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Book now with a deposit for summer '25

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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

'24 camp applications have closed. Lock in Summer Camp USA '25 now at 2024 prices!

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Pitch perfect

Why do summer camp US?

Reasons to turn your winter sunny side up and decamp to the States. 1. Spend nine weeks living in amazing wilderness locations, with 30 days afterwards to travel. 2. Give your resume a serious bootcamp with a ton of leadership and teamwork skills. 3. Do what makes you happy – from coaching sports to teaching crafts. 4. Understand what the third 'F’ in BFF stands for. 5. Positively impact the lives of children and young adults.

The Jenza difference

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Roadtested experiences

Hear from travellers who’ve been there and worn the ‘Staff’ tee. Our roadtesters trial and shape every JENZA experience to ensure it serves our travel community first.

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Highest salaries

We have one of the lowest program costs and highest first-timer salaries – minimum USD $2,000. Plus, with meals and digs included, you’ll usually save money at camp.

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Camp matching

We’re one of the only summer camp providers where you can directly connect with camps and pitch for the roles you want. Make your own luck, instead of taking potluck.

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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

$849

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What they said

"We get to work with kids every day, be in the sun, be in the water, it's a dream job."

Hannah, JENZA roadtester

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Spilling the iced tea

Summer Camp USA | $849

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 paid directly to the embassy – see 'What's not included' below for the current fee.

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

  • Aged 18-30
  • Able to fly to the USA before 20 June 2025
  • 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.

Summer Camp USA applications for 2024 have now closed. Book now for summer '25 to lock in the ultimate summer job working at camp.

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.

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 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.

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’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 $414 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. Find out 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 Embassy fee

This is paid directly to the US Embassy and currently costs USD $185 (+ an additional $215 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.

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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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S'mores and more

Why go to summer camp in America?

The summer camp USA program was originally founded to help prevent conflict by connecting cultures and bringing young people together to work side-by-side. Today, these values of inclusion and community have never more important – and are the centre of every camp experience.

Picked for their location, ethos and the experience they offer for staff and campers – all the camps we work with are accredited by the American Camps Association (ACA). A summer of lakeside swims and campfire nights, it’s all about getting back to nature and the things that matter. (S’mores – but mostly the friendship and inclusion thing).

#Team talk

Where to go to summer camp?

We work with hundreds of summer camps from Cali to Connecticut. Our most asked question is: ‘where should I go to camp?’. And our answer is always the same: whichever summer camp in America you choose, you’ll come away thinking your camp was the best. And probably return next year – complete with a camp tattoo. (Just ask our 22/23 summer camp roadtester, Niall).

The reality is, it’s summer, so it should be hot and sunny everywhere. And every camp is located in amazing wilderness locations. So connect with a summer camp that best fits your interests - not a US state that hits your bucket list. Save that for your travels after camp.

Meet our Camp Insiders!

Inside story on summer camp

What's summer camp in America actually like? Why live in the woods for two months? And why is everyone always covered in neon paint? Just some of the questions our JENZA Camp Insiders will be answering between now and summer '24. Here's Camp Insider Sophie: on swapping Melbourne for Maine, second guessing herself, and then realising camp was the best decision she’d ever made. Ahh, we love a happy ending. Find out more to watch all our Camp Insider videos.

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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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Need to know / Summer camp

5 tried and tested tips to help you get hired at summer camp

Victoria Whitehouse

Want a cheat sheet on how to land that summer camp job in 2024? Happy camper Victoria is here to help...

You shaped travel

What our summer camp roadtester had to say

All JENZA experiences are roadtested first. Because if it didn’t fly with our roadtesters, it sure as heck isn't going to fly with you.

Meet Hannah, our Summer Camp USA roadtester. Who left Oz for a summer working on the water as a lifeguard and boat driver at camp in America. Here's her shakedown of summer camp '23 - from first day nerves, to making friends, to wishing she'd applied earlier to get those cheaper flight deals! (top airfare hack).

Roadtester Banner - Niall (Summer Camp USA)
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Our roadtester community

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

Niall, 2022/23 JENZA roadtester

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Who you gonna call?

