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From humble beginnings as a Camp Counsellor, on to Camp Director and he now manages BUNAC's whole Summer Camp USA programme, Adam is a Summer Camp-tastic success story. We've caught up with the summer camp champ in part three of our blog series with him. Read his previous blogs here and here. Get inspired and start your summer camp adventure today!

How working at summer camp in the USA has shaped my career

As you can read in some of the other blogs I wrote for BUNAC while I was working at camp, I got my start as a Camp Counsellor. I taught swimming in my first year and lived alongside seven boys in a platform tent. That was the summer before I went to University, on an uncertain path to study Psychology. I really had no clue what it was that I ‘wanted to do’, but camp changed everything.

After my first summer, I was counting the days to the next - where I went back as a Supervisor - then the next, and the next, and the next. The decision to return to summer camp year after year is so easy, because every summer brings new challenges, new relationships, and new rewards. By the time I was able to move to the USA permanently to take over as the Camp Director of my camp, I was ready to take on the world. That’s all thanks to the unique and robust skill set you can only get from working at a summer camp.

After some of the best years of my life working at summer camp I moved back to the UK, thrust into a job market that I wasn’t sure was going to recognise my summer camp achievements. Just a few weeks into being back and with interviews lined up, I quickly saw the benefits of summer camp experience at work. I was able to talk passionately and clearly about the entire professional skills summer camp had taught me. Here are just a few examples: 


As a Camp Counsellor, you are immediately charged with the responsibility of the most precious and valuable thing in the lives of hundreds of parents: their children.  Whether you are responsible for their safety during one of the high flying camp activities or for their emotional support, caring for children 24 hours a day, seven days a week fills you with a sense of responsibility you’ll only otherwise feel as a parent. 


One of the great things about camp is there are so many opportunities for you to build skills as a leader. Leadership is required at all times of the day. All eyes are on you to decide what happens next in your activity area, where you’ll take your campers next and how you will get there. More than this, you are surrounded by summer camp professionals who you will learn from every day, becoming not just as a decision maker, but a coach, a mentor, a teacher and a role model.  


You’ll come away from summer camp a seasoned, confident public speaker (and chanter, dancer and camp-song singer). There are not many other summer jobs where you’ll regularly need to hold the attention of a room of people and convey a message with next level passion and enthusiasm. You’ll also learn an incredible amount about meeting new people, 1:1 interaction, the power of listening and how to persuade the most challenging type of stubborn person to do what you want: a 10 year old. 

Problem solving

Even though you will have also learned to be organised and be a pro at planning, at summer camp even the best laid plans go to waste when the weather changes. At the last minute you’ll need to quickly weigh up your options and find an alternative. I always think you can tell people who have been to camp, by seeing how they deal with problems life throws at them. Summer camp people stay calm and look for a solution. 


It’s not a secret that working at camp is hard work. We often call it the hardest job you’ll ever love. The days are long and hot and you are on duty, working at 100% with a smile on your face from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. You’ll spend weeks coaching a camper to conquer a fear or reach a goal and giving up on them isn’t an option. When they tell you at the end of the summer no one has ever believed in them like you have, you’ll be spurred on to persevere through any project you are ever given. 

Using all the above, I scored another of the best jobs in the world, working here at BUNAC HQ as the Operations Manager, now helping young people have the summer that changes everything for them.

Where will Summer Camp USA take your career? Make this summer the one that changes everything for you and sign up to head out this summer. 

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