Summer Camp USA FAQs
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When should I apply?
We recommend that you apply from now till March. Early application is essential as positions are competitive.
When is the latest I can apply?
At the moment, we do not have a set deadline. The application deadline is usually sometime in March. Apply as early as possible to increase your chances of being placed.
Do I need to be a student?
Nope! As long as you have recent experience (in the last 12 months) working with children.
Can I arrive later than mid-June?
Unfortunately our arrival dates are set between May 1st and June 15th. You must be available for a minimum of nine weeks, leaving for the U.S. no later than June 20th. Preference is given to applicants who are available at an earlier date and for longer periods of time. For the best chance of placement, applicants must be available to start work no later than June 20th.
I don't teach any of the activities listed, can I still go to Camp?
Of course! As well as looking for those with experience coaching one of the listed activities, camps are also looking to hire General Camp Counselors. As long as you enjoy and have experience working with kids, Camp Directors will want to hear from you. If you want to teach another sport, why not check out our Sports Coaching South Africa program?
Can I apply with a friend?
Unfortunately we do not accept joint applicants because it depends on your experiences and background as Camp Directors are looking for different skills, availability, genders, ages, and experiences when filling positions for their summer programs. Your online application is viewed individually on a database and camps are usually looking for something specific, so they cannot see who you are friends with. The best way to get placed together is attend our Summer Camp fairs together – where you will get to meet Camp Directors face-to-face and they will choose whether or not they are prepared to hire friends. Ideally if you both have similar skills/experiences a particular camp is looking for, you will have a better chance getting hired at the same camp.
Am I too old to apply?
We typically recruit applicants between the ages of 18-27 years old. However, we have placed many older candidates providing they can demonstrate relevant past experience working with children (tutoring, mentoring, coaching and volunteering). With this experience, you’ll be a strong candidate!
How does the interview process work?
After paying your £39 deposit, one of our team members will book you into an interview with our fabulous Camp Counselor Coaches round the country. At the interview you'll be asked about your skills and recent experience with children.
Why do I need to pay before my face-to-face interview?
Our Camp Counselor Coaches commit a lot of time and effort into interviewing our prospective camp counselors. We require payment before your interview to ensure we are meeting individuals that are committed to our program.
Who will be interviewing me at my face-to-face interview?
All of our Camp Counselor Coaches across the country have worked at a camp previously and know what being a camp counselor requires. As well as interviewing you on behalf of the camps in the US, they'll also be able to answer any questions you have about camp life!
Where are the interviews held?
After paying your £39 deposit, one of our team will give you a quick call to chat through your skills and experience with children. You will then have a face-to-face interview with a Camp Counselor Coach.
Why do I need a face-to-face interview?
We would like to know more about your skills, experiences, check out your personality and of course meet you! Plus, it's a great chance for you ask questions to someone who lives and breathes summer camp
Is it formal? What should I wear?
Our interviews are not formal, so smart casual clothing is absolutely fine! After all, camp involves face paint, life jackets and more face paint...
When will I hear back after my interview?
You will hear back from BUNAC in 2-3 working days of your interview on whether you have been successful or not either by email or a phone call. If you have been waiting longer, please give us a call on 0333 999 7516 and we will find out for you!
When do Camps start recruiting?
Most camps will start recruiting sometime in October/November.
When will I be placed?
The hiring season runs October/November until May at the latest. To ensure the best chance of placement - apply early! To be in the placement pool you must have submitted one reference and paid your second installment of £161.
Where will I be placed?
The majority of our camps are based on the East Coast but you could be placed anywhere in the beautiful U.S. of A! We have a placement team in America who propose your application to camps based on their needs and match you up depending on your skills and experiences. It all depends on your application!
Can you guarantee me a placement?
100% Job Placement Guarantee - we'll find you a Summer Camp USA job, or give you your money back!
Can I reject a placement?
You may reject a placement but please be aware that we would not be able to guarantee another placement for you. The placement team in the U.S would only place you at a camp based on the information you have provided on your application.
Can I choose my placement?
You won’t be able to choose your placement because you get placed based on your skills, childcare experiences and availability. Camps need applicants to be flexible and open as possible. On your application, you are able to select which camp types you ideally to work at but you must be aware you are not guaranteed to get placement at your ideal camp.
What is a J-1 visa?
