Firstly, Merry Christmas everybody! I hope everyone had great one and you’re all now even more excited for summer than you were a week ago. I’ve had a great December, catching up with friends and family, and I’ll be starting my annual countdown to summer on January 1st… it’s something I look forward to every year.
If you’ve been reading the blog you’ll know by now that I’m going back to camp with with help of BUNAC this year and I’ll be blogging monthly for them, doing a Q & A series, as well as making some videos and doing some Instagram takeovers throughout the summer. You’ll be able to read all about my adventures with BUNAC both on here and over on their blog too.
So why BUNAC? I’ve always loved them as a company (I even worked for them back in 2016) and they were the ones who got me to camp for the first time in 2011, so it feels pretty special to be going back with them for my 8th summer!
Their application process is fairly simple, and I’m now at the stage where I just need to finish the last couple of things and then I’ll be all set for another summer at Camp Sloane YMCA. I’m going to give you a breakdown of the process, but keep your eyes peeled for next month’s Q & A, where someone from BUNAC will be answering all your questions about how to apply and what they’re looking for in their summer camp counsellor candidates.
First all you have to do is make an account on their website, or login if you already have one. This part is really straightforward, it’s just putting in your details and selecting the programme/s you’re interested in.
Then you’ll be taken to your actual application, where you’ll need to fill out some more details and answer some questions about you, your personal details and your background, before paying the small deposit of just £39. Once you’ve made your application and paid the deposit, you will most likely get a phone call from the Summer Camp team at BUNAC, and they’ll want to ask you a few questions about your experience and expectations. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions you might have as well.
Finally, you’ll get to this page (below), which has all the details you need in order to book your interview, as well as some handy tips on how to make your application stand out, what the interview will be like (it’s nothing scary I promise), and you’ll be able to download your reference forms too. I’d advise sending these off as soon as possible, as we all know that some people can take forever to get them back to you! You’ll need 2 references from people who have known you in a professional capacity, preferably with at least one of those people being someone who has seen you work with children. References from family or friends won’t be accepted.
The next stage is where some people can get a little confused, but it’s nothing too complicated, it’s just a matter of reading the emails that get sent out to you fully, and of course you can give BUNAC a call if you get stuck.
You will get an email from CIEE (it will be from ‘email@example.com’), who are BUNAC’s visa sponsor and their website is where the remainder of your application will happen. Follow the instructions in that email (see below), click on the link and you’ll be directed to CIEE’s website where you’ll need to create a password to gain access to your account.
This is then where you’ll fill out the full application about your interests and skills, and your experience working with children. Try to put down as much detail as possible, as quite often you’ll have done things that are more relevant than you think – if you have any questions please get in touch with either myself, your interviewer or BUNAC, and we’ll all be able to help you make your application be the best it can be.
IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE YOU PUT DOWN YOUR NAME, DOB AND PASSPORT DETAILS CORRECTLY, AS WHATEVER YOU PUT ON YOUR FORM IS WHAT WILL GO ON YOUR VISA PAPERWORK AND IT MUST BE ACCURATE!
You’ll also have a chance here to choose the type of camps you’re interested in working at e.g. girls/boys, special needs, religious etc. From my experience as both a participant and from working for BUNAC, I would recommend keeping your options open and selecting everything unless you have a genuine reason for not wanting to work at specific type of camp. By only choosing mixed camps or by ruling out special needs camps, you are limiting how many camps will see your application and therefore your likeliness of getting hired.
It’s a great idea to add some photos to your application, especially ones of you working with children. And make sure your profile picture is a nice head and shoulders shot of you smiling… no sunglasses, drunk pics or photos of your pet (yes, someone did this!). A video is also an absolute must – camp directors want to know who you are and what you’re really like, and being able to watch you talk about your experiences and skills and show off who you are is the best way to see whether you are good fit for their camp. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just sit in front of a camera and talk for a minute or so if want – I’ve got some tips over in another post. Once you’ve completed all the parts the application you need to click the button at the top to sign and submit your application, so CIEE can then review it and send it out to camps.
Finally, you’ll need to upload all your documents. And this is the stage I’m at now – I’ve uploaded a copy of my passport, filled out and uploaded the HIPAA form, got both my references back and uploaded and been to the doctor to get my medical form filled out and signed. All I’ve got left to do now is send off for my ICPC Police Check and sort my visa (BUNAC will send you emails with instructions on how to do all of this) . The visa process is now something I’m so familiar with I could do in my sleep and it’s almost annoying I even have to do it, but really it’s pretty simple and I’m hoping to have everything sorted and ready to go by the time the J-Day Embassy appointments open up.
The BUNAC camp fairs are also coming up in January and, while you can just turn up on the day, I’d recommend getting as much of the above done beforehand so you can just go straight in to meet the Camp Directors and give yourself the best chance of walking away with a job!
NOTE: If you are a 3rd year returner (or more), there are only a limited number of visas available, so get your application in as soon as you can to avoid missing out!
As I’m now the Program Director at my camp, I’ll heading out to America in May to get everything set up and ready to go for summer, as well as running some of our Pre-Camp programming… I’m mega excited and summer can’t come soon enough!
Let the countdown begin!
**I’m returning to camp this summer with BUNAC who have been sending people just like you to camp for many years. Get in touch with them via their website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, by phoning them on +44 333 999 7516 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.**
Disclaimer: BUNAC are waiving my camp fees in return for this blog series, but please rest assured that all opinions are honest and my own.