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Staff FAQ

Prospective Staff FAQ

 

Thank you for your interest in working at Camp Mishawaka. Working as a camp counselor can be one of the most rewarding, challenging and fun positions you may ever have.

Summer camp provides so many opportunities to make a difference in the life of a child, and Camp Mishawaka takes this responsibility seriously. As such, we seek to hire staff members who share this commitment. I hope the following material gives you more insight into who we are, and what we value.

A few years ago I go into a debate with a college career counselor who advised her students that employers of today are looking for candidates with “real work experience” -and not just a history of being a camp counselor.

If you have ever worked with children, you know that there is no more “real job” than this. Working at camp allows you to explore your own strengths and provides true leadership opportunities. All the skills Counselors learn (and hone) have real world applications, and whether you are considering a career in education or other field, working effectively with people from different backgrounds and areas, as Mishawaka Counselors do, provides an experience that you will be able to draw on for years to come.

What kind of skills do I need?
Of course staff members need to enjoy working with children in a camp setting, but what specific skills are helpful? While expertise in a certain activity area can be very valuable, more important is the example you set for campers. In other words, who you are is more important than what you are. A highly skilled tennis player that can’t help others develop skills in an enjoyable way will not make a good activity leader. Here are some characteristics that make up a good counselor:

  • Knows all campers by name
  • Listens to campers
  • Sits with campers at campfires, skit night and other gatherings
  • Fosters atmosphere of safety and comfort in the cabin
  • Praises campers when they do well
  • Leads by example
  • Offers to help
  • Monitors activities to see that campers are meeting goals (theirs and their parents’)
  • Does nice things for campers and peers
  • Encourages campers to do their best
  • Follows up on promises
  • Monitors camper health and habits (hygiene, clothing, etc.)
  • Engages cabin group in special activities (reads, sings or story time)
  • Checks on campers when asleep
  • Uses “please” and “thank-you”
  • Operates all equipment safely and according to guidelines
  • Is flexible- When plan A does not work, able to switch to plan B
  • Returns borrowed items promptly
  • Does not complain in front of campers– addresses concerns with supervisors
  • Admits to making a mistake, works to correct it
  • Uses humor as a tool when appropriate
  • Respects personal property and space
Are there any certifications I should have?
While it is not always a requirement, certain certifications are helpful to have. A Red Cross certified lifeguard earns a salary bonus, for instance. Any certifications that pertain to activities offered at Mishawaka will be considered bonus pay. While we train all staff members in first aid and CPR, outside training in these areas is also helpful.

How much time off do staff receive?
Arrangements for time off are to be made with the Camp Director and Program Director via a sign-out sheet. Staff members are allowed six (6) 24-hour time periods off and two evenings starting at 6pm over the course of the camp season. Unless special arrangements have been made in advance, these days are not to be taken consecutively. It is intended that these time off periods be taken one per week.

In the event that two or more consecutive days need to be take off (for wedding or other unique family event), arrangements must be made at the time of hiring. In some cases, this time can be taken as a pro-rata deduction from salary, as opposed to using all your time off.

Can I drive my car to camp?
You are welcome to drive to camp and keep your vehicle here. It is expected that the car be used on your time off, or trips to town that are at the direction of the camp. It is also suggested that you do not loan your car to other staff members during your stay. If you do not have a car at camp, we allow you to use a camp vehicle on your days off as long as you coordinate with other staff on a day off and with the Directors.

What is the salary?

Base Salary

  • Full Staff 1st year (completed at least year of college or equivalent: $1,800 for 9 weeks
  • Junior Counselor– High School Graduate $1,200 for 9 weeks
  • Returning staff receive annual increase.

Travel Allowance

Staff are given a travel stipend based on where they live. It is intended to cover the cost of transportation to Camp Mishawaka. Allowance for major cities include: Minneapolis area, $100, Chicago area, $225, Great Plains, Mountain or Mid-Atlantic area, $300, West or East Coast, $400

Certification Reimbursement/Allowance

  • Lifeguard Training $200
  • Water Safety Instructor $200
  • Wilderness First Aid $200
  • Other certifications such as US Sailing, canoe certification or others are taken into consideration on a case by case basis.

* Each year all staff are trained, on-site, in CPR and First Aid. If you are able to enroll in class for any of the above this year, we are often able to provide reimbursement for these costs– upon successful completion and receipt.

Other Considerations

  • Room and Board provided
  • Free Laundry service weekly
  • Little or no outside expenses. You are able to pocket the majority of your wages.
I have more questions.
As you should! Please contact us if you need more information or have any questions about Mishawaka.