This week sees ‘How to Survive Summer Camp’s’ FIRST ever collaboration with summer
camp agency, USA Summer Camp. Personally, I think it might be up there with collabs such as Rihanna ft. Jay-Z’s ‘Umberella’ and Dizzee Rascal ft. Calvin’s ‘Dance Wiv Me’ (what a BANGER!). High expectations for the rest of the post, I know.
Although I recently began a summer camp blog, and have been going to camp for a couple of years now, I hadn’t really ever heard much about USA Summer Camp – or know of anyone who had been to camp with them before. When I was contacted by Becky, asking if I wanted to work together on a blog post, I jumped at the opportunity to find out more about them and what they had to say about camp. *
*Confession time, I have been SO busy recently that I haven’t had the time yet to complete my Summer Camp 2017 returner application yet – so my business is currently still up for grabs too!
Here’s what Becky had to say…
‘The company began in 2007 after one of our directors went to summer camp in America through a different agency for many years, and thought the application process could be drastically improved with more customer experience and a tailored recruitment process to match applicants with the perfect camps for them. The company formed in 2007, where we saw 65 participants go to camp. We now work with over 500+ camps across America, and have 3 regional offices in the UK – North in Newcastle, Central in Birmingham and South in Reading, and an office in Dublin Ireland, so that we can really offer a hands on and personal experience for all of our applicants, and we sent over 1,000 participants in 2014 – this number has grown and grown since then. Each of our staff members have been to camp themselves, so no matter who you speak to on the phone they are fully equipped to tell you the perfect advice on how to spend your summer at camp and has lots of great travel tips too based on their own experiences’.
1. There are a lot of summer camp agencies and I am unsure who I apply through as I am new to the summer camp game! Why should I choose USA Summer Camp?
Here at USA Summer Camp we truly pride ourselves on our customer services. With 21 office staff and 2 directors who have all been to camp, summer camp and the incredible experience you get from spending a summer in the States is at the heart of what we do, and everyone who picks up the phone, answers an email or replies to a tweet is genuinely so passionate about the camp experience and sharing that experience with others. We also have 80 National Support Team members all over the UK who have also been to camp, helping us interview and prep our participants for the best summer of their lives.
2. Are there any extra perks to choosing USA Summer Camp?
The extra perks to choosing USA Summer Camp are not only that we strive to match our participants with the perfect placement for them, and we offer 2 different payment options – with flight, or without flight, to help tailor to your needs. We also offer a direct debit payment option to pay your fees in manageable chunks – we will do whatever we can to make the process as seamless as possible for you. We have a range of exciting merchandise and run lots of different social media competitions for free t-shirts and other fun goodies! With our regional offices, we also offer more one on one time with our participants, guiding you through every step of the way.
3. What kind of people do you think are well suited to work at a summer camp?
We personally think that anyone who spends a summer at camp in America will come home having had the best 9-10 weeks of their lives, but summer camp is all about having fun, and most importantly, helping your children have fun. Whether you work at a day camp, a special needs camp, a sleepover camp or an underprivileged camp, the well-being and happiness of your campers is at the centre of everything we do, which means those who are naturally up for fun, excitement and jumping head-first into anything that’s thrown their way will truly love the camp experience. With opportunities to meet people from all over the world, camp is a family experience, and even the most nervous of counselors or those who are a little shy will be leading the chants in the dining hall by the end! Even if you’re not the most outgoing person or aren’t particularly confident, there will be a place for you with open arms at camp – and that’s why we would recommend the experience to absolutely anyone.
4. It is essential that I have experience working with children to apply to work at a summer camp?
Having some experience with children is necessary – but this need not be as official and professional as you might think. Babysitting or spending time with younger cousins and siblings, helping with homework or enjoying fun days out with them all counts hugely on your application. You might not think that babysitting is experience with children – but trust us, it’s the perfect experience for camp! Be honest and don’t sell yourself short – if you’ve enjoyed time helping or working with children then let us know on your application.
5. If I am returning to camp, what are you able to offer me that will make me want to choose to return with you?
If you’re returning to camp with us then
you’ll have reduced fees, you’ll be negotiating your salary with your camp directly and we’ll be here to guide you every step of the way. You’ll also have the opportunity to apply to be on our National Support Team, where you’ll be able to work part time for USA Summer Camp in your University or local area, helping us prep our participants for their summer at camp, drumming up interest on social media and being ambassadors for USA Summer Camp and the camp experience – you’ll basically be paid to talk about camp day in and day out, now what could be better than that?
