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1st time Summer Camp Staff Interview

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My son has an interview this weekend to be on staff at our councils summer camp.


His first choice is to work at the waterfront but that position has an age limit of 17 (Hes 16).

He was told to put this down (by last years Waterfronts directors father) as his first choice as they can have two 16 year old staffers if they dont have enough older scouts apply.

(He was also told that they are short staff this year).


His second choice is archery range assistant.

I think this is neat because my SM when I was a Scout is now retired and goes up to camp every summer and is the archery range director.


He's been to this camp a few time and I went to this camp as a scout but I never worked as summer camp staff.


I think this will be a great opportunity for him.


What advice would you give?


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Ask about camp staff scholarships for when he's out of high school. Our council makes sure EVERY staffer who applies for a staff scholarship gets at least $500 (community college), and if a 4 year school, at least $1000.


Asking about scholarships to me implies he intends to work Scout Camp more than one season.


Of course, if your council doesn't have a camp staff scholarship program...


Ask about uniform expectations. I've equipped EagleSon with about half a dozen pr of BSA shorts, plenty of sox, and more than one belt. There's a staff work uniform, and at certain events staff is expected to turn out in Class A uniform.


Ask about conflicts with school district dates. That was a source of trouble with EagleSon. He ended up serving elsewhere because his first choice camp conflicted with the first day of school in his school district. School trumps Scouting.

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My 15 year old son has already done his interview for Cub resident camp staff and is waiting for a reply by mail. His mother has hired many people over the years and even had to fire a few. She made him sit in her study and do a job interview with her before he went in for the real thing. Some of the things she told him, make eye contact, say maam and sir, smile, be confident and outgoing and answer questions quickly and clearly. At this age, many boys (Scouts included) are uncomfortable around adults, stare at the ground, shrug their shoulders and mumble. I still have major regrets over a kid I helped pass for a Life Scout BOR who should have never passed, but that is another story. The point we were making to our son is that they are looking for an enthusiastic, responsible, caring, experienced scout who has good people skills. Go in with a good scouting record and let those qualities shine thru and the job is probably yours. Act surly, stare at the floor and mumble and you'll probably only be thanked for showing up.

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Have him find out as much as he can about as much as possible before he takes the job.

How much will he be paid?

What time off will he get?

When is he expected to be where and wearing what?

If these sound a little daffy? They are things that we have had problems with at camp with people on staff.

Make him aware that he enters into an agreement that states how much he will be paid. It's his choice if he is willing to take it or not. If he agrees it doesn't matter what other people are being paid.


As for the interview, it is a great learning experience for a young fellow.

He needs to go looking neat and clean. Remove any body piercings.

Sound enthusiastic about wanting the job.

Be honest.

Don't be shy.

Remember he is selling himself not his Dad!!

Make the interviewer aware of any special needs he might have or commitments that have been made that might interfere with him being at camp for the entire camp.

Be polite.

Remember to breathe!!

That along with a few prayers and I'm sure he'll be fine.


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I'll echo what the others have said about being enthusiatic. I am the program director for our summer camp. We hire about 150 per summer, and I conduct most of the interviews.


With interviews lasting about 15 minutes each, I make my mind up in the first 3 to 4 minutes what area they would best fit in - based on maturity, enthusiam, eye contact, handshake, dress and initial verbal responses.


Sometimes, I slot a kid in because of their availability or schedule. We run a 10 week program. Many high school age youth have band camp, church camp, mission trips, vacations, Philmont, etc - so can only work a few weeks, then off a few, then back a few, etc. If a youth can work all summer, I would put him in an area that he wants ( like aquatics ) over another youth with a split schedule, because it means I have to backfill that position. Nothing against the scout, but just our need.


I just finished interviewing 25 scouts last week, and many gave one word answers, looked down, weren't sure how to shake hands, etc.


One kid ( 16 ) walked in - stuck out his left hand - and said "I'm going to give you the scout handshake" He then gave me a 30 sec recap of his application and why he wanted to work where he did. Interview lasted about 10 minutes and off he went. I'll definitely use him this summer


Another kid ( 18 ) - just the opposite. Came in, had his hands in his pockets, mumbled, etc. It was like pulling teeth to talk with him.



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One thing about this interview that I am not sure of is that they have requested that Mom or I be there.


I think it may be beacuse they want to be sure that both him and I understand that our camp is a long drive and he needs to stay the whole summer.

It is also very remote and even though they take staff into town a couple of times and once he's there he really has no where to go.


My wife has jokingly asked if I think he can live a whole summer without his cell phone and video games.


But I guess in todays world that might not be all that uncommon.

