Frequently Asked Questions – Camp America

In our 15+ years experience of sending people to Camp America we find that it works best for the camps and for the travellers, to do this on your own and make new friends rather than rely on travelling with a current friend. Here’s why…Things to remember though are;

  • Even if you did get placed together you won’t necessarily get the same days off – you are better to plan to travel before and after camp rather than plan day trips from camp.
  • Camps like individuals best as they make more of an effort to meet new friends and integrate into the staff environment (team) – sometimes if you are alone on arrival you lose your inhibitions and can adjust to camp life more quickly
  • Even if you did get placed together you will not be in the same living quarters or cabin so chances are you will not actually even see or be able to spend time with your friend.
  • Camps are reluctant to hire friends and partners together because if one gets unhappy (or the couple break up – yes it has happened) – they have two unhappy staff rather than one to deal with – and if one leaves the other tends to go too. If one gets homesick the other will too etc. This is not what camps want so close to the kids arriving.
  • Camps hire staff for particular jobs – so they need say a waterskiing instructor from NZ and a Archery teacher – they may have a job for one of you but not necessarily both – which makes your placement chances harder
  • Not being ready to do this on your own can be a negative point towards your application as you may be viewed not being mature enough for a job at camp – it’s fine wanting to travel together, but not being willing to work at different camps is akin to getting a job at home and asking if your friend can work there too.

So – in summary – it’s happened successfully a couple of times, but more times than that it hasn’t worked out so well so camps and Camp America both prefer not to hire/place you together.

The only exception is – we have camps coming to NZ to hire staff in January – so if both your applications are ready by then (and complete) – and if you both have skills that these camps are looking for we will invite you along to meet these camps and you can try to convince them of how fabulous you both are!

There are 2 ways – internet banking (our account number is 060287 0495361 25 – use your name as a reference) or paying online with a creditcard in your mycampamerica.com account (which is faster as it processes automatically)

This is a call/email we get alot – so I want to clarify a few things for you.

  • Most camps on the East Coast are for Jewish children. Most large private camps are owned by Jewish camp directors, which attract Jewish families to send their kids there.
  • If they hire you – they KNOW you are not Jewish and they are cool with that.
  • It just means the food will be prepared slightly differently and they will not eat pork/bacon.
  • They may have a ceremony on Friday night and you will need to go so you look out for the children (and have fun) but you don’t need to pray you just need to respect their religion.
  • They still play sports, ride horses, swim, have lifeguards etc
  • Jewish kids look and act exactly the same as non jewish kids
  • So – open up your mind a little bit and experience something a bit different – thats what travelling and camp is all about.
  • I promise you won’t be converted – and you will hardly know it’s a Jewish camp!
  • If you are still in doubt – I can put you in touch with others from NZ who have gone to a Jewish Camp and lived to tell the tale!


nother statement we hear alot – I am guessing it’s because you think you won’t get to meet lots of girls/guys…. First of all – why not? You will still socialise with other camps, even brother and sister camps in the area. There are tonnes of camps around. In fact Walmart is the local counsellor hangout! Even if you were placed in a co-ed camp – the boys and girls are seperated for sleeping of course. It can be a nightmare trying to keep the male and female campers apart at night! Love at age 13 can be a very serious thing you know! Everyone that comes back says THEIR camp was the best – so it’s not the camp that makes it the best summer of your life – it’s the camp experience. Go for it!

f it’s too big that’s usually the problem – the video size and file type guidelines are on the Video Upload page – please have a check to see if it fits that criteria before you go any further. We have made some instructions to help you out.  
Please follow these instructionsHow to make your Video the right size

No – Camp America sponsors your visa and to do that we have to satisfy the powers that be in America that you will be covered by Top Class, 5 star medical insurance – that will pay out! So – our insurance has been pre-approved. However in some case you may want to extend your travel to other countries on the same trip and therefore just buy one insurance. You can do this – see conditions and instructions below for how.Camp America provides medical insurance for all our participants, which is specifically designed to suit working at US summer camps. The policy has an A+ rating.

