What is American summer camp?

150 years of tradition, thousands of camps and millions of campers.

150 years of tradition

Summer camp started as America settled away from the open frontiers, as a place for children to experience the great outdoors and to develop character. Today summer camp is a thriving industry with camps all over the US.

There are governing bodies that ensures camps have the highest standards for campers and staff, keeping people safe.

With so many different types of camps out there, from sports specific, traditional, underprivileged, and more, there are key traits that the camps we work with share.

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Value Based

They are more than an experience, they teach their campers their way of seeing the world, instilling virtues that help campers and staff alike navigate the world away from camp.

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Set in beautiful places, from Upstate New York to the great northwoods in Minnesota the camp settings are unbelievable. Lakes, mountains, woods and wildlife.

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Fun and Safe

From sports to outdoor ed, arts and crafts and performing arts, all kinds of fun activities happen all day every day at camp. Before the campers arrive everyone is trained up to be ready to deliver all of this in a fun and safe way.

What are the facilities like?

Each camp specialises in something different. It might be on high end kit, on having a wide range of activities, on their horse riding program or the adventure trips that they send people on. Examples include camps with huge outdoor artificial climbing walls, extensive ropes courses, 20+ sailing boats or places that keep it simple, because everyone is nearly always out in the wilderness on a trip.

Who works at camp?

There are five main groups of staff at camp.

International staff. People like you. From the UK, Australia, NZ, Hungary, South Africa, Colombia and much more. Camps seek international staff to create a global community and to bring in skilled staff

Last years staff who come back are known as 'returners'. They are there to help new staff find their feet, get camp up and running support however they can.

Ex-campers will be on the team too, with a real love for camp they'll know the kids and have a different perspective.

American and college students head to camp too, many of them drive from across the US and are happy to have other staff join them on evening and days off. This group is a real opportunity to help international staff get to learn about America.

A team of seasonal local staff and a year round leadership team under pins the running of camp. Offering seasoned advice and support they are the professionals who run the kitchen, liaise with parents, run staff training and run all of the business functions of camp.


Summer camp is about community, about people coming together and supporting the development of children. Camp is full of tradition and at the same time different ideas and approaches are welcome. Many different people from different places head to camp.

Although this is changing, many summer camps don't yet fully reflect the diversity of society, especially when it comes to international camp counselors.

We're changing that.

From working with community groups to our new podcast, we are shining a light on the under representation of people of colour heading to camp. If you are from any under represented group join us, a world of opportunity awaits.

Have a listen here for the lived experience of summer camp as super star counselors chat about race and camp.

Let's Talk About Camp Podcast

Where are the camps?

We work with camps in the midwest. Think around Chicago and Minneapolis, through Wisconsin and Michigan. Top middle of the US. Bordering Canada. Lakes and forests, moose, bald eagles, walleye and beavers.

The camps in this region have been there for over 100 years and offer both a very traditional experience, great activities and beautiful backdrops.

The Statue of Liberty with a bright blue sky

Got questions?

Need help or assistance? Drop us a note, we'll reply as soon as we can.