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Interview with Niamh Neylon, the Irish Consul, about studying and living in Ireland

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There are two main types of Summer Camp USA counsellor:

  • Specialist counsellors require qualifications or skills in a particular field or activity.
  • General counsellors need experience of working with children in a leadership role. Nearly all Summer Camp USA participants act as general counsellors in some capacity, even those who also have specialist duties
Counsellors generally live in a cabin of about 3-8 children and will take responsibility for them along with other counsellors. The camp director will expect you to set a good example, ensuring that the children keep themselves and the cabin clean and that they eat their food and follow the camp routine.
Your ’counsel’ to the children may include dealing with homesickness and personal problems and you’ll need to be a mature friend and impartial adviser. Earning the children’s respect can be difficult if you show signs of weakness or indecisiveness, so it is vital you should be sure of the qualities and strengths of your own personality before applying to the program.
The counsellors we place are generally euphoric about their camp experience mainly because they are flexible and positive enough to adapt to foreign situations and philosophies. It’s the hardest job you’ll ever love!
Is Summer Camp for you?
  • Do you like children? Have you enjoyed being with children in a leadership role?
  • Are you energetic, tolerant, adaptable, willing to work hard, conscientious, cheerful, physically able to do the job, able to live within camp rules such as curfews, or limitations on alcohol consumption and smoking?
  • Can you leave for the USA in May to early June and no later than mid-June? The earlier you can leave, the better. Are you ready to make a commitment to a camp for 8-10 weeks?
  • Will you be at least 18 by 1st June 2010? If you are 18 years old and can offer some expertise in an in-demand activity area and have good experience of working with children, you are also encouraged to apply.
  • Can you speak English fluently?
  • Will you feel at home in an open-air, active, outdoors environment?
  • Are you able to teach, or assist in, at least one of the camp activities?
  • Do you have a full, valid passport? If not, please apply for one now
  • You must be eligible for a US visa. If you know of any reason why a visa may not be granted, you should not apply
  • It is important that you remain contactable during the entire application process so that we can easily get in touch with you for visa questions, contracts or flight bookings. Summer Camp USA requires that you attend a pre-departure orientation and that your application for the J-1 visa is processed in your country of origin.
This program is not a holiday in North America. It’s for you to spend a fun and worthwhile summer working with children. It can be hard work with long hours, but for most participants, it’s hugely rewarding and enjoyable if you’re prepared to throw yourself into the spirit of camp life.
You should however be prepared for isolated camps where your social life may be limited on evenings off, rules and regulations including curfew and restrictions on alcohol consumption, difficult children, the ’rah rah’ atmosphere on camp, bugs, mosquitoes and possibly rustic conditions, doing a job other than the one you were assigned to or being asked to assist in another area.
It’s a tough job but if you’re the right sort of person, it could be the most challenging, skill-enhancing, fun and incredibly rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.

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