Participants are permitted to obtain their own insurance. However, as your programme sponsor, Camp America is required by the US Department of State, to check your insurance coverage to ensure it meets minimum US State Department requirements for J1 visa participants. Therefore, please can you check your policy to ensure it meets the following criteria:- 

  • A+ rated (or backed by the full faith and credit of your home government)
  • covers you for working at camp including activities you are likely to undertake at camp
  • covers the full period of time you are in the US
  • covers the United States
  • has medical benefits of at least US$100,000 per accident or illness
  • has repatriation of remains in the amount of US$25,000
  • has medical evacuation expenses to your home country in the amount of US$50,000
  • the deductible must not exceed US$500 per accident or illness
  • Also, if you have any pre-existing medical condition you should ensure that this is covered by your policy and clearly stated on the information you send to us

Please forward your full (master) policy details and insurance certificate for Allen’s attention. Once we receive your policy details and check them, we will reverse your insurance fee. However, please note that you will be billed NZ$86 to cover emergency evacuation and cover administrative costs of checking your insurance details.

Allen Langer
Camp America
37A Queen’s Gate
London SW7 5HR

BNZ Credit cards ask for a secondary verification and it says it’s optional – however the payment is declined if you don’t do it. So if that’s not the problem you can pay by internet banking as a 2nd option.Although the manual payments do take a week to show as paid because we have to send the money to the UK. Camp America
060 287 0495361 25
Use your name as a reference.

On our Videos page

Please take a look at the last three videos – for Current Participants – one is What Happens Now I am placed?

On our Videos page

Please take a look at the last three videos – for Current Participants – one is Visa Application Guide

This is a generic message – you actually paid your 2nd fee with your first fee at the time of interviewCRC’s (Police checks) are free in NZ – the message is worldwide – hence it says “if applicable”You can double check if you have any payments outstanding by clicking on your Payments page.

Download the claim form and complete and send off to contact on form

If you have a Travel Insurance or Baggage claim just add the details in an attached letter to the claim form. Keep copies of everything.

  • Make sure you use correct English – no slang or text words, use capitals where required and check your spelling. Remember this is a job application.
  • Show your enthusiasm whereever possible – use positive words, stay away from ‘I can’t’ statements.
  • Use ALL the space you have to describe your top five skills relative to a summer camp. Include how long you have been doing your skill, how often you do it, if you have taught anyone your skill and be specific – ie with horse riding, can you also saddle & tack your horse, feed out, muck out stables etc.
  • Once you have completed your application and interview get to work on a video. Check out our samples on our Facebook page and others on YouTube, this is a HUGE part of your application so be inventive, exciting and show your fun side.

In short YES, there is an allowance on your visa for travel prior to and after camp and even if you don’t know anyone before you go you will quickly hook up with others on our Camp America Facebook page or at camp to travel with.

Unfortunately with the way the economy is going in the USA at the moment we can no longer place everyone that applies but we try and only accept those who have a good chance of being placed so as not to get your hopes up. The earlier you get your application completed and circulating to the camps helps. Our placement rate is 99% so your chances are pretty good. You can increase your chances with having strong skills, being 19 and over, and showing your enthusiasm. Camps tend to hire less General Counsellors now than they did pre-2009 so the more skills you have the better. If not – go out and get some.

Don’t assume that everything is okay, contact your interviewer or our Auckland office to make sure that we aren’t waiting on anything. We are contactable over the phone (09 416 5337) via email, on Facebook and Skype (campamericanz) so there is no excuse for not contacting us, even if you work during the day. It’s easier for you to contact us than visa versa – we may have tried already and have not been able to get you.

There would have to be a VERY good reason for this. If they have any questions please refer them to the Parents Page for info or keep them updated yourself. As we have already said you need to treat this as a job interview, you wouldn’t get your Mum to call your new boss at work to find out how you complete one of their forms. If your parents are calling us all the time we start to wonder if you are going to be able to handle this experience on your own. Plus you need to be getting the information first hand, not your Mum or Dad’s version of what we have told them. If you can’t communicate with us now (see above FAQ for options on how) – then we don’t imagine you’ll do well at camp.

We work with over a 1000 camps throughout the USA. If you have done some research and there is a particular camp you would like to apply to we can submit your application to them however there are no guarantees. Just remember where ever you are placed will be the BEST camp ever!