A J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the United States to visitors participating in program that promote cultural exchange.
How long can I work for and where?
The J-1 visa allows you to work for up to 4 months between June and September at the Summer Camp where you have been contracted to work.
What is the process for getting a J-1 visa?
The US Government requires all applicants to attend an interview in person at a US Embassy. BUNAC's experienced team will guide you through this process.
Will my J-1 visa be issued on the day of my interview at the US embassy?
No. The US Embassy will hold onto your passport and this will be couriered back to you. You should assume they will have your passport for at least 2 weeks.
How much does the J-1 cost?
The visa and courier fee is $160 USD. There may also be an additional fee if you wish to have your passport couriered back to your home address, rather than a courier location that you would need to collect it from.
What support funds do I need?
You must travel to the USA with at least $800 in support funds and be prepared to show proof of this at immigration.
Who will be my visa sponsor?
BUNAC administers Summer Camp USA in conjunction with the US authorised visa sponsor, CIEE.
Where should I send my supporting documents?
Please scan and upload them onto your CIEE online application.
Who can provide a reference?
You will need two references to support your application. References must be from a professional or educational environment rather than a character reference and it must come from an employer, supervisor, manager, lecturer, coach or someone similar. References from friends, family members, babysitting and retired positions will not be accepted.
Please make sure your reference(s) meet the following criteria -
- Must come from someone who has known you for at least 6 months in the last year in a professional or educational capacity coming from your supervisor/teacher/lecturer
- Must be signed and dated within the last 12 months
- Must confirm the capacity in which they've known you and for how long
- Should discuss your personality and capabilities as well your suitability for working at a summer camp
- Referees must provide us full business contact details including address, email address and telephone numbers - matching the name of the organisation
Your referees must complete the reference form provided on your online BUNAC account.
Where do I find the reference form?
On the right hand side of your online BUNAC account, underneath the heading ‘Vital Information’ click on Reference Form and download the PDF reference document from there
What is a DS 160?
The DS 160 is an online Non-Immigrant visa application form for temporary travel to the U.S. The DS 160 form must be completed and submitted online before your Embassy appointment and the printed confirmation page must be brought to the interview.
What is a DS-2019?
This is your official certificate of eligibility to apply for a J-1 visa. Without a a DS-2019 you will be unable to apply for your J-1 visa. Once your J-1 visa is granted, an entry sticker will be printed inside your passport. You must keep your DS-2019 document with your passport at all times. One is not valid without the other.
What is SEVIS?
SEVIS is a state department system which tracks holders of J-1 visas while they are in America.
My DS-2019 hasn't got my middle name on it?
If you notice your middle name is missing on your DS-2019, please call the office as soon as possible on 0333 999 7516 so we can arrange to reprint your DS-2019. Please note there may be an additional fee for this.
Do I have to have a face-to-face appointment at the US embassy?
Yes. You are required to attend a face-to-face appointment at the U.S Embassy. You will not be granted a visa without this taking place.
How do I book an appointment at the US embassy?
You can only book an appointment once you have been placed. You will receive a visa pack by post from BUNAC and this will include a guideline booklet on how to book your appointment. You will also receive a guideline PDF file when we provide your tracking reference when we have sent your DS-2019 form to you.
I'm having issues uploading a photo on my DS 160 application form
You are able to submit your DS 160 without uploading a photo. You must bring American size (2 x 2 inches) visa photos with you to your Embassy appointment. Please do not bring photocopies or printed copies.
What documents do I bring with my to the Embassy?
- DS 160 confirmation page (printed portrait, not landscape)
- Confirmation of Embassy appointment and time (PDF from the US Embassy. This document has barcodes on it. Please ensure these are visible on the printout)
- Confirmation of visa fee payment (PDF/email from US Embassy)
- DS-2019 form
- SEVIS receipt (I-901 Form, posted to you with your DS-2019)
- Visa photos - must be visa size, different from previous visa photos or the photo in your passport and be taken in the last 6 months
- Proof of Intent to Return to UK – See below.
What is a Proof of Intent to Return letter?
This is really important to bring to your Embassy interview to show that you won't overstay your visa in America. You must provide the official document (no photocopies or photos) and you can show -
- A status letter from university confirming you will still be a student in the next academic year
- UCAS form
- Student Finances letter
- Employment contract
- Letter from your manager/supervisor confirming your position after camp
- Car, mortgage or rental agreement
I have a US passport, do I still need to apply for a visa?
