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Happy campers

Summer camps US

If you go down to the woods today. You’ll find one of the highest camp salaries, included meals and accommodation, and an all-America summer doing a job that matters.

Fancy a yarn? 

Let's talk

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A group of campers stand in the sun next to a lake waving America, Australian and UK flags

Is it for me?

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18-30 years

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No need to be a student

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Most nationalities

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8-12 weeks (Jun-Sep)

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Min. USD $2,000 salary

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30 days after to travel

$799

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What he said

"Watching your campers grow over the years is the most rewarding feeling ever.”

Niall, JENZA roadtester

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Spilling the iced tea

Summer Camp USA | $799

We provide the J-1 visa support, sponsorship and camp placement to have an unforgettable summer working overseas in the States. Earn money, explore America, shape lives.

As American as apple pie, summer camps in America open their gates to thousands of children and teenagers every June/July. Each year, Camp Directors hire likeminded 18-30 year olds from all over the world to help run the camps. From coaching tennis to teaching music or just being a general role model/older sibling/support network for your campers – it's the chance to live in incredible locations, build lifetime friendships and make a difference.

We’re not going to sugar coat it, camp is hard work. You’ve got to want to work with children, love the outdoors, and be mostly okay with shaving foam pies and/or water bombs to the face. But watching your campers grow in confidence and self-esteem, while also growing yourself? That’s a summer you won't find anywhere else.

Whether you’re a camp first-timer or camp returner, we help take care of everything.

To work at an American summer camp, you need a J-1 cultural exchange visa. This allows you to work at camp for up to nine weeks between Jun-Aug (depending on your camp dates), plus travel for 30 days afterwards. (Honks loudly to the sound of a USA trip).

In order to apply for a J-1 visa, you need to have a US sponsor. That’s where JENZA and our US partner CIEE (the longest running non-profit sponsor in America) come in to provide all the necessary checks and paperwork.

The J-1 visa consists of an online application and an in-person visa appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate. The visa cost is currently USD $160 – paid directly to the embassy.

Most passport holders can apply for camp. You just need to be:

  • Aged 18-30
  • Able to fly to the USA before 20 June 2023
  • Able to commit to the whole camp season, usually 8-12 weeks
  • Be a fluent English speaker with no criminal history
  • Must have some prior experience working with children or young adults. (Don’t overthink this – most people will have experience without realising, so make sure you talk to us)
  • Must have a passport that’s valid for at least six months beyond your stay with a free double page for your paper visa
  • Must have proof of an onward flight from the USA
  • Must be able to provide proof of supporting funds, usually USD $800 in the form of a bank statement

Confused? Our JENZA Support Squad are here to guide you through it step by step.

Types of camps We work with 300 camps in 30 states, including Private Camps, Non-profit Camps, Disability Camps, Girl Scout Camps and Religious Camps. While each American summer camp has its own identity, what ties them all together is the sense of community and connection with nature. Living at camp, you’ll have a front row seat onto the some of the most breathtaking scenery in America – usually with 1-2 days off a week to explore.

Jobs at camp As early as November, camps will start recruiting for Camp Counsellors, Activity Specialists and Disability Camp Counsellors – or a hybrid role where you do a bit of everything. It’s an opportunity to grow your skills, turn your hobby into a paid job and spend the summer doing what you love – whether that’s teaching soccer, basketball, watersports, climbing, horseriding, gymnastics, theatre, art, drama, rock band and everything in-between.

Accommodation and food is included at camp. Plus, we have one of the highest first-timer salaries – at least USD $2,000 for the summer.

1. Apply online First, check you’re eligible in the tab above, pay your deposit, and wait for one of our team to get in touch to set up a non-scary video interview. This is a visa requirement to assess your suitability for the J-1 cultural exchange program.

2. Land a job We’ll set you up on the Camp Connect portal where you’ll fill out a profile. Camp Directors can contact you for video interviews, and vice versa. Plus, we have regular virtual hiring events where you can connect face-to-camera with camps.

3. Sponsorship application Once hired, we’ll start the sponsorship process to secure your DS2019 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor status) which is needed to apply for your visa. This can take up to eight weeks. We’ll then guide you through the J-1 visa application process.

4. Embassy interview We’ll help you arrange and prepare for your in-person embassy interview. Be prepared for them to keep your passport for around two weeks. Once approved, you can collect your passport or have it couriered – depending on what you’ve arranged.

5. Living room dance Virtual high fives with the team and other Jen-setters going to camp on your pre-departure group call. We host a live FAQ to answer all your questions. Plus, loop you up with other travellers going to camp via our JENZA Discord group chats.

What's included

Everything you need to get hired, get your visa and get on the plane – with one-on-one support from people who’ve been.