Let's talk Summer Camp USA

Get some facetime with our amazing JENZA Support Squad. When they’re not posing for pool pics, they’re making your work aboard adventures happen with their endless enthusiasm and mad traveller skills. These include: parent whispering, visa geekery and the ability to pack a backpack in 30 seconds flat.

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Got a question? We've got answers.

Not found what you're looking for? Hit 'Ask a question' on this page and one of our JENZA Support Squad will come back to you.
Summer camp runs for around nine weeks each summer, between May/June and mid-August. Applications usually close around March/April.
Summer camps happen each year over America’s summer school holidays, which are longer than in most countries. Therefore, arrival dates are set between 1st May and 20th June and you must be available for a minimum of nine weeks. Preference is often given to applicants who are available at an earlier date and for longer periods of time, so for the best chance of securing a placement, make sure you are open and flexible.
After filling in your online application and paying your deposit, one of our team will be in touch to arrange a coaching session with one of our Camp Counsellor Coaches. At the interview, you'll be asked about your skills, interests and recent experience working with children.
The majority of our camps are based on the East Coast, but we work with close to 300 camps across the United States. We have a placement team in America who propose your application to camps based on their needs plus your skillset and experience. We also have our Camp Connect platform where you can go onto the platform, look at what positions are available, and request interviews with the Camp Directors.
The summer camp USA hiring season runs from around October until May each year. However, January and February are usually when the Camp Directors are most active in the hiring process. To ensure the best chance of getting a placement, you must apply early. To be in the placement pool you must have submitted two references and paid your second instalment.
Camp placements are given based on your skills, childcare experience and availability. On your application, you’ll be able to select which camp types you’d ideally like to work at, and you’ll be able to put your chosen camps on ‘review’ to see if they would like to interview you for a role. Camps may also put you on review, and you’ll have the opportunity to accept or decline the interview with each camp. We recommend that you accept any interview a Camp Director offers you, as this will give you extra interview practise, plus you may end up falling in love with a camp you hadn’t heard of before. However, please be aware that although we have a 99% placement rate, getting hired is not guaranteed and is dependent on your interview.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept joint applicants as each placement is based on individual skills, experience and background. Your online application is viewed individually on a database where Camp Directors are usually looking for a specific skill, activity or applicant.

The best way to get placed together is to either attend one of our virtual hiring events, where you can meet and connect with Camp Directors. Or let our team know that you're looking to go to the same camp, and if both of your skills match that camp, they can add a note to your booking. However, being placed together is never guaranteed.

What we would say, is that while travelling alone can be intimidating, you’ll be in a supported environment where everyone is in the same boat. In your camp bubble, friends fast become your camp family. And for most of our travellers, going to camp alone can be even more rewarding and empowering.

The US government require all applicants to attend an in-person interview where you will leave your passport for your J-1 visa to be processed. The J-1 visa fee is currently USD $185. Depending on where you're applying from and how busy the embassy is - they could have your passport for around two weeks. There may be an additional fee if you wish to have your passport couriered back to your home address rather than to a designated courier location.
Of course! Even though you’re a returner, as you are applying to a new camp you would be applying as a first-timer. This means you would need to have an interview with one of our interviewers and obtain two references to support your application. One of your references must come from your previous camp and your Camp Director must complete the reference form.
As part of the visa process you will need proof of support funds of USD $800.
Working at camp is a great way to experience a completely different culture expereince, make lasting friendships and get to travel a new country. The great thing about camp is once you have finished working you then have 30 days to travel the states with all your new camp friends. You can also explore the local area near your camp on your days off.
Yes, the great thing about camp is you do not need to be a student. As long as you have some previous childcare experience that is great.
  • Pay your deposit, book your coaching session, and begin your online application

  • Pass your coaching session with a member of the JENZA staff.

  • Pay your second instalment payment and submit your online application.

  • Hired! Final payment will then be due.

More ways to make it in America

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Did someone say ‘gap decade?’

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JENZA Travel (NZ) Ltd trading as “JENZA” and “BUNAC” in Australia and New Zealand is a company registered in New Zealand with company number 8177942 and registered address at 336 Broadway Avenue, Palmerston North, 4414, New Zealand.