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As with any job interview, I would be sure that he is prepared to talk about what he can do for them, what he brings to the job and how, as a staff member, he will improve the camp and the camping experience for the Scouts. Even items like saying "I would plan to be in clean correct uniform and be an example of good uniforming" would help convince the hiring manager that his head is in the right place.


If he wants to do aquatics, he should be prepared to say why. What does he bring to aquatics? If archery, the same. What does he bring to archery? If he plans to learn about them, that's fine. But he should have had some experiences with aquatics/archery in the past and might be able to say "I had a great time at aquatics in camp, but I was wondering if the waterfront might be even better if we XXXXXXXX." Not with arrogance, but with the attitude that he wants to be a member of the team making things better.


As a boy, I interviewed twice for summer camp staff, which I REALLY wanted to do and was not selected either time. It was a great disappointment for me. On the other hand, my daughter was archery director of our council's summer camp one year and had a great time.

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Does your son have his BSA Lifeguard certificate, or ARC Lifesaving training? If he does I'll bet they will definitely be checking him

out real good. I would rather be hiring a 16y/o or even a mature 15 y/o with the training then an over 17 without it.


When our Council camp guys found out that my oldest had his ARC Lifesaving and Waterfront training and was working year round as a city lifeguard, the two years he attended summer-camp, they were all over him to come back to camp to work the waterfront. They didn't care how old he was. He had the maturity and the training they needed, and were willing to let him challenge the BSA Lieguard test and test out immediately. Unfortunately, the city was already paying him $9 to $10 per hour, 40 hours per week during the summer, and Council of coures was not able to even come close to that.

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Yes, he has BSA Lifeguard, Professional Rescuer CPR certification and Red Cross Basic First Aid certification (all required in NYS to be a Lifeguard).

To be hired as a Full-time life guard you need to be 17 and hes only 16.


My son had his interview yesterday.

Because he is a first year staffer they require that he works 1/2 the time in a program area and 1/2 the time in a service area.

They want first year campers to see both sides of camp staff, not get bored in one position and they feel it helps return staff so if someone takes a job in a postion they dont like they wont be in it all summer.


The two people giving the interview really pushed working as kitchen staff and commissary staff. (The camp has both patrol cooking and a dining hall option).


When they asked him were he was interested in working he did say the waterfront and he was told that they only had one opening for a 16 year old Aquatic staffer and that was usually offered to a returning staff member.


He was offered a position working in the Trading Post for the first half of camp which was his first choice in the service area.

After looking at the schedule they found that they hadnt filled the one Aquatic staff position for the second half of camp so was offered the waterfront.


I was asked to sit in the interview because they wanted me to be sure I knew how remote and isolated the camp is and that my son will pretty much need to bring everything he needs as there is not a short drive into town (over an hour) if he forgets something.




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Interesting concept - staff splitting time between program and service areas. Does anyone know if this is a common practice?


In the mid-90s, when I worked on program staff at Henson Scout Reservation/Camp Nanticoke in Maryland, program staff worked in program areas and service staff worked in service areas. Since we split our summer between Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, there was some reshuffling of program staff for Cubs - younger instructors and CITs became "program specialists" paired with Cub packs.


It seems like the program/service split is a very smart way for camps to fill the service positions, which are often the last glamorous. (Who wants to scrub pots and be a cash register jockey when you could be lighting campfires, tossing ring buoys or climbing walls?)


The experience, if shared by most senior staffers who've risen through the ranks, could be a good bonding one, though - "Remember when we spilled the hot sauce into that vat of eggs-in-a-bag?"


Well, I started out this post not liking the sound of that particular way of doing things, but now it sounds kind of good!


Dan from Delaware

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At our summer camp, the CITs, or Lead Scouts as they are called, are rotated through several different program and service areas during their tenure as a Lead Scout. This is done so the scout and staff can see what they like, where their interests are, and what their good at. If they choose to move onto become paid staff, they have a broader exposure to staff activities and can better choose what they want and camp mananagment has a better idea of where they might best fit or in some cases not fit at all.



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No matter the position hired for, in every camp staff app there is a clause which reads "other duties as assigned".


Be prepared to accept these assignments, some can be miserables (cleaning out rotted garbage in the bear proof trash barn), and some can be downright fun (filling in at another program area, and learning new stuff).


It's all about attitude, and turning every task into an adventure of gaining new skills...just remember, your Director, the CD, and the PD will be watching. Getting an invite from them at the end of camp to be on staff for the next year tells you you've done good....


Have fun, the best of luck your way..

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EagleSon staffs our Council's Bear Family Overnight Camp program on the Theodore Naish Scout Reservation. He has duties which are program in nature, and he has duties which are service in nature. He does some of both every workday he's on property.

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