Eligibility

Am I eligible?

You can apply for the program if:

  • You are a native English speaker or fluent in English
  • You have lots of experience working with children
  • You're 18-30 years old
  • You can be at camp no later than June 20th and stay for at least 8-10 weeks

You can still apply if you're 17, but you must turn 18 before 1st June 2021. If you meet those requirements and are looking for an amazing experience this summer, then apply here!

What skills and/or experience do I need to have?
The most important skills are that you're great with kids, lots of fun, and up for the challenge. You should have experience working with children, but it doesn't ned to be formal teaching experience. You should also have a specialised skill that you can teach, because most counselors are hired as activity instructors. For a list of common activities that you could specialise in, please click here.
can I still apply if I can't commit to ten weeks of work?
Yes. Some placements last 8 weeks, but at a minimum you'll need to be free from June 20th to August 6th. Keep in mind that the more time you can commit, the more likely your chance of getting hired.
I have a criminal conviction, am I eligible?
Unfortunately not.

Visa Information

What is my visa?
You'll travel to America on a J1 Camp Counselor visa. This will entitle you to work in an American summer camp and then travel across the country for up to 30 days, but keep in mind that you can't work during the 30 day travel period.
What is a DS-2019 form?
A DS-2019 form is your cultural exchange visa paperwork, which shows your eligibility for a J-1 visa. We'll provide you with this form.
What is SEVIS?
SEVIS stands for the Student Exchange Visitor Information System used by the U.S. Department of State. It tracks everyone travelling to the U.S. on an exchange visa. Don't worry - it's easy to apply for and we'll provide you with a receipt to show you've paid the fee.

Covid 19 Travel Restrictions & Refunds

What is your refund policy (Covid promise) if I book now?
We understand there are some unknowns for next summer but the positive news is that the American camps are ready to operate and looking forward to hiring and welcoming international staff from Ireland. At USIT Camp USA we are open for bookings for 2021 however, due to the pandemic we have introduced our Covid Promise and will offer you a refund less an admin fee of €49 in the event that you can’t travel on your Camp USA programme due to a travel restriction(s) as outlined below:

• DFA Travel advisory against travel the to the USA within 14 days of your departure date.
• Full border closure or restrictions specific to the visa you are entering the country on.
• US Embassy restrictions or closures due to COVID-19.
• Visas are not being approved due to COVID19 travel restrictions.

Our Covid Promise applies to the €399 (buy your own flight package).

What doesn’t constitute a COVID-19 travel restriction.

• Local quarantine rules. Quarantine plans are currently in place in many countries with ever-changing conditions. USIT will inform you of the current quarantine conditions in your travel destination prior to travel.
• Additional costs for COVID-19 tests and quarantine. It is difficult to predict how each country will respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation, however USIT will guide you through any changes.
• If you cannot travel due to a positive COVID-19 test or are asked to quarantine by your local Government. USIT will offer a free date change wherever possible.
• If you decide not to travel for any reason our normal terms & conditions will apply.

Programme Application

What is the application process?
You can apply by clicking here. After filling in the form, you'll be prompted to pay your programme deposit. We'll contact you shortly for a brief phone interview, and you'll receive a link in your email to the full application. You'll need to complete your application within 2 weeks, or as soon as you can and then we'll arrange a time for an interview. Keep in mind to put a bit of time into your application or feel free to ask us for help along the way. We are here to guide you through to get a place on the programme
What is the application deadline?
There are limited places, so the sooner you apply the better your chances of getting a placement. If you are in a position to apply by Nov/Dec/Jan then you will increase your chances of getting hired earlier but don't worry if you are not ready to book just yet, keep in touch with us and make sure to attend a Camp USA information session to help you decide on the right work experience next summer.
What are the programme dates?
For the best chance of placement, you should try and make yourself available for as long as possible. We strongly recommend late May to late August. The more flexible you are the better your chance of receiving a placement.
When do I know if I've been accepted onto the programme?
We'll let you know if you have been accepted onto our programme after the interview.
I've been accepted into the programme. Am I guaranteed a placement in a camp?
No. After we accept you onto the programme, you'll need to interview with a camp and be hired by them directly.
How long after I apply will I hear about my placement?
You can be placed with a camp at any point up until June 30th, 2021. Don't worry if you don't hear from a camp right away, it's normal for a participant to be hired anywhere between a few days to a few months after being accepted onto the programme.
What happens after I'm hired?
We will assist you with all aspects of the visa process as you will have to attend a mandatory Interview with the US Embassy to get your visa issued. Then shortly before you leave for the summer, there's a mandatory pre-departure orientation to make sure that you are fully prepared . This may be done online or in person, the details of this will be confirmed April/May 2021.
When do I leave for camp?
You'll leave sometime between May 25 and June 25. Your departure for camp will depend on your camp contract dates, but is generally in mid-June.

