camp in the states. We learnt numerous skills in empathy, conflict management, psychology, education, one-to-one support, and communication. But also many simple fun games, and of course the skills sessions that we would be teaching over the summer.

Many staff members come to Augusta with skills ready to teach, and many come in with no prior experience in anything at camp apart from an enthusiasm to learn. In the course of training I learnt how to sword fight, shoot a crossbow, throw a bola, launch a slingshot, and make a friendship bracelet.

So, my final advice; take the plunge and try it out!  There are so many different camps out there but if you can relate to the philosophy at Augusta – and you will know within minutes of visiting their website if you can – then look at this immense application as an immense opportunity.  If you succeed you will lucky enough to have an experience that will change your life and training to take forward in all you do in the future.”

Ross Burton was once a physics teacher in secondary schools. Having quit his job to go to America for the summer he has returned to pursue a life of self-employment. He now tutors secondary school pupils in science, hosts science themed children’s parties, and occasionally appears as a T.V. extra. But mostly he is a professional circus performer; under the name Alexander Rossi he performs and teaches circus skills with specialisations in juggling, staff spinning, diabolo, fire, and magic.