7 Types of Summer Camps to Work For

By Lorena Roberts on May 12, 2017

If you’re looking for a summer job, like many of us are, you’ve probably come across the option of working at a summer camp. I’ve done this in the past, and it was a total blast.

You’ll want to put some thought into what kind of summer camp you want to work for, though. If you’re not a big fitness guru, don’t sign up for a kids fitness camp. If you don’t feel like you’re in touch with your creative side, an arts and crafts camp may not be the best choice. To help you figure out which kind of camp you’d most enjoy working for, here’s a list of some of the most popular ones.


Sleepaway camp

Most of the time, this will be a full-time, all summer job. They’ll usually provide room and board, and you may get one day off per week, but a sleepaway camp means you’re with the kids all the time. Most of the time you sleep in the same cabin, accompany them to their daily activities, and fill free time with creative games and ice breakers. Sometimes you’ll get a new set of campers every week, sometimes every two weeks; it all just depends on how the camp is set up.

If you’re looking at working one of these camps, you probably won’t be able to work another job. The pay is reasonable, usually anywhere from $1,500-$2,000 per summer, but remember, they’re covering your room and board. I don’t know anyone who works at summer sleepaway camps for the money. You’ll probably want to absolutely love kids if you apply for this one!

Arts and crafts day camp

I remember going to art camp when I was in elementary school. It was a total blast. My camp was only a half day, from 9-1. My counselors were, hands down, the best part. If you’re wanting to work at a camp that doesn’t require tucking kids in and helping them write letters to mom and dad, day camp is your best option. But only pick an arts and crafts camp if you’re in touch with your creative side.

Sports camp/recreational camp

Usually the counselors that are hired for these camps have a skill set that’s important to teach the campers. Sailing camps, sports camps, kayaking camps … those are all camps where the administration is looking to hire individuals who 1) know a lot about the subject, and 2) would be good at teaching kids about that subject.

You might be a really great rock climber, but are you good at teaching kiddos how to rock climb?

This would be a particularly good job for someone who has a specific passion that the camp revolves around.

Fitness camp

Often, these camps emphasize the importance for kids to stay active and healthy. If you enjoy being active and you think you can handle active kids, this is the camp for you! The camp I worked at for a summer was similar to this. While it wasn’t a sleepaway camp, we worked 10-hour days. I remember being worn out all summer. Before you choose to spend your summer at one of these camps, make sure you’re ready to be up and on your feet with kids for the majority of every day.

Religious-affiliated camp

If you’re a religious person, you should definitely look into working at a religious camp. You’ll enjoy being able to discuss what you believe with other people and serve as a role model for younger kids. (Obviously, I’d recommend working at a camp that matches your religious beliefs.)

Underprivileged/underserved population camp

If you’ve got a big heart and you want to spend your summer giving back, find a camp that serves kids who are underprivileged or underserved. Sometimes these camps are grant funded, so the paycheck may not be as hefty as working for a private camp. But if this is your passion, you’ll love every minute of your summer.

Special needs camp

If your big heart specializes in loving on kids who have mental, physical, or emotional disabilities, you should definitely look into working at a camp for kids with special needs. Sometimes it’s hard to find good people who are truly willing to put their heart into their work at these kind of camps. If you know you’ll love it — do it!

Lorena graduated from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville last December with a BA in Honors Psychology. After some serious soul-searching, she's decided to pursue a Master's in teaching in order to teach middle school math! In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her Whippet mix, Gio, at the dog park and binge watching Netflix with endless cups of Hot Cocoa.

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