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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the Camp Counselors USA program?  We have answers!  

Most of the common questions we get regarding the program are answered below.  Browse through the list of the questions in the categories below.  Of course, if your question hasn't been answered, don't hesitate to contact your nearest office.

Eligibility Questions

Students and non-Students are eligible for Camp Counselors USA. Any nationality can apply to the program. There are some visa restrictions for people applying in a country other than their home country. Contact your local CCUSA office for details. The age range for the program is 18-35. If you are older than 35, please check with your local CCUSA office before applying.
It is a U.S. J-1 visa requirement that anyone issued with this cultural exchange visa be over 18 by June 1st. If you don’t turn 18 until after June 1, CCUSA will welcome your application next season!
Unfortunately, the latest departure date we can accept is June 15th. We are unable to place staff at camps after this date. By late June, some camps are halfway through their session. An alternative program that may interest you is CCUSA’s Camp Counselors Russia Program, which has a more flexible departure schedule.
No, unfortunately CCUSA must put forward applicants who can commit for an entire nine weeks. However, CCUSA’s Camp Counselors Russia Program does run a 4-week program.

Application Questions

There are many types of jobs that you can be placed in: General Counselors, Specialists / Activity Counselors, Lifeguards. Rest assured there is a position that is perfect for you - check out the “Role of a Camp Counselor” pages for more details.
You need to have some experience if you want to be a Camp Counselor. Experience can include teaching, day care, coaching, babysitting and taking care of younger cousins or siblings for an extended amount of time.

While it is preferable to have a skill in a particular activity area, this is not a requirement of the program. On the page Skills-and-Activities-Areas you will find a list of over 200 activities. If you can assist in a number of these areas, a camp might placed you as an Activity Counselor or  All-round/General Counselor (note there are limited positions available for the All-round/General Counselor).

You can also look at gaining a specific certification or skill prior to camp. Check out our Guaranteed Placement Page. 

ABSOLUTELY!! CCUSA camps are always on the lookout for riding instructors and tennis coaches, as well as all the other activities listed in our brochure. With most activities, qualifications are helpful but not essential. Don't underestimate your personal experiences. Remember, these are American children you are teaching - not experts. Practical experience working with groups of children is what we’re looking for, however, qualifications are a bonus!
CCUSA carefully matches your skills and interests to a camp that will suit you. Remember, you have time after camp to travel and sightsee. Use that time to visit the particular state, area or relative of your choice. If you're worried about being at camp on your own, don't be - you'll make more than enough friends once camp starts! If you still have an interest in working in a camp in a particular area/state, please attend one of our "Camp Counselor Job Fairs". There you will have the opportunity to meet with Camp Directors and may receive an offer from a camp in that area or state. Details of "Camp Counselor Job Fairs" can be found on the Local Information area of our website.
It is very difficult for us to place friends together at the same camp, and it most likely will not be possible. Consider the possibility of going to different camps and meeting up afterwards to travel together. Alternatively, if you are a student, consider the Work Experience USA program – independent option. Often Camp Directors are unwilling to accept joint applications. This can be for a number of reasons. Sometimes people who already know each other integrate less with a group or camps may be worried that if one person doesn't enjoy the job or is homesick both will leave. It may simply be that there is only one space available. CCUSA wants to ensure you both have 'perfect placements'. If you wish to be considered for placement with a friend, be sure to apply early and submit your application forms at the same time.
As a rule of thumb, the earlier you apply, the earlier you get placed. Do not wait until the Application Deadline to apply. APPLY NOW!
Camps can start anytime from May 1st to June 30th. Your departure for camp will depend on your travel availability and your camp contract dates. However, it's worth bearing in mind that the earlier you send in your application, the easier it is to place you. So, as soon as you make up your mind to go to camp - GO FOR IT!
Just call your local office and chat to them about your new earlier dates and we can adjust your application. Remember the earlier your availability date, the more camps we can send your application to and the better our chances of finding you the perfect placement.

Counselors need to have two. At least one of your referees will need to complete the CCUSA Reference Questionnaire. References should be from a person who has known you in a professional capacity for more than 6 months. This could be a teacher, sports coach, employer, etc. CCUSA CANNOT accept references from family members or friends! All references must be in English. You will also need to write on your application the name and contact details of a 3rd referee for us to contact.

Yes, please follow the normal application procedure and include a letter of invitation or an email from the camp that is offering you a position. You must make sure your camp is currently an active camp with CCUSA. If not, please have your Camp Director call our head office in the U.S. at 1-800-999-2267. If or when your camp becomes active, we'll make sure the camp receives your completed application form so they can hire you. As your visa sponsor, CCUSA is required to thoroughly screen all applicants, even if they have a job already arranged.