Due to the nature of the programme there are some medical conditions that cannot be accepted. Camp America has 40 years experience of sending young people to summer camps. During this time we have developed considerable experience and expertise in determining which medical conditions are appropriate for the camp environment and which are not. At all times we seek to put the health and welfare of our participants and the children in their care first. We will always try to be fair and to judge each case on its merits but there are some medical conditions that are made much worse in the excitement of summer camps and there are other conditions, which are regarded more seriously in the United States than in Europe or other countries, and for which it is consequently impossible for us to obtain insurance coverage. There are some conditions and disabilities, which completely rule people out of consideration. There are others, which depend upon the amount of time that has elapsed since an event or upon the severity of the original condition. For example, people with a recent history of depression will not be allowed to apply for the programme. We apologise if some of our terms seem harsh however, our policy is based on experience and we believe it is better to make such policies explicit and not to disappoint people late in the application process. Please be aware anyone who is dishonest on their forms will find themselves cancelled from the programme.

References seem to be the biggest hold up – make sure that you read all the criteria requirements and get onto arranging these ASAP.

It takes about 2 weeks to be sponsored in America after placement (as long as we have your Police Check application on file), and then a week to get out to you as long as all your payments are up to date on your MyCampAmerica site. The actual processing of the visa takes 4 working days at the Consulate.

It can be cooler on the East Coast and even California during June so pack a jack and long pants for evenings and early mornings. A Torch, travel adaptor, Sunglasses, raincoat, a watch, Suncream, water bottle, sneakers, socks, socks and more socks, something to remind you of home. Don’t forget your DS2019 in your passport and a first aid kit.

About one week after you arrive – the first week is training and preamp if you’re hired for that (longer than one week). Preamp is when you help get camp ready for summer after it’s been closed up all winter.

No not at all – it’s all part of the matching process.

You have 30 days grace to enter before your J1 Visa start date. Please note many check in agents are not aware of this rule so it may pay to get an ESTA as well. All IWH Travel for a plan of attack.

We provide you with some options once placed and also check with your camp.

Select what most closely fits with your beliefs. Christian based and Jewish camps don’t push religion onto staff – they know you’re not religious when they hire you – don’t be afraid.

Applications usually close in April.

Many employers view someone doing Camp America as more valuable than going to university.

They run over the American Summer so June/July/August – although some states start in May.

You cannot work at a camp with our sponsorship of your visa. We also screen the camps for you.

All over America apart from the desert, usually in the countryside, near a lake.

Yes on your MyCampAmerica you can still add photos/video and edit your personal details once submitted.

Refer them to the What you Pay page.

Refer to What you Get page.

Interviews are available all throughout the season, reply to your interviewer to book or contact your interviewer directly to book one on your MyCampAmerica site.

Read the After Interview booklet, follow the instructions of your interviewer, complete your application/references/video etc, let your interviewer know for them to review and submit your application.

You can be placed at any stage from when your application is Ready to Place until the end of June/beginning of July.

About three weeks from your Visa Print Date on your Visa Tab in MyCampAmerica. See Q How long does the Visa process take?

We have two different websites and you have two different logins. One is your UK based MyCampAmerica and the other is our NZ based Current Participants Pages which we emailed you a username and password for after acceptance and again after placement.

They take about three weeks from your Visa Print Date on your Visa Tab in MyCampAmerica. See Q How long does the Visa process take?

yes you do – visa papers come with a link to very detailed instructions on booking your appointment.

that’s ok you can’t do anything until you get your papers from us. See Q How long does the Visa process take?

Yes you do it is the fee payable to the Consulate for processing your visa.

You receive full instructions with your visa papers. Please read them very carefully – they are long but you need to follow them exactly.

You receive full instructions with your visa papers. Please read them very carefully – they are long but you need to follow them exactly.


If your camp changes your start/end dates or you change the spelling of your name, a visa papers reprint is automatically generated. You can tell if new papers have been printed, because the Visa Papers Print date on the visa tab of you profile will have a new date. Check the “Purpose of this form” section on the new visa papers to see why they have been reprinted. If you haven’t already had your embassy appointment, take your new papers with you when you do. If you have had your embassy appointment, call us at the office to discuss what you need to do. Usually you will be fine with your initial visa, in rare cases you may have to book a new appointment. You should keep both versions in your passport.

Our comprehensive policy covers you for 153 days in the USA, or until October 31st – whichever comes first.
Your cover begins on your outbound flight from NZ to the USA. You are specifically covered for working at camp, including any activities you are likely to do during your time there.

To read the full master policy, and view the insurance certificate and insurance handbook check the Insurance tab of your MyCampAmerica profile.

Yes you can! Some camps cater for the many dietary requirements that you can imagine campers demand, make a mention of it on your application and that way if a camp cannot cater for you they won’t hire you.