Sponsorship  A large part of your program cost goes towards providing the sponsorship you need to work in the States. Together with our US partner, we do all the checks and provide all the paperwork you need to work in America. We also include your SEVIS government fee.

Visa Unfortunately, the US government doesn’t allow us to apply for your J-1 visa on your behalf. However, we’re with you every step of the way – with all the guidance, forms and prep you need to apply for your visa and nail your embassy interview.

You can’t apply for your J-1 visa until you have a position at camp secured. Here’s how JENZA gets the job done.

With most camp providers, you go into a placement pool where you’re picked up by a camp – giving you little or no control over where you end up. This was never going to work for us.

JENZA is one of the only summer camp providers to put you in control. The Camp Connect platform allows you to view positions, pitch yourself to Camp Directors and request video interviews for the roles you want. Plus, we have regular virtual hiring events where you can connect directly with camps.

There's no expensive train fares to hiring events, or even getting dressed from the waist down if you don’t want to. (Please do this).

Of course, if you’re happy for the travel gods to decide your camp destiny, that's more than cool. You'll go into the placement pool where we know your awesomeness will get picked up by a Camp Director.

Your summer camp ride or die, all our JENZA Support Squad have worked abroad – with some having done summer camp eight times!

As well as being a geeky bunch of travel nerds and visa whisperers, we're also all mental health awareness trained. Which means we know how to connect like humans – not customer service bots.

As well as one-on-one video calls, visa webinars and pre-departure handbooks, we also run a group call with a live Q&A to answer all your camp questions before you go.

You’ll usually fly out to the States mid-June before camp starts, giving you time to do your orientation, get to know your crew and complete any activity specialist training.

Meals and accommodation are included at camp – usually in cabins, bunkhouses, dormitories or permanent tents depending on the camp. Accommodation will either be in staff-only quarters or sharing with your campers.

Camp is like a huge family. But just like any family – there can be highs and lows. As well as being the funnest thing you can do, it’s also one of the most full on. But we’re there for it. You’ll have the support of your Camp Directors, 24/7 support from CIEE (our US-based partners), and your JENZA Support Squad at home.

We include medical insurance during your camp placement, and a SIM card so that you can stay in touch.

When you arrive at camp, the camp staff will also help you to sort your Social Security number and US bank account. (If required).

Free (or close to free) stuff Our favourite F word. Score hundreds of overseas discounts with our virtual JENZA X IYTC card.

Earn extra cash Shot it? Share it. We pay for blogs, vlogs, images and videos. DM us on Insta and send us a pitch.

Ask an alumni  Hear from people who've been. We try to have an alumni on every pre-departure call to answer all your questions.

Find a friend Meet people like you. Connect with travellers arriving at the same time on our JENZA Discord group chats.

Book now pay later

  • Deposit of $100 due at the time of application
  • Second payment of $335 due after your camp interview with us
  • Final payment of $364 due once you’re hired and before we start your sponsorship application

    About our pricing Our mission is to make working abroad more accessible. Meaning we do everything we can to pay our team, support our partners and make a profit – without screwing over the people who matter. Read about how our pricing works and the people involved in making your JENZA happen.

We also walk the walk, donating 5% of profits to our overseas scholarship fund.

What’s not included

US visa fee

This is paid directly to the US Embassy and currently costs USD $160 (+ an additional $105 for Australia passport holders.)

Support funds

You may be required to show proof that you can access USD $800.

Travel insurance for camp

We include medical insurance during your camp placement, but you must take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover against the rest of your trip. For example, flight delays, cancellation and curtailment, personal belongings, legal costs, adventure sports, and more.

Flights

We don’t recommend booking flights until your visa is approved.

Two young female camp counsellors walk towards a lake wrapped in a Camp flag
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We know what you did last summer

You never forget your first time.

Over 50% of travellers return to camp each year. If you’re in that camp, we make the sponsorship process for camp returners simple. Give us a call to find out more.

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What summer camp jobs can you do

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Role model material

View all

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Where to go to camp

Coming to America

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Good job!

Career bootcamp

Future employers love to see summer camp on a resume. It shows you have the confidence to live and work abroad, can think on your feet, and have next level leadership and teamwork skills.

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The JENZA blog

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All the inspo and intel on camplife

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Summer camp / USA

Where and what you can do at summer camp in America

Hannah Jeffery

Rewarding work, epic locations and unlimited s’mores. There’s a reason why summer is our favourite season.

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USA / Summer Camp

My advice to summer camp USA first timers

Amy Wilson

Team talk from our Promotions Exec Amy on pre-camp nerves, friendships and two summers working at camp.

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Travel guide / Summer camp

Which summer camps in America are the best?

Hannah Jeffery

It’s a camp off! Our JENZA staff are raising the flag for the summer camps they’ve worked at.

More ways to make it in America

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Did someone say ‘gap decade?’

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