What are the basics of a counselor's job at Camp Agawam?
As a cabin counselor, you are a role model, working with a group of 4 to 8 boys to produce a cohesive cabin group. You will work in a cabin, possibly with a co-counselor, and you will be responsible for getting to know your campers, overseeing their health and safety, maintaining cabin neatness, solving camper problems, ensuring group unity, assigning and evaluating weekly personal character goals, supervising junior staff, and communicating with parents and the camp administration. Cabin counseling is one of the most rewarding, but potentially challenging, parts of your job. You are also expected to share in a weekly campus duty rotation.
As an activity counselor, you are expected to be able to plan and to teach at least one camp activity. Although you may not be the activity head, there may be periods when you are expected to lead an activity. All staff members are responsible for recordkeeping, the maintenance of facilities and equipment, and doing activity skits and presentations. There are 4 activity periods most days, and staff are often asked to teach the same activity all 4 periods. Non-activity related “camper counseling” is part of your responsibility all day long.
Staff members are typically expected to be at camp during the second week of June for the start of 8 days of staff orientation and training, which will allow everyone time to grow as a team, learn about Agawam’s traditions and expectations, discuss child and group development principles, practice counseling skills, learn emergency procedures, and prepare camp physically for the arrival of our campers. Staff members remain at Camp for one day after the campers leave to help break down Camp and put everything away for the winter.
For the most part, our staff members are college students, recent graduates, or teachers. Most are aged 18 to 30. Each summer, we hire about 65 staff. Forty of these are cabin and activity counselors. Usually more than 60% are former campers or staff members. About 10% are international staff.
We enroll about 130 boys ranging in age from 8 to 15. They come from more than 20 states and around a half dozen countries. We are very proud that over 75% of our campers return each summer, and that many are second and third generation campers!
If you are looking to make a fortune, camping may not be for you! However, Agawam’s pay is competitive with other summer camps. Salaries increase based on age, experience, and additional responsibilities. In addition to your pay, you receive room, board, and free laundry service during your stay. We have a generous training reimbursement, and you may earn additional money by working on our pre- or post-camp crews.
Camp counseling can be tiring. You are “on duty” almost 24 hours a day. Most days you will have about 1-¼ hours free during “rest hour” after lunch. Full counselors have two nights off a week from 15 minutes after Taps (as long as the boys in the cabins are settled) until 12:30am and one day off a week from 7:30am until 12:30am. Days off are not available during the first and last weeks of camp, and not usually on Sundays. Early nights off are available twice a summer from 5pm to 12:30am.
We are located in the center of southern Maine, 15 minutes from Sebago Lake boat rentals, lakeside beaches, and Windham’s multiplex cinemas, an hour from great hiking in the White Mountains, 45 minutes from Atlantic Ocean beaches, 30 minutes from Portland (Maine’s largest city), and 40 minutes from Freeport and LL Bean’s flagship store! Many staff members have cars and are willing to share rides on time off. If you stay in camp, you may use Agawam’s facilities (not being used by campers), following our usual safety rules.
Caring for someone else’s children is a big responsibility. We require our staff to be ready to accept the challenges that each day can present, and recognize that staff members who are up all night will be too tired to safely and effectively care for our campers. We require staff members to be back in Camp by Camp’s 12:30am sign-in and in bed by 1:00am, allowing for at least 6-1/2 hours of sleep a night.
Camp is a child’s world, so your adult conversations and activities need to be curtailed. You would be surprised by how much campers pick up that we wouldn’t think they could. Children are very observant! Smoking, chewing tobacco, consumption of alcohol, and the use of drugs are prohibited on Camp Agawam property or while engaged in camp work out of Camp. While you are on free time away from Camp, we expect you to use good judgment and to obey the law. Any staff member who returns to Camp (you are considered “on duty” any time after the 12:30am curfew) under the influence of alcohol is disregarding the safety of our campers, and may be dismissed. Anyone suspected of using illegal drugs while employed at Agawam may also face dismissal.
Good staff candidates should express enthusiasm for working with children and have past experience leading youngsters or peers. We expect that most staff members will be certified in CPR and First Aid before coming to camp, and those applying for waterfront positions should be certified lifeguards. Training may be offered before and/or during our pre-camp period. Agawam may reimburse Red Cross class costs for our staff members who receive training prior to camp. Trip/Nature staff should be trained in Wilderness First Aid.
There is internet access at Camp. Cell phone reception is spotty. Verizon’s service works best. Cell phones may not be used during the camp day, only after Taps, and may not be stored in camper cabins. Mail is delivered 6 days a week to your mailbox in our Counselor Room. Personal phone calls can only be made or received during free time, such as Rest Hour or after Taps.
Yes, Agawam is a uniform camp. Both campers and staff wear simple uniforms. You will be provided with staff t-shirts, staff polo shirt, and a staff chamois shirt. In addition, you may purchase a staff sweatshirt or Camp fleece jacket. Shorts and other items are from your personal wardrobe. You must bring 2 pairs of tan/khaki shorts for “formal” camp occasions. We also have expectations concerning personal appearance: All staff are expected to maintain a professional appearance.
- 7:30 Reveille & Morning Dip
- 8:00 Flag Raising followed by Breakfast & Cabin Clean-up
- 9:30 & 10:20 Morning Activity Periods
- 11:30 General Swim
- 12:10 Relaxation
- 12:30 Lunch
- 1:15 Rest Hour (counselor free time after settling boys in cabins)
- 2:25 Counselors return to cabins to check in with boys before afternoon activities
- 2:30 and 3:30 Afternoon Activity Periods
- 4:30 General Swim
- 5:45 Dinner
- 7:00 Evening Activity Period
- 8:30 Bed Bell
- 9:00 Taps (older boys have late privileges)