Camp Get-A-Job

"I worked at a dude ranch for five summers, and I loved it."

Remember when you were a kid and your parents bought you new sneakers, wrote your name in your underwear, and shipped you off to summer camp while they went to Hawaii? Do you recall all the fun you had making necklaces out of acorns, trying to stay upright on an old horse named ‘Buddy,’ and sleeping in the same room with 10 other children with allergies?

Those fond memories can continue and you can collect a paycheck for the next few months if you apply quickly for a job at a summer camp.

Summer camps all over the country are still looking for eager beavers to lead youngsters happily through the forest, wipe their noses when they are homesick, and teach them fun camp songs. (Leave out the dirty words.)

Places such as Lake Cobbosseecontee, Kippewa in Maine are looking for people to teach all things horsey, and a camp for grown-ups in Katmai National Park, Alaska are looking for kitchen staff and camp leaders.

You can spend the summer in Julian under the oak trees and stars at Camp Marston which has been around for 92 years. This place isn’t going anywhere, so you might get your foot in the door working for them throughout the year when they host school camps.

Imagine the joy you’ll have hanging out all summer teaching youngsters ages 7-17 how to have fun without a computer or TV – if you actually know how to do that.

If you surf, the YMCA ( has a site right off I-5 in Carlsbad. Put on your board shorts and apply as an instructor.

According to the American Camp Association, summer and seasonal resident camp counselors earned a median wage of $250 a week in 2012. Counselors working at summer day camps earned a median wage of $310 a week. Mix that with free food, lodging, and all the smores you can eat and you’ll have a summer to remember.

If you want to head out out of San Diego County for a few months while the tourists take over the beaches and take a paid vacation from searching for that big boy job, head up to Yosemite where you can pack up about $2,500 for a few months’ work, eat free beans and franks, and breathe actual fresh air at Skylake Yosemite Camp. (

If your parents never sent you to summer camp and you don’t leave the house without every computer gizmo in your backpack, maybe snagging a job at computer camp is your idea of Nirvana. You will of course have to actually leave your room and fly across the country to this camp to work- you can’t send your avatar.

Emagination Computer Camps are still seeking people as technology counselors, recreation counselors, network administrators, and camp leadership staff in Fairfield, CT and near Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. [email protected]

“I worked at a computer camp two years ago and loved it,” said Jason Chase of El Cajon. “I was a nerdy kid and never went to camp and never really socialized. I took a big chance by applying for the camp counselor job. Those kids are nerds and I’m a nerd so we all fit in. It was an amazing time in my life.”

There are tons of camps around the country looking for talented people to work at places designed for children with special needs, weight issues, and disadvantages. If you spend your summer at one of these places you’ll feel pretty great about your job come September.

If babysitting other people’s children all summer isn’t your thing, maybe working with grown-ups who still dress like the little campers is your thing.

Private camps, dude ranches, and resorts are still looking for people who can cook, sing, wash dishes, tend bar, teach golf, hike, raft and or teach dirty dancing. Try

“I worked at a dude ranch for five summers and I loved it,” said Jessica Flanders of Oceanside. “I met people from all over the world and learned how to ride a horse, bale hay, and grow vegetables. I work in a cubicle in an office now and really miss those days.”

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