Summer Camp USA FAQs

Making American dreams come true since 1962

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When should I apply?

We recommend that you apply from now till April. 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) coaching/teaching children one of the activities our camps are recruiting for.


Can I arrive later than mid-June?

Unfortunately our arrival dates are set between 1st May and 15th June. You must be available for a minimum of nine weeks, leaving for the U.S. no later than June 20th 2019. 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 Counsellors. 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 programme or give us a call on on 0333 999 7516 to discuss your experience.

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 Counsellor 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 Counsellor Coaches commit a lot of time and effort into interviewing our prospective camp counsellors. We require payment before your interview to ensure we are meeting individuals that are committed to our programme.

Who will be interviewing me at my face-to-face interview?

All of our Camp Counsellor Coaches across the country have worked at a camp previously and know what being a camp counsellor 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 in your local STA store with a Camp Counsellor Coach

Why do I need to have 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 - like Emma!

Is it a formal interview? 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 - just ask interviewer Yvonne!

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! 


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 come be 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 - 
 The reference:
  • 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
  • Need to 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


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 instalment 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?

Unfortunately we cannot guarantee you a placement at a camp in the US as all the camps we work with are all private enterprises. However, we will do our absolute best to get your application shown to as many camps we can. We will also work with you to help you improve and modify your application to make sure you are showing your best skills!

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 programmes that promote cultural exchange. You will be working under a J-1 Camp Counsellor, which allows international applicants to work in the USA for up to 4 months, throughout the summer. This visa is designed for a cultural exchange between the USA and the participating countries, so that you can gain valuable work experience in the USA and learn more about the local culture.

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 need to have a face-to-face appointment at the U.S Embassy?
Yes. You are required to attend a face-to-face appointment at the U.S Embassy either in London or Belfast. You will not be granted a visa without this taking place.
How do I book an appointment at the U.S 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 am 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 visa (2 x 2 inches) photos with you to your Embassy appointment. Please do not bring photocopies or printed copies. 

What documents do I bring with me 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 U.S passport; do I still need to apply for a visa?

If you have a U.S passport, you will not need to apply for the visa and you are not required to attend the Embassy Appointment in the U.K.

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 033 3999 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 in summer 2017.

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 organisation, can I still apply?

Yep! Give us a call on 033 3999 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 medical insurance cover pre-existing medical conditions?

Unfortunately the medical insurance provided on the programme 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 finished 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 U.S) and you’ll get debit card which you can use while you are travelling
  • Paycheque – 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 am in the U.S?

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 travelling with. This information will be stated on your flight itinerary.


Will I be refunded if I don’t get placed?

The £39 programme deposit is a non-refundable fee. If you are unsuccessful during the hiring period, you will be refunded your 2nd payment.

Will I be refunded if I cancel my application?

If written notification of cancellation is sent to after acceptance onto the programme, 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 after you have been placed at a camp the cancellation fee is £249 (on our flights programme).
If your flights have been booked and if written notification of cancellation is sent to, 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 programme.
If you cancel 30 days or less prior to your contract start date your full programme fee is non-refundable.
I am a Returner and I need to cancel my placement, will I be refunded?

The £299 returner fee that you pay to BUNAC is a non-refundable payment once your application to return to camp is accepted by BUNAC.

Not found what you're looking for? Give our team a call on 033 3999 7516 or request a call back.

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Contact Information

BUNAC Travel Services
Priory House, 6 Wrights Lane
London, W8 6TA
Phone: 033 3999 7516


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