6. How long does the whole application process to work at a summer camp take?
The application process can be as quick as you like it to be – we are happy to work to your needs. Once you’ve applied, we’ll give you a call the next working day and set up our initial phone interview. Once you’ve been accepted and paid your deposit, a member of our National Support Team will be in touch within 24 hours and then the quicker you complete your profile, the quicker your profile will be set to ‘Ready to Hire’ and all of our Camp Directors can start looking at your profile! We have a team in America who work tirelessly to match applicants with the perfect camps for them in the States, but we also have a series of Placement Fairs around the UK where you can meet our Camp Directors face to face and get hired on the spot. The earlier you sign up, the better chance you have of getting placed and the more time we have to match you with the perfect camp to secure the best summer ever.
7. Do you have any top tips for making my application stand out from the crowd and get me hired?
Top tips would include having a nice, smiley and professional profile picture – the picture is the first opportunity our Camp Directors get to assess you, so save the pouting and selfie style images for your Instagram and be sure you dazzle them with your smile! Really sell all of your opportunities, make sure you’re confident and discuss your skills at length. Do a showcase video – a video is such an excellent way to convey your personality – and it’s a great way for Camp Directors to get a feel of your personality before they get a chance to chat to you for an interview. This doesn’t need to be professional, but be sure to show who you are and what you’re passionate about – it makes all the difference, trust us! Try and be prompt when replying to Camp Directors – we appreciate the time difference, but showing you’re ready to commit and are dedicated will make you look even better.
8. What is the most successful way of getting hired? Would you recommend that I attend a recruitment fair/event?
The most successful way of being hired is having a complete profile, meeting all of your deadlines and showing off your skills or personality in a showcase video. We would always recommend our participants to attend a recruitment fair because it’s one of the only chances to meet a Director face to face and wow them with your personality – but also, you’ll have all of our staff on hand at the day to give you advice and personally match you with the right camps for your skills on the spot!
9. How would you support me through the application process, and when I get to camp?
Each of our regional offices is accessible by phone during working hours, by email and by
social media – which means we’re never difficult to get hold of. We also create unique and fun blog posts and have a website FULL of content to help get you prepared and ready for your summer at camp – this is updated weekly, so our website really acts as a guide to summer camp for you. As well as this, you’ll be receiving lots of calls from our friendly team every step of the way, and as much hands on support as you need. We have a 24/7 emergency line for when you’re in the States, and a team of USA Summer Camp staff in America ready and waiting to answer any question you have – no matter how big or small!
10. What are THREE things you wouldn’t be able to survive with at camp?
The three things we wouldn’t be able to survive without camp with are:
- Cadbury Chocolate – starting with the most important thing! Hershey’s chocolate is terrible – we always make sure to pack tons of Cadbury’s in the suitcase to keep our energy levels up, our homesickness at bay, and yummy chocolate also doubles up as a bribe for keeping your campers quiet! Plus, after running around all day after little ones you need a treat every now and then.
- A smartphone/digital camera. We can’t express enough how quickly those 9/10 weeks at camp go, so get snap happy and lap up every possible second of your summer. We offer 30+ days travel on the VISA after camp, so you’ll want to document your amazing travels with your new best friends too!
- Crocs! We never thought we would ever say this before camp, but Crocs are the bomb. They’re comfortable, practical, you can get them wet, you can pack them easy and you can wear them pretty much anywhere. We wouldn’t be seen dead in them in the UK, but at camp they’re a total must-have item.
11. Do you have ONE piece of essential advice for people thinking of applying to work at a summer camp in summer 2017?
The one piece of advice we would have is to just go for it. If you think camp sounds like fun, if you’d like an adventure for your summer, if you fancy a last hurrah before a full time job, if you’d love to explore your favourite hobby or activity more – go for it. Camp is the best day of your life on repeat for 9 weeks, and you’ll never really understand why camp-goers say they’re living 10 for 2 until you’ve been. Your camp friends become your family forever, you’ll have friends to visit with free places to stay all over the world and you’ll get to know yourself inside out like never before.
WOW!!!!!! There were so many things that I LOVED and didn’t know about USA Summer Camp, but my top three are:
- That ALL of their staff have worked at a summer camp! I think this is fantastic, as they know EXACTLY what you are going through, and how best to support you through the process. There is nothing worse than calling your agency to find out how many pairs of socks to pack, and the agent on the end of the phone having never experienced such a crisis!
- You can pay your fee’s in manageable chunks by Direct Debit. I have been with a couple of different agencies and I have never seen this option before! Normally agencies ask for payment in lump sums (and often around Christmas time before fee’s increase), so I think that it is FAB that USA Summer Camp offer this option.
- That Crocs are an essential item they could not live without. Keep calm and wear Crocs, my friends.
If you are wanting to know more, or want to apply through USA Summer Camp for summer 2017, you can access their website HERE!
You can also find them on: