So you're interested in working at camp, but you'd like to know a lot more? Here are some frequently asked questions (and their answers!) to help you understand the nuts and bolts of working at summer camp. Want to see the job description for a specific position? Email Megan Sweeney, Camp Programs Coordinator.
Keep an eye on this page for additional updates about our initial COVID-19 adaptive plans and how they may affect staff expectations for the 2021 season.
Changes for Summer 2021 (as of Feb. 19, 2021):
- For the health and safety of our staff, campers, and families, capacity is reduced to 50% this summer. That means, 50% fewer campers at camp each week, and about 50% fewer staff. Capacity may be increased as we get closer to the summer if regulations allow.
- Cabin group size has been reduced for some programs, currently capped at 6-8 campers per cabin.
- Some of our usual programs will not be offered this year or have been adapted to meet current restrictions. This includes offering a shortened and reduced capacity Mini Summer Respite August 8-10.
We follow the guidance of the State of Maryland, and we may be required to make a few changes to the atmosphere of camp. This will likely include wearing masks for parts of the day, like times when you're indoors, or outdoors when physical distance can't be maintained; distancing from campers and staff in other programs/family groups; and daily health checks. This may include restrictions on off-site time off, distancing from campers and staff in other cabins, required Covid-19 testing prior to reporting to camp, or a 10-day quarantine period (best described as a self-imposed restriction on interactions with others) prior to reporting to camp.
Pecometh's mission is to provide sanctuary for Christian hospitality & programming that promote God-inspired, life-changing experiences through camp & retreat ministries. While we don't require staff to identify as Christian, we expect enthusiastic and open-minded participation in all aspects of our Christian community: singing grace at every meal, singing/dancing to Christian kids worship music, encouraging campers to participate in Bible study & prayer by modeling active engagement and leadership, demonstrating good stewardship of the natural world, and upholding Christian moral values. We are an inclusive and affirming Christian community - we do not discriminate based on race, gender, sexual identity, national origin or church affiliation.
Every staff role also includes kind and empathetic communication/engagement with children and youth, setting clear boundaries by teaching and enforcing camp rules and procedures, working cooperatively with fellow staff, being willing to look and act a little silly sometimes (like by dressing up for theme activities and singing goofy kids' songs, for example), taking care of oneself in order to care for others, and contributing to the overall mission by sometimes doing tasks that aren't explicitly listed in your job description.
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, campers are typically in bed between 9-10 pm.
Do I have any free time? Staff typically have free time from camper “Lights Out” between 9:00-10:00 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. **Weekend rules for 2021 may change based on requirements and recommendations from the state of Maryland. If staff are asked to remain on camp between sessions, you better believe we're going to do the best we can to make it fun and full of opportunities to relax and recharge.
Do I get any other 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:
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. **Based on requirements and recommendations from the state of Maryland, off-site time off may not be available for the 2021 camp season or may come with restrictions.
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.
What and when will I be paid? Pay varies by position, qualifications, and length of contract - see this year's pay scale here. Base pay for all first year Domestic staff (those already with US work eligibility and not sponsored or recruited by an agency) is $260/week; first year International staff (those with sponsored J-1 visas or recruited by an agency) are paid in accordance with their agency's "pocket money" determination.
Paydays are every other Friday; direct deposit is strongly preferred. All contracts include at least 1 week of paid training plus room & board.
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 6-8 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. All-gender bathrooms are available at the Health Center, Dining Hall, 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 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. 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 list "Ocarina" 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 the first and last day of each session, most often 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 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.
How do staff maintain physical and mental health at camp? Staff need to stay physically and mentally healthy: the summer is not a sprint; it's a marathon! On top of that, it's important to model these things for our campers. Personal hygiene, balanced eating, and good sleep habits are essential parts of maintaining your health.
What are your policies regarding drug, tobacco, and alcohol use? Our policies are designed with the law and the safety of staff and campers in mind. While respecting the independence of its community members, Pecometh requires that staff and campers comply with local and federal laws, including those that govern use of alcohol and other drugs. Pecometh Camp & Retreat Ministries has no ability or authority to shield individuals from prosecution under federal, state, or local law.
Reasons why working at camp this summer may not be for you:
You cannot attend mandatory training dates for your desired position, including all of staff training week. You cannot commit to working overnight every week from Sunday through Friday. You will not be able to commit to at least 6 weeks of work this summer due to other obligations. You cannot live without your cell phone/tablet/other electronic device. You are unable to live in the rustic, fast-paced, and interactive environment described due to physical or mental health requirements that cannot be met with reasonable accommodation, or due to personal preference. 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 hate fun.
Ready for some God-inspired, life-changing experiences?