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Become A Camp Counselor

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Working As A Camp Counselor

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • $23,660

    Average Salary

What Does A Camp Counselor Do

Camp Counselors are responsible for supervising camp activities and developing recreational plans. They organize various activities, such as songs, games, archery, canoeing, and opening and closing ceremonies.

How To Become A Camp Counselor

Education and training requirements for recreation workers vary with the type of job, but workers typically need at least a high school diploma or the equivalent and receive on-the-job training.

Education and Training

Recreation workers typically need at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. Many receive on-the-job training that typically lasts less than a month.

Entry-level educational requirements vary with the type of position. For example, an activity leader position working with the elderly will have different requirements than a position as a summer camp counselor working with children.

Some positions may require a bachelor’s degree or college coursework. In 2014, the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions, a branch of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), accredited 80 bachelor’s degree programs in recreation or leisure studies. A bachelor’s degree in other subjects, such as liberal arts or public administration, may also qualify applicants for some positions.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Recreation workers must be able to communicate well. They often work with large groups of people and need to give clear instructions, motivate participants, and maintain order and safety.

Flexibility. Recreation workers must be flexible when planning activities. They must be able to adapt plans to suit changing environmental conditions and participants’ needs.

Leadership skills. Recreation workers should be able to lead both large and small groups. They often lead activities for people of all ages and abilities.

Physical strength. Recreation workers need to be physically fit. Their job may require a considerable amount of movement because they often demonstrate activities while explaining them.

Problem-solving skills. Recreation workers need strong problem-solving skills. They must be able to create and reinvent activities and programs for all types of participants.

For recreation workers who generally work part time, such as camp counselors and activity specialists, certain qualities may be more important than education. These qualities include a worker’s experience leading activities, the ability to work well with children or the elderly, and the ability to ensure the safety of participants.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The NRPA offers four certifications for recreation workers:

  • Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP)
  • Certified Parks and Recreation Executive (CPRE)
  • Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO)
  • Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI)

Applicants may qualify for certification with different combinations of education and work experience. They also must take continuing education classes to maintain their certification.

The American Camp Association offers four certificates for various levels of camp staff, from Entry-Level Staff Certificate to Camp Director Certificate. Individuals who complete online courses may show their advanced level of knowledge of core competencies.

Some recreation jobs require other kinds of certification. For example, a lifesaving certificate is often required for teaching or coaching water-related activities. These certifications are available from organizations such as the YMCA or the American Red Cross. Specific requirements vary by job and employer.

Advancement

As workers gain experience, they may be promoted to positions with greater responsibilities. Recreation workers with experience and managerial skills may advance to supervisory or managerial positions. Eventually, they may become directors of a recreation department or may start their own recreation company.

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Camp Counselor Demographics

Gender

  • Female

    59.1%
  • Male

    39.0%
  • Unknown

    1.9%

Ethnicity

  • White

    82.0%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    9.4%
  • Asian

    6.5%
  • Unknown

    1.6%
  • Black or African American

    0.6%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    57.7%
  • French

    13.8%
  • Italian

    4.1%
  • German

    4.0%
  • Chinese

    2.9%
  • Mandarin

    2.5%
  • Russian

    2.4%
  • Arabic

    2.3%
  • Portuguese

    1.8%
  • Japanese

    1.7%
  • Hebrew

    1.4%
  • Greek

    1.0%
  • Korean

    0.8%
  • Hindi

    0.8%
  • Cantonese

    0.6%
  • Polish

    0.5%
  • Vietnamese

    0.4%
  • Urdu

    0.4%
  • Swahili

    0.4%
  • Swedish

    0.4%
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Real Camp Counselor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Camp Counselor Global Indoor Sports LLC TX Nov 15, 2015 $50,025
Camp Counselor Global Indoor Sports LLC Kingston, MA Nov 30, 2015 $48,794
Camp Counselor Global Indoor Sports LLC Port Chester, NY Nov 15, 2015 $46,937
Camp Counselor Global Indoor Sports LLC NJ Nov 15, 2015 $46,937
Camp Counselor Global Indoor Sports LLC Broomall, PA Nov 15, 2015 $38,756
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. MA Mar 01, 2015 $31,931
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. NY Apr 01, 2015 $30,616
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. NJ Mar 15, 2015 $30,616
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. CT Apr 01, 2014 $30,470
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. WA Mar 01, 2015 $30,345
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. MD Mar 01, 2015 $30,053
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. CT Apr 01, 2015 $28,321
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. PA Apr 01, 2015 $27,903
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. PA Mar 15, 2015 $27,903
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. NJ Apr 01, 2015 $27,319
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. NJ Mar 15, 2015 $27,319
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. TX Feb 15, 2014 $25,858
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. TX Feb 15, 2015 $25,524
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. NJ Mar 15, 2014 $20,432
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. WA Mar 15, 2013 $20,202
Camp Counselors U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. NJ Mar 15, 2013 $19,847

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Top Skills for A Camp Counselor

DailyActivitiesSummerCampsFellowCounselorsSuperviseRecreationalActivitiesPositiveRoleModelSpecialNeedsChildrenLessonPlansSafePlayEnvironmentLargeGroupActivitiesCPROutdoorActivitiesSmallGroupSettingLeadershipSkillsDifferentAGEGroupsBibleStudiesEnsureSafetyCommunicationSkillsCustomerServiceStaffMembers

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Top Camp Counselor Skills

  1. Daily Activities
  2. Summer Camps
  3. Fellow Counselors
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed campers daily activities, supervised overnight stays, as well as taught swimming, boating, arts and crafts.
  • Organized and coordinated basketball summer camps that consisted of 3rd-12th grade young men.
  • Maintained a solid working relationship with camp director, fellow counselors, and parents.
  • Supervised a group of 15 children, ages 7-15 * Planned activities * Assisted in the administration of medication
  • Explain principles, techniques, and safety procedures to participants in recreational activities, and demonstrate use of materials and equipment.

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