Camp Counselor in the USA – What It Takes & Experiences

Petr Novák

Many young people dream of vacationing in America. However, oftentimes, their plans don’t come to fruition due to either a lack of funds or not having a travel companion. One potential solution is a Summer Camp. Cast aside all excuses and consider becoming a camp instructor for overweight children. This experience will not only help you improve your English skills but also equip you with valuable life experiences.

Camp Counselor in the USA – What It Takes & Experiences | © USFWS Mountain-Prairie /, ©

  1. Table of Contents
    1. Weight Loss Summer Camp: The Military Fat Camp
    2. Requirements for a Camp Counselor
    3. Additional Information about the Camp Counselors Program

    Weight Loss Summer Camp: The Military Fat Camp

    There’s a plethora of summer camps across the USA. Besides the traditional ones (where parents typically send their kids during holidays), there exist religious, sports, recreational, and weight loss camps. The latter are sometimes disparagingly called fat camps, though officially they are known as weight loss camps. These camps, ranging from one to four weeks, cater to overweight American children and employ an almost military-like regimen aimed at a single goal – to lose weight.
    Early morning wake-ups, hygiene routines, and a mandatory warm-up before breakfast set the tone for the day. Activities such as running, cycling, gym workouts, dodgeball and other physical exercises are combined with a healthy diet to help the children improve their physical condition and lose weight. To avoid making it seem too harsh, the program also includes field trips for the children, usually to nearby national parks.

    These camps usually run several sessions each summer, lasting around 9 to 11 weeks for a leadership camp.

  2. Requirements for a Camp Counselor

    If you have prior experience working at children’s camps, you shouldn’t encounter too many difficulties working as an instructor in the USA. Be prepared for minor challenges, especially at the start. American boys and girls can be more assertive and boisterous. Some instructors may initially struggle with English, as the kids may not speak clearly. If you’re not confident, I recommend immersing yourself in English-language videos or series.
    Various positions are available at summer camps, ranging from roles with less responsibility to lead instructor, where you’re accountable for a group of children.

    As support staff, you might help with meal preparation, maintaining and cleaning camp facilities, working in the laundry, or perhaps selling items in the camp cafeteria. A more responsible instructor is assigned a group of children, leading them in activities. These could include biking, playing dodgeball, theater, singing… it all depends on the agreement and your personal abilities.

  3. Additional Information about the Camp Counselors Program

    Several companies provide summer camps in the USA. I personally recommend CCUSA, based on favorable references. Accommodation and meals are included, and the pay ranges from $1,200 to $2,600 for the entire stay. The agency fee, visa, and possible airfare expenses are to be paid by you.
    Some of the camps cater to physically disabled Americans. Before you commit, consider carefully whether you’re capable and comfortable working in such a camp. Though it might offer higher pay, the work is demanding.

    Applications for the program close around February each year. If you miss the deadline, there’s always next year.

  4. ❓ Have you spent a summer in the USA as a camp counselor? Could you share your experience with our readers? Please email me. I’d love to hear from you. Thank you. :-)

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