April 2, 2009

Summer Job Spotlight ... Tons of summer camp jobs available!

As we slowly inch closer to the start of summer, more and more job openings will be filled by those actively seeking their ideal summer job. But not to worry, if you haven't started looking yet, there are still opportunities available.

One sector that is still hiring is the summer camp industry. It tends to offer fairly solid, stable and safe jobs, despite the economy - after all, parents need childcare over the summer and these camps provide it!

But here's the thing - traditionally, summer camps do not pay as much as other jobs. This is often because the cost of running these camps, particularly if they are in a more rural setting, can be quite high.

Nevertheless, there are many benefits of working at a summer camp, including:

- The range of positions available: most camps offer various programmes, sports, and activities for children, and they need staff that can teach and supervise these. You'll find camp counsellor positions that range from general (co-ed) to sport specific (i.e. tennis, soccer, gymnastics) to activity-based (drama, dance, arts & crafts). Plus, there are always positions available in supporting roles - kitchen staff, office administration, and health and first aid being the most common.

- Most camps pay for room & board and have a transportation allowance, thereby reducing your overall expenses. If you don't have the luxury of rent-free living, this will easily save you a few hundred (if not a thousand) dollars each month that you would spend if you lived in the city.

- You can get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and experience a fun summer adventure. Friends of mine that have worked at summer camps say that each year, they've always learned a new skill or trick from their fellow counsellors - sometimes even the children teach them a thing or two!

- You have the opportunity to act as a role model for young children and this can be a great self-esteem boost. You'll see the difference you make and trust me, on the last day of camp as you wave goodbye, if even just one of the campers approach and give you a hug, you'll know you've done a great job.

- You'll most likely meet people who will become life-long friends - yes, it's true! One of my colleagues has kept in touch with someone he worked with at a summer camp 18 years ago!

If working at a summer camp sounds like the summer job for you, then check out the list below for summer camps that are still looking for staff. Visit each individual website for information on how to apply.

Camp Diamond

Camp Tanamakoon

Royal City Soccer Club

Muskoka Woods

Camp Arowhon

Onondaga Camp

Swallowdale Camp

Moorelands Wilderness Camp

Canadian Adventure Camp

Camp Manitou

Camp Walden

* For a more complete list for summer camps in other geographic areas including the United States and central America, click here *

And here are 4 things to keep in mind to make your application successful:

- Have a well-written resume and cover letter - this goes for any job, but especially with summer camp jobs as they tend to have recruiting processes that are done primarily via telephone and e-mail

- Consider getting either Emergency First Aid or Standard First Aid certification as it will be a requirement for 99% of the jobs. Check out the Red Cross or St. John Ambulance for courses near you.

- Ensure you have at least 2 (preferably 3) solid references from former employers, teachers, coaches or mentors. And this is the one instance where you can include them in your initial application - some camps do not conduct in-person interviews until after a refence check and so the more you give at the start of the process, the smother it will go.

- Apply as soon as possible as many of the camps begin in mid to late June - and some camps have already completed all of their summer 2009 hiring!

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