I know, I know… I only posted the first Q&A with CCUSA yesterday, but as their job fairs are coming up (in fact the first ones are TODAY in Dublin & Edinburgh – good luck if you’re heading there now!), I wanted to get you all some insight into their applications and what they’re looking for as soon as possible. So, once again, it’s over to Lydia from CCUSA!
1. How does the process work?
The process is easy. The longest part is the initial part of filling out your application, but this is also the part that gets you your dream job. You simply head to our website www.ccusa.co.uk and sign up. We then ask you lots of questions about what you love doing in your spare time, what your hobbies are, what type of camps you would want to work at, what you study etc. Once we have received your £25 we will review your application and either accept you onto the program or suggest some changes to make it even stronger. You will need to make a video that lasts around 60-90 seconds so that Camp Directors can see your beautiful face and this is your chance to show off your personality. The next stage is getting an interview – most of the time we try to set you up with an interviewer that is near you. Costa is a popular destination to meet up and [your interviewer] will basically find out more information about you and what you would want to teach at camp. Once this is complete we can start looking for a camp for you in our American office. Sometimes this process can happen very quickly and other times it can take a bit longer, but this is because we want to make sure we find a camp that suits you and what you have to offer. Once a camp has reviewed your application they will sometimes ask to set up a phone or skype interview to chat to you and see what are like as a person. If you are very lucky and they love you at first sight they could accept you there and then and we will then be in touch to let you know where you will spending your summer. Before you head off to camp you will need to complete a police check and medical form and of course gain a visa to work in the States. Most of the time we will meet you outside of the embassy to make sure you have all of the right paperwork… You then receive your visa in the post about 1-2 weeks later and you are nearly ready to start your adventure. The final step is attending one of our pre-departure meetings where we will go over all the essential information you need to know and where you can ask any last minute questions you may have.
2. How much does it cost?
The fees for having your American Dream will depend on what flight option you choose. We can either book your flights for you, to save you a lot of hassle, or you can book your own flights. If you decide to choose the flight option then the total will be £525 and if you decide to book your own flights then you pay £299. To start your application and start the process you must simply pay £25. Once you have then been officially accepted onto the program, you have 14 days to pay £150 (regardless of which flight option you picked at the start). The final instalment is then due at least 24 hours before your visa appointment. For the flight option it would £350 and for the non-flight option it would be £124. There will also be some external fees that are out of [our] control, which involve applying for a police check (£45), your visa (approx..£130), a medical form (this completely depends on your GP – some will be lovely and do it free and some will charge you), and flights if you choose to book them yourself.
3. What do I get in return? How much will I get paid?
The great thing about doing the summer camp program is you get paid!! People don’t go out to the States because you get paid, but more because of the experience and memories you gain. Normally, you will make back the money that you paid in the first place and a little bit extra. Most of our applicants will use this money to travel after camp with the 30 days that the J1 visa allows. The way you get paid is down to the camp itself. Some camps will help you set up a bank account where they transfer money every week, others will give you money every month or at the end of camp, so it really can differ. The amount you get paid depends on how old you are and what flight option you chose at the start. There is a full breakdown at the bottom of this page: http://www.ccusa.co.uk/PROGRAMS/Camp-Counselors-USA/What-You-Get.
4. What skills are you looking for?
What is so beautiful about camp is that we are looking for any skills you may have. One of the most popular positions camps look for are lifeguards and you will get snapped up very quickly. But don’t worry if you are not a lifeguard – camp really does have something for everyone. From land sports, water sports, arts and crafts, performing arts, circus, horse riding, sculpture, Pokémon Go – literally anything. Camps always love to have people with skills that no body else has, to make them unique, so the more unusual the skill the better.
5. What experience do I need?
When it comes to experience, we really don’t have a wrong or right answer. If you have experience with children, such as babysitting or teaching then that’s great. Make sure you tell us all about it in your application. But there isn’t a checklist we ask for when applying. Simply tell us why you’d love to work at a summer camp and we will go from there. You will need 3 references to go to camp, so keep this in mind when it comes to applying. Lecturers, work colleagues, people you babysit for would all be perfect example – they just can’t be a family member.
6. What dates do I need to be available?
Camps start from early May and can go on until early September. When it comes to your availability dates, the broader they are the better. This allows us to search for more camps for you. We ask that all of our applicants are available no later than June 15th, just to give you the best chance at being placed. However, if you think this is going to be an issue then please don’t hesitate to contact us and we can have a chat and discuss how we can move forward and hopefully get you to camp. The majority of camps will finish in mid-august so it gives those of you who are students plenty of time to get back for university. However, if you are able to stay until September then definitely let us know because there will be camps looking for people to stay longer.
7. How do I make my application stand out? Should I do a video?
The application is a chance for us and Camp Directors to learn as much as we can about you. For your application to be sent to America you must submit a video and this is usually the first thing a Camp Director will view before looking at your application. Make it different, if you horse ride then video yourself galloping across a field, if you do circus then hang from a rope and make it look fancy, if you play tennis then film you training and include that. This is your chance to really show off your personality and give the Camp Directors something to get excited about. Remember: the weirder and more original the better.
8. Can I be placed with a friend?
Usually we say no. Just because Camp Directors are often more hesitant about hiring people that know each other because they may be more closed off when they arrive at camp. If you and your friend are adamant that you only want to go to camp with each other then your best bet is coming along to our camp fairs this weekend and talking to Camp Directors directly. However, with the J1 visa you have 30 days to travel once camp has finished – so a lot of friends will meet after camp and travel America in true style.
9. What happens after I submit my application?
Once you have submitted your application online, Laura or Dave from the office will review your application. They go through every single one and suggest any changes they think will help benefit you. Over time you will get to know Laura and Dave very well! Once they are happy with your application and you have submitted a video that has been approved they will accept you (hopefully) onto the program and we can start looking for a camp for you. This process usually happens fairly quickly, but in peak times this can take a little longer so please be patient.
10. I’ve heard about a job fair – what is that and when is it?
This week we have our job fairs coming up. On Thursday we have both the Edinburgh and Dublin fairs taking place. This Saturday 14th January we have our fair in London and on Sunday 15th January we have our Leeds fair. At the London and Leeds fair we have around 30-35 camps attending each one and this gives you the perfect opportunity to speak to Camp Directors face to face and secure a job on the spot. Anyone can attend, but we would highly recommend that you pay and complete your application before the weekend just so that you gain entrance into the fair a lot quicker. If you come along and haven’t signed up then you will need to complete an application before going in to chat to camps. We have hundreds of jobs on offer and the information for the fairs this week can be found on our website: http://www.ccusa.co.uk/MORE-INFORMATION/Camp-Fairs
**I’m returning to camp this summer with CCUSA who have the lowest returner fees and have placed 100% of applicants in the last 2 years. Get in touch with them via their website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, by phoning them on +44 0208 874 6325 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.**
Disclaimer: CCUSA are waiving my camp fees in return for this blog series, but please rest assured that all opinions are honest and my own.