If you have a US passport, you will not need to apply for the visa and you are not required to attend the Embassy Appointment in the UK.
Will my visa be issued on the day of my interview?
No. The U.S. Embassy will hold onto your passport and you will be able to pick this up from a designated collection office or pay an extra fee to get it directly couriered back to your chosen address. You should assume they will have your passport for at least 2 weeks.
How long will my visa appointment take?
It really varies on the day but it should take no longer then 30-45 minutes.
Can I go back to the same Camp?
Yes you can! Contact your Camp to secure your spot and give us a call on 0333 999 7516 and we will reactivate your application.
I've already been to camp, can I apply to a new camp?
Of course you can! Even though you are a Returner, you would be applying as a First Timer, so you would need to have a face-to-face interview with one of our interviewers and obtain two references to support your application. One of your references must come from your previous camp and your camp director must complete the reference form.
I am going back to the same camp, will I need a new reference?
If you are heading to the same camp, you still need two references. However you may use the same references uploaded the previous year and re-upload them to your application. If it has been more than two summers, you will need to obtain one new reference.
Will I need to apply for a new police check?
You will need to apply for a new police check even If you have a previous ICPC certificate from going to camp with BUNAC.
Will I need to complete a new medical form?
As a returner, you do still need to get a new medical form, and cannot re-use your previous years. The only exception is if your GP writes a letter to state that nothing has changed in your medical history in the past 12 months.
I am going back to the same camp but coming from a different organization, can I still apply?
Yep! Give us a call on 0333 999 7516 so we can arrange an interview for you! Although you have a secured placement, you are required to obtain two references to support your application.
Who will book my flights?
As a returner, you are responsible for arranging your own flights so BUNAC will not charge any agency fees from your camp which it’s why you're free to negotiate your salary directly with your camp!
Does the insurance cover pre-existing medical conditions?
Unfortunately the medical insurance provided on the program does not include any pre-existing conditions. If you do have a pre-existing medical condition you would be required to find an additional policy.
How will I be paid after I finish my placement?
This will depends on your camp. They may –
- Pay in cash
- Set up an American bank account (which your camp will assist you when you arrive in the US) and you’ll get debit card which you can use while you are travelling
- Paycheck – you are able to cash this at a bank
Camps do not inform us how you will be getting paid so you will find out once you have arrived in the U.S.
How long can I travel?
The J-1 visa entitles you to a 30 day “grace period” which you can use to travel on the last day of your placement.
Where is my flight ticket?
You won’t receive a physical flight ticket. As soon as we have booked your flight, you will receive a flight itinerary via email. All you need to do is bring a printed copy of your flight ticket and check in at the airport.
Can I change my return flights once I'm in the US?
You are able to change your return flights once you have arrived in the U.S and it is an easy process. Changes to your ticket may incur you a cost. Should you wish to make changes to your travel dates you will need to contact STA via email (email address will be provided when you receive your flight itinerary) with the booking reference on the itinerary, your full name and the new dates you’d like to travel. STA Travel will then confirm the cost for you to make that change, to which you will then need to accept or decline, and they will email you a new itinerary/e-ticket.
What's my luggage allowance?
Please check on the website the airline you are traveling with. This information will be stated on your flight itinerary.
Will I be refunded if I don't get placed?
We have a 100% Job Placement Guarantee - we'll find you a Summer Camp USA Job or give you your money back!
Will I be refunded if I cancel my application?
If written notification of cancellation is sent to firstname.lastname@example.org after acceptance onto the program, the cancellation fee is £100 if you have not been placed at a camp.
Will I be refunded if I cancel my placement?
If written notification of cancellation is sent to email@example.com after you have been placed at a camp the cancellation fee is £249 (on our flights program).
If your flights have been booked and if written notification of cancellation is sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, you will incur a 100% cancellation fee.
If written notification of cancellation is received after you have been placed at a camp the cancellation fee is £199 on our non-flights program.
If you cancel 30 days or less prior to your contract start date your full program fee is non-refundable.
I am a Returner and I need to cancel my placement, will I be refunded?
The £260 returner fee that you pay to BUNAC is a non-refundable payment once your application to return to camp is accepted by BUNAC.