American Summer Camps looking for Irish staff

“If you have a thirst for adventure, passion for the outdoors, a great sense of humour and love the water, sports, arts, performing or extreme sports then Summer Camp is potentially a perfect fit; a life changer for you” said Sarah McFeely. Sarah worked at International Sports Training Camp in North East Pennsylvania as a Flying Trapeze instructor. “Summer Camp has truly changed my life and career”. Sarah first went to camp during her summer break from the University of Leeds in 2008. Although having studied Law, she now works for the company that sent her on her first dream job. “CCUSA (Camp Counselors USA) are a massive operation in England and around the rest of the world. When I got home to Derry I had so many people asking me how I got into working at camp and how they could do the same. I soon found that there wasn’t the same level of knowledge among the young people here about how to take advantage of this life changing opportunity.”


Sarah approached the director of CCUSA in London and pitched the idea of bringing the company to Ireland, to reach young people North and South of the border. “With it becoming more and more difficult for students to get work during their summer breaks from school I knew that there would be a massive interest in camp. It takes a certain type of person to work at camp. Camp directors are always looking for people who have skills and hobbies to teach and pass on to the American kids. They look for everything from sports coaches to drama teachers to lifeguards. I felt there was a lot of untapped talent that would be snapped up by American camps.” Within a month of her first email, Sarah was in touch with CCUSA’s Global Director of PR in San Francisco and was offered to run the marketing campaign for Ireland. “Camp directors love hiring Irish staff. I’ve had requests from camp directors that will say they specifically want Irish culinary students to work for them, or they want Irish sports students to coach the kids at their camp for the summer.”


If you haven’t seen the movies or TV shows, going to summer camp as a child in America is a tradition that is as deep-rooted as baseball and apple pie. American children have all their schools holidays for the year between June and August, so families need something for their kids to do for 3 months. This means every summer over 10 million American children pack their bags for camp. “There are so many camps across America but we only work with the top 900 and all the camps are American Camp Association approved, so our applicants and their families will have peace of mind when applying knowing that they will be in a safe environment for the summer.”


Working at camp also affords camp staff the opportunity to travel after their summer of hard work. “The visa allows you to travel around the States for 30 days after you finish working. I’ve been to so many states and been to so many places that you wouldn’t normally go to if you just went on holiday to America. I even did a road trip from New York to LA through the southern states. That was definitely a dream come true.”


Sarah has been working since September 2013 to recruit young people from all areas of the country to work at camp this year.  “It really has been amazing, I tallied up that between September and December I travelled over 3000 miles around Ireland on campus visits. That’s the same distance between New York and Dublin.” And she says that her hunch about Irish interest has been right. “Because of the massive increase in numbers we have been able to host our second annual Camp Directors Hiring Fair in Dublin in January. Camp Directors came to Dublin from America to hire our applicants on the spot. It was quite overwhelming to think that all those hours spent on bumpy roads was all worthwhile.”


“I feel very lucky to be in the position that I’m in right now. The job market is tough at the moment, especially for young people. I know so many people who have moved to Australia to work and travel. This is a way to get the same experience without moving half way around the world. I’ve had great support and feedback from my colleagues in our head office in San Francisco and around the world. I’d recommend camp to anyone, you never know where it might lead you!”


Camp Counselors USA (CCUSA) is not only entrusted by Summer Camps in America to find great staff for camps across the USA, but is also designated by the US Department of State as the J1 Camp Counselor Visa Sponsor.



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