Summer Camps

What kind of camp will I be working at?
The majority of placements are in traditional camps, which could be co-ed or have only female or male campers. All-girls and all-boys camps will usually have both male and female counselors, and often a brother or sister camp nearby. Depending on your preferences and skills, you could also work at a specialty camp, special needs camp, or camp for disadvantaged youth. You should be as open-minded about your camp as possible.
Where are the camps located?
The camps are all across the United States, with most of them located in New England. New England is a region in the North East coast of the US, and some states include Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.
What can I wear at camp?
Be sure to always look presentable, with no visible tattoos or piercings. Each camp will have its own policy regarding appropriate clothing at camp. Keep in mind you'll be running around with kids all day!
Will I have any time off?
Yes. Each camp organises time off differently. You will have an average of one day off a week, as well as time off during each day and one or two evenings off during the week. But remember, even if you have a day off, the likelihood is you will be sleeping with campers in your room/dorm, and you will be responsible for them in the evenings.
Can I smoke or drink at camp?
No! If you're caught smoking or drinking on camp property or if you're intoxicated, you'll likely be fired, sent home immediately and required to pay full programme fees (up to $1,700).
Will I get paid?

Yes. The amount of pocket money you earn varies based on your age, qualifications, and the type of camp you work in. It will probably be between $900-$1,350. If you are returning to your camp from last year or secure your own placement, you will negotiate your salary directly with the camp.

18 - 20 years old from $900+
21+ years old from $1,050+

You may earn additional money if you are lifeguard certified or work at a special needs camp. Or if you decide to go with the option of booking your own flights then you will earn up to $1,750 in pocket money.

Counselors who are hired as senior staff sometimes receive additional pocket money at the discretion of the camp.

Do I pay for my food and accommodation?
No. Room and board is provided by the camp.

USIT Programme

How much does it cost?
Click here to see a breakdown of costs.
What's included?
  • Transatlantic flight to New York or Boston
  • J1 Camp Counselor Work Authorisation Document DS-2019
  • Placement at a high-quality, accredited summer camp in the US based on the needs of the camp and your unique skills and experience
  • Insurance
  • Pocket money at the end of camp - $900-$1350
  • Food & Accommodation at Summer Camp
  • Full training at camp with fellow international and American counselors to get you ready for your campers
  • 24/7 in-country support for peace of mind while you're in the US!
  • A pre-departure orientation in Ireland in order to prepare you for a successful experience in the US
  • SEVIS
Are there any other costs?
Yes, in addition to the programme fee, you'll be responsible for getting a medical and scheduling an interview with the US Embassy. There could possibly be supplementary travel costs if your camp is not located in New England.
What does my insurance cover?
Your insurance covers medical, dental, travel, and life insurance for your work period. Please refer to the "Insurance" section of your participant handbook for full details of coverage.
What if I get Coronavirus while I am at Camp USA? Will I be covered by insurance?
Our Medical Insurance includes cover for Coronavirus (COVID-19) should you contract it while in the USA. American Camps are well set up to manage any quarantine situations should it arise. If you are experiencing any symptoms prior to your departure please contact the HSE.ie for more information.
I have a problem at camp. Who should I ask for help?
You should ask your immediate supervisors or your camp director first, as they are in the best position to provide assistance. If this doesn't result in a solution, call your sponsor for assistance. We don't recommend contacting friends or family in your home country as it's very difficult for them to help from so far away.
I have a family emergency and need to return home immediately. What do I do?
Call your sponsor immediately for assistance. You will also need to contact USIT to change your flight. Depending on the nature of the emergency, your flight may be covered by insurance.
I have to leave camp before the end of my contract. What happens now?
Call your US sponsor immediately to explain the situation and why you need to leave camp. You will be responsible for any costs that would have otherwise been paid by your camp.
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