As a first time counselor at summer camp, there are quite a few different agencies you can choose from to help you get to camp, but it’s not just the first timers who get all the fun.
Returners and direct placement (DP) applicants (those who have never been to camp before but have already been hired by a summer camp, probably through a friend) also get to decide each summer which agency they are going to go with. You don’t have to return with the same agency that got you to camp the first time (although if you do choose the same agency your application will already be pre-filled in, making it super quick and easy).
For returners and DPs the process is really quite simple – choose your agency, make your application, upload your documents (contract from camp, passport, police check etc), get your visa and boom. Done deal.
The hardest part is probably deciding which agency to go with in the first place – they all pretty much offer the same thing (visa sponsorship, medical insurance and 24/7 support), just for different prices. In my opinions each agency has a different vibe and attitude and it’s all just about talking to them and figuring out which one is going to work for you.
To make it all a little simpler though, here’s a comparison chart I’ve put together so you can see the differences between each agency and what they can provide returners and DPs. Here I’ve outlined the costs of some major players in the UK – AmeriCamp, BUNAC, Camp America, Camp Leaders, CCUSA, IENA, USA Summer Camp, Wild Packs, and InterExchange.
The following costs are mostly based on you returning to the same camp and booking your own flights . Some agencies i.e. Camp America do have some other price options for people wanting to try a new camp or to have their flights booked for them:
**Updated October 2021**
For camps in the USA:*NOTE: Keep in mind that if you are a 3rd year (or more) returner, there is only a small allocation of visas given to each agency so it’s really important you get your visa sorted ASAP! Some agencies will also charge an extra £100 if you have not been to camp through them before and it is your 3rd (+) year going to summer camp.
For camps in Canada: (**As of DEC 2020)**
I hope this makes it a little easier when deciding which agency to return with – like I said before though, it’s worth scouting them all out and working out which one you like best. After all it’s your money and your summer, so you want to make sure you’re getting the best from whichever agency you choose.