Frequently Asked Questions
- Am I eligible?
You can apply for the programme if:
- You’re a native English speaker or fluent in English
- You have lots of experience working with children
- You’re 18-30 years old
- You can be at camp no later than June 20th and stay for at least 8-10 weeks
- What skills and/or experience do I need to have?
- The most important skills are that you’re great with kids, lots of fun, and up for the challenge. You should have experience working with children, but it doesn’t need to be formal teaching experience. You should also have a specialised skill that you can teach, because most counsellors are hired as activity instructors. For a list of common activities that you could specialise in, please click here.
- Can I still apply if I can't commit to ten weeks of work?
- Yes. Some placements last 8 weeks, but at a minimum you’ll need to be free from June 20th to August 6th. Keep in mind that the more time you can commit, the more likely your chance of getting hired.
- I have a criminal conviction, am I eligible?
- Unfortunately not.
- Your Visa
- You’ll travel to America on a J1 Camp Counsellor visa. This will entitle you to work in an American summer camp and then travel across the country for up to 30 days, but keep in mind that you can’t work during the 30 day travel period.
- What is a DS-2019 form?
- A DS-2019 form is your cultural exchange visa paperwork, which shows your eligibility for a J-1 visa. We’ll provide you with this form.
- What is SEVIS?
- SEVIS stands for the Student Exchange Visitor Information System used by the U.S. Department of State. It tracks everyone travelling to the U.S. on an exchange visa. Don’t worry- it’s easy to apply for and we’ll provide you with a receipt to show you’ve paid the fee.
- Application Process
- You can apply by clicking here. After filling in the form, you’ll be prompted to pay your programme deposit. We’ll contact you shortly for a brief phone interview, and you’ll receive a link in your email to the full application. You’ll need to complete your application within 2 weeks, and then we’ll arrange a time for an in-person interview. Keep in mind that it holds a lot of weight in deciding whether to accept you onto the programme, so make sure to write it well!
- What is the application deadline?
- Apply as soon as possible! There are limited places, so the sooner you apply the better your chances of getting a placement. At the latest, you should apply by Nov/Dec to be able to attend the camp fair, although we will still consider some applications into the spring.
- What are the programme dates?
- For the best chance of placement, you should try and make yourself available for as long as possible. We strongly recommend late May to late August. The more flexible you are the better your chance of receiving a placement.
- When do I know if I’ve been accepted onto the programme?
- We’ll let you know if you have been accepted onto our programme after the in-person interview.
- I’ve been accepted into the programme. Am I guaranteed a placement in a camp?
- No. After we accept you onto the programme, you’ll need to interview with a camp and be hired by them directly.
- How long after I apply will I hear about my placement?
- You can be placed with a camp at any point up until June 1st, 2017. Don’t worry if you don’t hear from a camp right away, it’s normal for a participant to be hired anywhere between a few days to a few months of being accepted onto the programme.
- What happens after I'm hired?
- We'll assist you with all aspects of the visa process. Shortly before you leave for the summer, there’s a mandatory pre-departure orientation in Dublin to make sure that you are fully prepared.
- When do I leave for camp?
- You’ll leave sometime between May 25 and June 25. Your departure for camp will depend on your camp contract dates, but is generally in mid-June.
- What kind of camp will I be working at?
- The majority of placements are in traditional camps, which could be co-ed or have only female or male campers. All-girls and all-boys camps will usually have both male and female counsellors, and often a brother or sister camp nearby. Depending on your preferences and skills, you could also work at a specialty camp, special needs camp, or camp for disadvantaged youth. You should be as open-minded about your camp as possible.
- Where are the camps located?
- The camps are all across the United States, with most of them located in New England. New England is a region in the North East coast of the US, and some states include Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.
- What can I wear at camp?
- Be sure to always look presentable, with no visible tattoos or piercings. Each camp will have its own policy regarding appropriate clothing at camp. Keep in mind you’ll be running around with kids all day!
- Will I have any time off?
- Yes. Each camp organizes time off differently. You’ll have an average of one day off a week, as well as time off during each day and one or two evenings off during the week.
- Can I smoke or drink at camp?
- No! If you’re caught smoking or drinking on camp property or if you’re intoxicated, you’ll likely be fired, sent home immediately and required to pay full programme fees (Up to $1,700).
- Will I get paid?
- Yes. The amount of pocket money you earn varies based on your age, qualifications, and the type of camp you work in. It will probably be between $750- $1,200. If you are returning to your camp from last year or secure your own placement, you will negotiate your salary directly with the camp.
18 years old $800-$850 19 - 20 years old $900-$1,000 21+ years old $1,000-$1,100
You will earn an additional $100 if you are lifeguard certified.
You will earn an additional $100 if you work at a Special Needs camp.
Counsellors who are hired as senior staff sometimes receive additional pocket money at the discretion of the camp.
- Do I pay for my food and accommodation?
- No. Room and board is provided by the camp.
- How much does it cost?
Click here to see a breakdown of costs.
- What's included?
- Transatlantic flight
- J1 Camp Counsellor Visa
- Placement at a high-quality, accredited summer camp in the US based on the needs of the camp and your unique skills and experience
- Pocket money at the end of camp - $750-$1200
- Food & Accommodation at Summer Camp
- Full training at camp with fellow international and American counsellors to get you ready for your campers
- 24/7 in-country support for peace of mind while you’re in the US!
- A Pre-departure orientation in Ireland in order to prepare you for a successful experience in the US
- Are there any other costs?
- Yes, in addition to the programme fee, you’ll be responsible for getting a medical, your interview with the US Embassy, and possibly supplementary travel costs if your camp is not located in New England. You will also need to be Garda Vetted, which is the highest criminal background check in Ireland and required to work in a summer camp.
- What does my insurance cover?
- Your insurance covers medical, dental, travel, and life insurance for your work period. Please refer to the "Insurance" section of your participant handbook for full details of coverage.
- I have a problem at camp. Who should I ask for help?
- You should ask your immediate supervisors or your camp director first, as they are in the best position to provide assistance. If this doesn’t result in a solution, call your sponsor for assistance. We don’t recommend contacting friends or family in your home country as it’s very difficult for them to help from so far away.
- I have a family emergency and need to return home immediately. What do I do?
- Call your sponsor immediately for assistance. You will also need to contact USIT to change your flight. Depending on the nature of the emergency, your flight may be covered by insurance.
- I have to leave camp before the end of my contract. What happens now?
- Call your sponsor immediately to explain the situation and why you need to leave camp. You will be responsible for any costs that would have otherwise been paid by your camp.