Yes, CCUSA has many regional coordinators around your country who can talk to you about the program. These are people from your area who have worked at camps in the USA. We also hold CCUSA presentations around New Zealand between June to April each year. These presentations provide information about working at camp, travel, your visa, flights, insurance, etc.

Click here to check out our meetings. The presentations last approximately an hour and while optional, we strongly recommend you attend one. If you’re unsure about what is involved, or if you just want to find out more before applying, feel free to attend bring your friends and family!

CCUSA has a number of interviewers who are based in different parts of New Zealand, so it's likely we can interview you close to home. Contact your CCUSA on 0800-USA-Work for more details.

Due to the nature of the program, there are some medical conditions that may exclude participation. CCUSA has many years of experience sending young people to summer camps. During this time, we have developed considerable expertise in determining which medical conditions are appropriate for the camp environment and which are not. At all times, we seek to put the health and welfare of our participants and the children in their care first. We will always try to be fair and judge each application on a case-by-case basis, but there are some medical conditions which can be made much worse through the excitement and environment of summer camps. There are also other conditions which are regarded more seriously in the U.S. than in other countries and for which it is consequently impossible for us to obtain insurance coverage. CCUSA's insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. You will be asked to complete a medical disclosure form detailing your condition, and you will be required to have a special letter completed by your doctor. Our US Office will then review all this information. Please be aware that anyone who is dishonest on their forms will be cancelled from the program, with no refund of fees. If it is a pre-existing condition, you will also be required to purchase, at your own expense, insurance coverage that covers your condition. For further information and questions, please contact your local CCUSA office.

Program Questions

Program costs are kept low because CCUSA realizes that money can be tight. CCUSA NZ offers the best value for anyone wishing to work at an American summer camp. Every participant will be paid Pocket Money, although again, the amount varies depending upon your age and skill level. Make sure you check out the "What you Pay"and "What you Get" pages on this website to access Program Fees and Pocket Money.

You will not be allowed to drink at camp or smoke on camp property. Please remember that if you break these rules, you may be fired. Each camp will have their own policy on these issues.

NOTE: The drinking age throughout the United States is 21!

Camps have, on average, one day off a week as well as a period off during the day and one or two evenings off a week. Summer camps organize time off independently, so your days and evenings off will be at their discretion.

CCUSA starts placing people in September for the following year and continue placing people up till June 30th. It does take time to ensure a "perfect placement" is found for you as CCUSA will not place you just anywhere.The first camp who looks at your application may hire you or it might take a number of review's from camps before that perfect placement is found.

How to help get a possible earlier placement:

  1. Apply early!
  2. Choose as many Camp Type as possible (8 to choose from)
  3. Set your start date as (May 1st) and the latest you can work till (September 15th)
  4. List at least 15-25 skills and consider looking at additional training or courses or certifications you can get that will help you stand out above the thousands of other internationals and American's applying to work at Summer Camps.  Check out Guaranteed Placement Options!
All placements are final. CCUSA only works with the best camps and takes great care to place you at a camp that matches your selected camp types. If you are unhappy with your placement, please contact your local office to discuss your options. It is very important to us that you be happy with your camp placement. 
No, CCUSA will provide you with a list of other people from around the world who are placed at your camp… this list most likely will include other people from your home country. Many countries also do group CCUSA flights, so it is easy to meet people on the way to camp. You won't be alone for long! Once you get to camp, you will meet other internationals who also traveled by themselves. Remember, it's often easier to make new friends if you are not with a group from home. Plus, Americans are incredibly friendly!
CCUSA provides the participant with an excellent travel insurance policy that doesn’t require a co-pay (meaning that in the event you make a claim, there will generally be no immediate payments required at the time of service – if there is a payment required, you will be reimbursed by the insurance company, provided the treatment is covered by the policy.) . Remember to fill out your insurance claim form at the time of the incident.
The US Government issues the J-1 cultural exchange visa to CCUSA participants. This is not a general work permit! Counselors may only work at other summer camps in a Counselor position after the successful completion of their original camp contract - no other employment is possible. The J-1 visa is only valid to a maximum of 4 months, and can not start before May 1st and can not go past 21st September.

Returning to Camp Questions

You can apply online at any time. However, to complete your Returnee application process, you will need to include a contract or an invitation letter/email from your camp. Please keep in mind that for some countries we cannot accept returnee applications after April 1 (check with your local office for confirmation). Remember, if you filled in your application with CCUSA in a previous year and attended camp, your application is still accessible through our Application Centre. Simply log in with your same user ID and password and follow the directions. It is quick and easy.
Absolutely!! Every year, many people who have been to camp through other organizations return to camp with CCUSA. All you need to do is complete a short Returnee application and submit it with your invitation letter/email or contract from your camp. Please contact your country office to ensure that your camp is currently an active camp with CCUSA.