Volunteering at summer camp is a great way to earn community service hours and have fun as a teen, especially if you enjoy working with kids. You can easily accrue as many volunteer hours as you want, while gaining valuable firsthand work experience at the same time. Most volunteer opportunities at camps are available over the summer, but you can also volunteer during the school year with after school enrichment classes.
Phillip Chung, a senior at Wilcox High School, has garnered over 400 hours volunteering and says “volunteering at camps over the summer has been nothing but fun…there are lots of different kids from lots of different backgrounds and learning about how to make them all come together as friends has been a great learning experience.” Volunteering for camps over the summer can help you become eligible for the President’s Volunteer Service Award Bronze, Silver, or Gold level if you track your hours with a certifying organization. This national award looks great on a college application!
The typical day as a summer camp volunteer can involve greeting campers, helping with projects and assisting instructors. You can find a wide variety of camps to match your interests, such as sports, science, coding, art or theatre. For example, Destination Science and Camp EDMO™ are science and technology camps that have teen volunteers every summer. No matter where you go to volunteer, helping out at camps like these always has its benefits. Honing in on leadership skills such as communication, patience and conflict resolution are a few of the ways you can build valuable experience.
To get a volunteer or counselor-in-training position at a camp, look at online resources like ActivityHero to see what’s in your area. You can also visit camp websites to see if they have jobs posted. Look at VolunteerCrowd for student volunteer opportunities in cause areas like youth, or STEM or a job site like Indeed. If you are under 16, summer camps may charge a small weekly fee to be in their training program. The training fee may range from $50-100 per week. Also expect to attend a training session or two. Older teens may qualify for paid positions as assistant counselors.
Most programs will require an application and possibly an interview. Start your search by February to make sure you don’t miss the application deadlines. You can see examples of camp applications on the Destination Science and Camp EDMO™ websites. To prepare for interviews, the American Camp Association is a good resource that covers what employers and interviewers are looking for. Be prepared to share why you want to work with kids in your application and interview.
To explore camp opportunities in your area, visit ActivityHero to see the type of camps available. And be sure to track your volunteer hours on Volunteer Crowd.
By Arnav Kumar, ActivityHero Intern
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