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The Camp Counselors USA Application Process

So you have decided you want to experience working at a summer camp in America? Fantastic – we can’t wait to help you! All of our staff have worked at a camp in the US so have been there/done that, and are happy to assist you at any step of the process.

To get to America and work at a summer camp there are a few steps you will need to go through. These procedures are required by the U.S. State Department, CCUSA (we are your visa sponsor) and the summer camps we work with.

STEP 1: The Application

You are applying for a job, but CCUSA will work with you to advise and assist you to make your application stand out from the crowd. Our application is an online process. You will need to complete a registration application, upload a photo. Once this has happened CCUSA will call you to discuss the program and complete your Welcome Interview. If approved at this stage, you pay the application fee (or use the option to pay all fees upfront to get discounts). All fees are 100% refunded if you are not accepted to the program. After this you then confirm the program option of Camp Counselor and then complete stage 2 of the online application and digitally sign your agreement with us..

STEP 2: What Happens Next? 

Once you complete the Stage 2 application, CCUSA will review your application. We will then contact you to discuss your application and give you suggestions to enhance this. You will then also upload your supporting documents such as references and an introductory video. If you have any certifications that will help at camp please upload these too. You’ll also need to apply for Police Check as you’ll be working with children, so please follow the instructions on our Application Centre

STEP 3: The Interview

CCUSA will contact you to arrange an interview. The location of this will be determined by where you live and will either be held in your local CCUSA office or with a local CCUSA Area Representative. The interview is to assess your skills, experience with children, suitability and to make sure you understand the program. This is a great opportunity for you to have questions answered.

STEP 4: Final Review / Acceptance

After your interview, your application will be assessed for acceptance to the Camp Counselor program. For this to happen you must have been interviewed and have submitted all of your application supporting items. A decision on your application usually takes around 2 weeks from your interview date. You will be notified via an acceptance email if you are successful in your application to the program. You will then gain full access to our members only ‘Footprints’ online website.

STEP 5: Placement Process 

Once accepted, you can be placed anytime from that date right up until June 30th. Placement can be a lengthy process and our US office aim to place you at a camp that matches your skill set, personality and experience. You can be placed at any of the camp types you indicated on your application. Camps may choose to email you first to setup an interview, or might just hire you by looking at your application! We ask that you check your emails daily and setup a Skype account so you are ready for potential interviews with camps! In January CCUSA also offers Camp Job Fairs in New Zealand  to those who have not received a placement yet. 

STEP 6: Placement

Once you are placed  your camp confirms your camp start and end dates and these details are uploaded to your Footprints account. Our US office requests your J-1 visa sponsorship paperwork (called a DS2019 form) from the US State Department and then sends this to CCUSA  in Auckland. 

STEP 7:  Visa Process

We make the process as simple as it can be by sending you all of the instructions on how to apply for the visa. The US visa process requires that you attend an in-person interview at the Auckland Consulate. Once you have had your interview with the US Consulate, it generally takes around 4-7 working days to receive your passport back, with your visa granted.

STEP 8: Flights to Camp

Once you are placed with your camp start and end dates, you are able to book your flights. The great thing about CCUSA is that we have a CCUSA team who work specifically with you to help you get the best deal – whether you’re a student or not. 

STEP 9: Pre-Departure Meeting

We want to make sure you are 100% ready to experience the adventure that is summer camp! This is why we hold a mandatory pre-departure meeting in April for all of our first time camp counselors. At this fun and informative day or evening we will cover what you need to know/expect at camp, getting to camp, after camp, your visa, insurance and so much more including having some good camp fun and getting you all excited for camp at the same time! If you are hoping to leave New Zealand before April, we may still be able to help you get to camp – please contact our office for details.

STEP 10: International Staff Handbook

The CCUSA International Staff Handbook is a fantastic resource for you prior to, while at, and after camp. This is downloadable from your Footprints account as soon as you are accepted to the program.

STEP 11: Health History Form

Camps require each participant to have a medical examination prior to arriving at camp. The Health History Form needs to be completed by your Doctor and uploaded to your Footprints account and taken to camp with you.

STEP 12: Assigning Insurance Dates and Coverage

We make sure you are covered with a work and travel insurance policy for your time at camp (this must cover the length of your visa). In fact, everyone on the program gets insurance coverage to cover their work placement. You are then able to upgrade and extend the policy for any extra time you're spending in the US. The policy also has worldwide coverage, so you can be covered wherever in the world you are heading after your camp experience!

STEP 13:  Heading to Camp / My Arrival at Camp

CCUSA work closely with each camp we are associated with.  Our camps (who are accredited with the American Camping Association (ACA) or similar) work hard to deliver great programs to their campers and staff. Each camp is responsible for picking up their international staff from a designated pickup location (ie; a hostel, airport, bus terminal). Once placed, you will be provided all of this information; you just need to get yourself to that pickup point. 

STEP 14:  My Summer at Camp

It is all up to you now you are at camp - enjoy! Be that amazing international staff member! Lead by example and be a great role model for your campers! If you need anything while in the USA, CCUSA is just a phone call away (including 24 hours a day for emergencies). Remember this is a job and you are there for your campers. It’s hard work with long days, but yes you will have time off during camp - normally a day a week and one or two evenings. 

STEP 15:  After Camp

Once camp is finished, as part of your J1 visa, you have 30 days to travel and sightsee around the USA. Travel with your new friends from camp, go see your fellow American Staff members at their Universities or home towns, or take an Intrepid Trek or Tour - the choice is yours.  If you want to stay away longer discuss with CCUSA what options are available for you to work in Canada or the UK.  If you would like to continue being a tourist in America, we can give you information on a B1/B2 tourist visa to use after your J1 visa is done.