4 Career Paths to Find While Working at a Summer Camp

By Elise Nelson on July 13, 2017

Summer camp – possibly some of the best days in a child’s life. Kids go away to camp and discover parts of their personality that they never knew existed. If that can happen to campers, what do you think camp employees can discover about themselves?

Even as an adult, it’s not too late to discover yourself at summer camp, because you might not know what you want to do with your life and that’s okay. Here are four career paths that you can find while working at a summer camp.


If you get along well with kids, consider a counseling job at a summer camp for children. You should be prepared to spend a lot of time with them — remember that you will be responsible for everything the kids do. But, this responsibility will give you a chance to dip your toes into the world of teaching.

Image via Pixabay.com

Movies might make it seem as though camp counselors are only supposed to escort the kids from one activity to the next and make sure they don’t get hurt, but there is much more to the job than that. You’ll be tasked with giving your campers a constant balance of education and fun. In some cases, this means working with other counselors to create lesson plans full of activities that will appeal to multiple ages. As a camp counselor, you will be able to practice presenting education to children in an energetic manner that will make them want to learn.

Your sense of creativity and patience will be tested as you come to realize there are several different learning styles that your lessons should cater to. Some students will learn through hands-on approaches, and others will grasp concepts just by listening. If you find that you can recognize these learning styles in your campers and educate them with ease, then a career in teaching might be right for you.

Food service

The kitchen of a summer camp is home to some unique and delicious recipes, from roasted tomato soup to s’mores campfire cones. Working as a line cook at a summer camp will put your culinary skills to the test, and you might discover a hidden love for the food service industry.

Image via Pixabay.com

Cooking at a summer camp will expose you to a sort-of restaurant environment — you’ll be serving a large mass of people, each with different accommodations that need to be met. You’ll have to keep food allergies in mind if you offer recipe ideas. Step away from what you think you would enjoy eating, and consider what the majority would enjoy. This is where your creativity will come in handy. A summer camp is the perfect place to experiment with those fun kids’ recipes you find on Pinterest, or any ideas you have of your own!

Just as a manager in a restaurant must do, you’ll have to ensure that the campers have everything they need for their meal and that you have enough for everyone. You should be able to calmly take care of any problems that a camper might find with their food. Working in a camp kitchen will teach you plenty of management skills that you’ll be able to carry into a future food service career.


If you’re one with nature, you could take on a job as a trip leader at an outdoor camp. A trip leader, as you might guess, “leads groups on expeditions, trips, and outdoor experiences, usually for extended periods,” according to the American Camp Association. You’ll get to teach campers about nature as you experience it in real time, and the job might peak your interest in an environmental science career.

Being a trip leader will give you a chance to share your love of nature with other people. Plus, if you would like to know more about the environment, what better way than to live in it for a few weeks? Plan a boating trip on the river for your campers, and observe some of the fish along the way. Schedule a hike through the woods to check out all the different plants. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn from looking at how nature lives.

Image via Pixabay.com

We live in a world where the environment is often taken for granted. Adventuring through the great outdoors might inspire you to do better. As a trip leader, you might see yourself pursuing studies in environmental sciences like botany, biology, ecology, or zoology.

Hospitality management

A job as an activities planner for a summer camp is perfect for anyone with organization skills. If you’re the friend that draws up an itinerary for every trip, this job would be a dream come true for you, and you might decide you want to study hospitality management.

As an activities planner, you’ll be in charge of how the campers spend their day — everything from waterskiing to making jewelry. You’ll have to ensure that the activities run smoothly, and make sure that the counselors are aware of the plans. Your time management skills will improve greatly from trying to fit so many activities into a day, and it can teach you to be quick on your feet when it comes to solving scheduling issues.

Studying hospitality management can lead to you becoming a hotel manager, restaurant manager, wedding planner, and more. You could even come back to your summer camp as a camp director.

Image via Pixabay.com

This list definitely doesn’t cover the number of career paths you could find while working at a camp. People travel from all over the world to visit some camps, so you never know what connections you’ll make.

If you’d like to work for a summer camp, try to choose one that best suits your interests. Here are seven types of summer camps to work for.

By Elise Nelson

Uloop Writer
Elise is a senior at Albright College in Reading, Pa, studying journalism. She hopes to pursue a career in feature writing and editing for a magazine. Much of Elise's time is dedicated to being Editor-in-Chief of Albright's student newspaper, The Albrightian. She is also a member of Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society, and co-hosts a radio show on WXAC 91.3 FM.

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