Working at Summer Camp as a Camp Counselor

Camp counseling is one of the best (if not the best) jobs in the world. There is no better way to spend a summer. You will have the opportunity to make a real difference in a child’s life. The campers in your cabin will remember you and your experiences at camp for years to come. Kingsley Pines has a variety of camp staff positions, so whether you’re interested in volleyball or archery, you can take part in the fun.

I can’t put into words what this past summer meant to me. There are too many memories, too many people to thank, too many smiles and laughs, too much fun, too many moments that took my breath away. It all adds up to this beautiful, chaotic, wonderful and sometimes crazy thing we call camp.
Stephanee B., Florida

Camp Counselor Responsibilities

Camp counseling can be a 24-hour, 6 day per week job. You must have a genuine concern for and interest in children as well as their health and safety. They are the reason Kingsley Pines Camp exists. If you can’t stand your nieces and nephews, the kid next door, or baby-sitting for the twins down the street, then camp counseling is not for you.

Counselors must have the ability to work long hours that are both physically and emotionally challenging. Freedom is limited. Counselors are “on-duty” unless they are on time off. Our days are long, and we demand a great deal from our staff. You will live in a one-room cabin with 3-10 campers, so privacy and “personal space” is almost non-existent.

Despite these challenges, working at camp will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You will make friends from all over the world, swim in beautiful Panther Lake, roast marshmallows over a campfire, and make a difference in a child’s life.

We hope you’ll consider working at Kingsley Pines this summer. Camp is a wonderful experience for a child. We need your help to provide children with this opportunity for growth, learning, and fun.

Staff Goals

Because we care so much about providing the best possible camp experience for both campers and staff, we have developed the following goals for our staff. The daily program, staff orientation, and all we do at camp is based on these goals:

  • Camp is a life-changing experience, where campers learn things about themselves they didn’t know when they arrived – independence, responsibility, group living skills, new activity skills and decision making skills.
  • No camper will “fall through the cracks.” Each child is attended to while at camp.
  • Counselors have a positive impact on each camper, such that in 20 years each camper will remember his/her counselor’s name and experience at camp.
  • Counselors are members of a supportive community and they rely on each other.
  • Each counselor realizes the effect their actions and behaviors have on the campers and that is reflected in the choices that they make.

A Counselor’s Typical Day

The following is a description of a typical day at Kingsley Pines, and a general outline of a counselor’s responsibilities:

7:00 Early Risers: This an opportunity for campers and staff to jog, swim, fish, or bike before breakfast. Others just stay in bed until it is time for breakfast.

7:30 Breakfast: All meals are served buffet style and there is always a vegetarian option. We eat outside, by the lake, at picnic tables (weather permitting).

8:00 K.I.P. & Cabin Clean up: Each cabin group is assigned an area of the camp to clean during the first part of this period. The second half of the period is spent on cabin clean up. Campers sweep the floor; hang wet bathing suits on the line, etc. Counselors supervise, organize, and participate in this effort.

9:00 Activity Periods 1-3: There are four weekly activity periods, three in the morning and one in the afternoon. Campers select their own activities on a weekly basis. Each period you will teach an activity.

12:00 Free Time & Activity Period 5 sign up: Though your campers have free time, you are responsible for knowing where they are and what they are doing. The campers will sign-up for Activity Period 5, which is a daily choice. You may be assigned to supervise an area of camp.

12:30 Lunch

1:20 Siesta: A quiet time for campers and staff. Campers often write letters, play cards, read or sleep. Half the counselors have time off during Siesta. If it is your time off, you can hang out in the staff lounge, take a swim, etc. If you are on duty during Siesta, you are on time-off after evening activity.

2:40 Activity Period 4

3:30 Snack Time 

4:00 Activity Period 5: A special period where campers choose their activities daily. It is a time for counselors to showcase special talents and skills, and an opportunity for our campers to try something different.

5:00 Free Time & General Swim: Though your campers have free time, you are responsible for knowing where they are and what they are doing. You may be assigned to cover general swim or to supervise an area of camp. You may also take the opportunity to check your email in the staff lounge or just hang out with your kids.

6:00 Dinner

7:00 Evening Program: They are different each night (ex. dance, campfire, carnival, Clue, camper/counselor hunt, wacky relay race, Council Fire, and Gold Rush).

8:30 Prepare for Bed: All staff members spend a few minutes with their kids, having a brief sharing time and asking them about their day before. Many counselors read to their campers. Others let the cabin listen to music quietly.

At the end of Evening Programs, half the counselors get time off until 1:00 am. The other half remain on-duty to monitor the campers. There is a staff lounge available that has high speed wireless Internet access and cable TV. You may leave camp during time-off and we allow counselors to use camp vehicles. All staff members are expected to be back in their cabins by 1:00 am. Emergencies can occur at night, and we need to know that each cabin is properly supervised.

Time-Off, Cell Phones, Alcohol, and Smoking

Counselors have one 24-hour day off per week. Your days off are your own, we only require that you return on time, rested and ready to meet your cabin and activity responsibilities. On days off, counselors may use camp equipment like waterski boats, sailboats, climbing tower, etc. Camp vehicles are also available for use. Counselors also have two nights off a week.

Staff members are not permitted to have their cell phones with them while on-duty and phones may only be used during designated time-off. This can be a difficult adjustment, but it is a vital part of the unplugged environment here at camp. Campers are also not allowed to have cell phones or other technological devices.

Alcoholic beverages, marijuana and illegal drugs are prohibited on Kingsley Pines Camp property. Any person possessing alcoholic beverages, marijuana or drugs, or returning to camp under the influence is subject to immediate dismissal. We have an obligation to keep our campers safe. People under the influence make poor decisions and place campers at risk. In addition, an intoxicated counselor is not the type of role model we want to provide.

We do not allow smoking on camp property, or at any camp activity, including out-of-camp trips. All staff members must be non-smokers, or agree to refrain from smoking during the camp season. We do this because counselors are role models. We don’t want a camper to learn that smoking is “cool” from his or her counselor.

A final thought: Camp counseling jobs are fun, rewarding, and a great way to spend the summer. You will develop friendships that will last a lifetime. Joining our staff will be an experience you’ll never forget! For any additional questions please feel free to contact us.


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