Summer Camp Director Q&A - Part 2

Summer Camp USA with BUNAC

Camp Director Adam give us the lowdown on his summer camp journey and experiences in part 1 of his blog. Find out what qualities and skills that summer camps look for in BUNAC applicants.

What skills and experience do you look for in BUNACers?

Above all else, experience with children is key. Staff should have had extensive experience working with children in an instructional or pastoral role and more than anything be able to demonstrate their ability to be a great role model. This experience must be beyond their own family and well beyond babysitting. While working at camp you will spend more contact hours with children than in almost any other profession. Here the kids don't go home at the end of the day, you are solely responsible for the social, emotional and physical well being of the children in your care. Other than being a parent, there won't be many other times in your life when you have this kind of responsibility, and be expected to perform in your role as a teacher/coach/instructor to the highest possible degree with an unfathomable energy.

What qualities do you look for in a Camp Counsellor?

Something to remember when applying to work at camp, is that the camp director you speak to in an interview is assessing whether you are somebody he/she can fully trust with the lives of the children that will be put into his or her care. A camp director spends the entire winter making promises to parents about the experience their child will have at their camp. They set an extremely high expectation, telling parents that by the end of their camper's session they will have 'built confidence' 'made lifelong friends' and ' learnt skills they will carry with them for life'. The truth is that these expectations can only be met, if the camp director hires the right staff members, as it is only through their hard work and commitment that children leave camp having had a positive experience. The qualities I look for in my staff include perseverance, the staff member has to be able to show me that no matter what is thrown at them, they can keep going with a smile and a skip in their step. I also look for solution driven problem solvers, It is crucial that when something doesn't go to plan my staff are able to quickly and creatively find a solution, and not melt down. A genuine willingness to learn and grow themselves is also important, it's okay to not know how to do somethings, or to get things wrong. As long as you demonstrate that you are willing to listen to others, and learn from your mistakes. Finally in a camp counselor I look for a light, a light that shines so bright you can't miss it. It draws you in and tells you just how much this person wants to spend a summer at camp. That might sound a little 'far out' for some people and maybe confusing to others. A sure way to make sure your light is shining is to be nice, be honest and to be yourself. 

Summer camp is an amazing experience

How do you go about recruiting UK staff?

I recruit UK staff through hiring agencies like BUNAC. The pre-screening process BUNAC offers means that I know those on their program will be quality applicants. I search applicants initially by skill set and then narrow down the applications by looking at previous experience. When I have shortlisted the people I would like to speak to I reach out to them and set up a video call to find out a little more about them.  

Which activities do you recruit BUNACers for?

I would consider recruiting UK staff for any of the variety of activities we offer at my Camp, we are a traditional camp so our campers have the opportunity to try most activities you would imagine at a summer camp. Some of these include: adventure (climbing, biking, ropes, zip lining, survival craft), athletics (most all landsports), boating (kayak, canoe, sailing, crew rowing, paddle boarding), Creative Arts, Culinary Arts, Media, Nature, Performing Arts, Horse Riding, Swimming, Water skiing and more. It is always hard to find counselors for specialty areas of camp, so UK staff with skills in areas such as water skiing, crew rowing, culinary and horse riding are always very attractive.

Think you've got what it takes for life at summer camp? Give us a call on 033 3999 7516. Missed Adam's fist blog? You can read it here.

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