Summer Staff: Frequently Asked Questions
So you're interested in working at camp, but you'd like to know a little more? Here are some frequently asked questions (and their answers!) to help you understand the nuts and bolts of working at summer camp.
When does camp start and end?
- Mandatory Staff Training Week for ALL staff June 9-14, 2019
- Some contracts will end Friday, August 9, 2019
- Many contracts available through August 24, 2019
- Required training for some positions occurs in late May and early June, including Challenge Course, Archery, Boat Driver, Waterfront, and (if not acquired prior to camp) Lifeguard training.
What and when will I be paid? Pay varies by length of contract. Base pay for all first year American staff and other individuals with US work eligibility is $200/week; first year International staff (those with J-1 visas sponsored by an agency) are paid in accordance with their agency's "pocket money" determination.
Staff are paid bi-weekly. All contracts include at least 1 week of paid training plus room & board.
Bonuses are available for staff who acquire Lifeguard certification prior to camp, staff who have completed previous summer contracts, and staff who complete their contract in good standing using no more than their allotted time off.
Please note: If you use our onsite electronic fingerprinting service during staff training week, you will be charged a subsidized fee of $22.50 for electronic fingerprinting (camp pays $50). Paydays are every other Friday; direct deposit is strongly preferred.
What are my normal work hours? Report time is 10:30 am every Sunday, and the week ends Friday afternoon when you are dismissed from Closing Meeting, typically by 5 pm. Breakfast is at 7:30 each morning, all campers are typically in bed before 10 pm, and you must be in bed by 12 each night.
Do I have any free time? Staff typically have free time from camper “Lights Out” around 10:00 pm until curfew at 12:00 am. One night each week, you will be on hill duty during this time. One night each week, you will have a 30 minute meeting during this time.
What about weekends? Staff have most weekends free from approximately 5 pm Friday through 10:30 am Sunday. You may go home or stay on camp on the designated hill for that weekend. Most staff are required to work one weekend per summer; lifeguards are required to work up to two weekends per summer; leadership staff are required to work multiple weekends per summer. Most Saturdays, there are camp-organized optional trips for staff.
Do I get any time off? Requests are preferred prior to the start of your contract, but must be made at least 2 weeks in advance of the time off. Paid time off is allotted as follows:
- 8-9 week contract: 2 paid days off
- 10-13 week contract: 3 paid days off
Additional time off is unpaid. All requests are considered in order of submission and at the discretion of the Camp Programs Coordinator. Time off due to illness or injury is included in the allotted days’ time.
Flexible contracts may be considered on a case by case basis for staff who will require full weeks off during the summer for mission trips, family vacations, etc. These requests MUST be included on your application and discussed prior to contract offers.
Where do I live? Each Friday, you will receive a cabin assignment for the following week. Two staff members (a counselor and a service staffer) will be assigned to each cabin, along with 6-10 campers. Cabins are rustic: they have electricity for fans and lights, but are not air conditioned. Each cabin group, called a hill, has one centrally-located wash house with toilets, sinks, and showers. The wash houses have two sides: one for boys, and one for girls. Non-gendered bathrooms are available at the Health Center and Fellowship Hall.
What is a service staffer? A person camp can't run without! A service staffer is anyone who is not a counselor or on the Leadership Team: lifeguards, maintenance, facilitators, assistants, and instructors. If counselors are "mom" or "dad" for the week, service staffers are the cool "aunt" or "uncle"!
Will I be fed? Of course! Meals are provided throughout the week and on weekends (you must sign up for weekend meals by Tuesday of each week). The dining hall serves up a variety of meals, with healthy options provided. Special dietary needs can often be accommodated if we are notified in advance.
What is your electronics policy? One of the best things about camp is the fact that you can unplug and enjoy nature. Campers are not permitted to bring any electronics with them (and counselors are expected to confiscate any items that are found during the week). Staff serve as role models and should be an example of the "unplugged lifestyle" for campers by refraining from all use of electronics while on duty. Staff are permitted to use their cell phones FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY and may be asked to turn in their electronics during work hours if necessary. You may bring other electronics, but these items may ONLY be used in the staff lounge during time off.
For the musical instrument question on your application, please choose "Bananaphone" in addition to any other instruments you may play to let us know that you read this important information. If you're reading this after applying, mention it in your follow up email.
Do I have a uniform? Yes, for 2 days per week. The rest of the week, you may wear casual clothes professionally appropriate to your job. Complete uniforms are worn on Sundays from 10:30 am through the end of the day and Fridays from breakfast through the end of Closing Meeting. Your staff uniform consists of a staff polo, khaki (solid tan) shorts, and your name button. One staff polo and one name button will be provided to you during staff training week; additional items must be purchased. You must bring your own appropriate khaki shorts (trousers or skirts/skorts may also be worn).
Is there a dress code? A dress code is enforced for practicality and professionalism. Staff are to dress in a manner appropriate to the work which they are doing. Campers and staff are required to wear shoes at all times outside of the pool. Staff are required to wear athletic-style, professional-coverage bathing suits suitable for very active aquatic programming. All clothes should cover all undergarments, including boxers waistbands and bra straps. Clothing should be free of inappropriate or controversial words, slogans and images. As a guide for staff and campers, shorts should be at least thumb-length (3"+ inseam) to allow full range of motion and comfort during camp activities such as active games, sitting on the ground, harnessed activities on the challenge course, etc.
For the purpose of maintaining an appearance that is welcoming to all children and youth, tattoos inappropriate for children and youth should remain covered during the work week. Piercings should be safe and appropriate for an active summer camp lifestyle; supervisors and activity staff may ask you to remove piercings that may pose a safety risk.
Recent tattoos and piercings should be fully healed prior to reporting for camp and new tattoos and piercings should not be acquired during the contract period to maintain personal health and full participation in all camp activities, including both pool and river aquatic activities. Men should be clean-shaven on a daily basis unless they started the summer with facial hair; facial hair must be neat and well-kempt. Personal hygiene is paramount.
What are your policies regarding drug, tobacco, and alcohol use? Illegal drug use or possession (including federally prohibited marijuana) is strictly prohibited on and off camp property and is grounds for immediate dismissal. Camp Pecometh is a tobacco-free zone; smoking and chewing are not permitted anywhere on camp by summer staff, or during camp-sponsored activities off-site. E-cigarettes, juuling, and vaping are also prohibited. Camp Pecometh is alcohol-free; use or possession of alcohol is not permitted by anyone, anywhere on camp, at any time.
State law forbids anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. This law must be observed on and off camp. Staff aged 21 or above who choose to consume alcohol during time off agree to do so only in situations where underage staff are not present nor are likely to be present. No staff members may consume alcohol on camp sponsored trips. No staff members may consume alcohol within 12 hours of reporting to work.
Reasons why working at camp this summer may not be for you:
You will not have graduated high school by June 2019. You cannot attend staff training week (June 9-14, 2019). You cannot commit to working overnight every week from Sunday through Friday. You will not be able to commit to at least 7 weeks of work this summer due to other obligations. You cannot live without your cell phone/tablet/other electronic device. You are uncomfortable with participating in aquatic activities, even when provided with a life jacket. You will have difficulty living in a community setting or adhering to the Christian community standards explained above. You are medically unable or personally unwilling to live in the rustic environment described. You hate fun.
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