SWAP - summer camp work for Canadians, work as a camp counsellor or in a support role

logo

SWAP's Summer Camp USA


Summer Camp in the US

Spend a summer living the famous summer camp experience. Get paid to live in the great outdoors while having fun and meeting other camp staff from all over the world.

A Guaranteed Job

You'll have a guaranteed job working as a camp counsellor or camp support staff — you bring the enthusiasm and we’ll make sure you get a great summer job!

Support in Canada and the US

We make sure you find a job and we take care of all the paperwork for your visa. We'll be there for you throughout your entire camp experience, from beginning to end.

SWAP USA since 1999

We started offering SWAP programs to the United States in 1999!

SWAP's Summer Camp USA

  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kind of job can I expect to find once I’m on the program?

    There are a lot of camp jobs out there and we want to make sure you find the right one to suit your personality. There are two types of jobs that will be available — camp counsellor jobs where you work and live with children attending various sleep-away and day camps, and support staff positions. If being a counsellor is not your thing, you can gain experience working in the office in an administration, role, brush up on your culinary arts in the kitchen, or be part of the team that keeps the camp running in housekeeping or maintenance.

    (For all camp roles, you must be a full time post-secondary student in the 2017/18 school year.)

  • How will I get a job at a camp?

    Once you sign up, you’ll get exclusive access to an online database where you’ll upload a profile showing yourself off to camps across the USA. Camps will reach out to you if they think you’re a good fit, so you just sit back and relax and wait for camps to come to you! They’ll set up an interview with you on Skype so you can see what is available, what the camp is like, and whether it is the right choice for you.

    After you accept a job offer (congrats!), we’ll take care of all the visa paperwork and get you prepped for your best summer yet.

  • Can I find a job that puts my special skills/training to use?

    Yes! If you’re a life guard or have special skills in things like canoeing, kiteboarding, horseback riding, or culinary training, your application will shine. Camps love to hire counsellors with skills to share with the campers! We encourage you to mention all of your skills in your application.

    If you speak a second language or would like to work at a religious camp, just let us know and we’ll make sure all your employers can see all of your unique talents in your online profile. Like we said before, we want to find the best camp placement for you and listing any of your special skills will help in getting this done.

  • What part of the US are the camps in?

    We have opportunities at camps all over the US (yes, even in Hawaii!) but the majority of camps are in the Northeast and New England.

  • What’s my accommodation going to be like? How about food?

    All camp counsellors bunk in with the campers in cabins. There are usually two or three counsellors in a cabin with four to eight campers. Your job is to guide them and ensure their safety at all times.

    Camp support staff live in shared accommodation with other staff members in cabins at camp. Food is also provided while you’re at camp.

  • What is a J-1 visa and why do I need it?

    A J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the United States Department of State to exchange visitors participating in programs that promote cultural exchange. There are different types of J1 visas depending on the type of work allowed.

    All J-1 visas must be issued by a sponsor organization in the US that is responsible for not only issuing the visa documentation, but they are also responsible for ensuring your safety, and compliance with all program regulations. For this program, you will get a Summer Work and Travel or Camp J-1 visa, depending on what job you decide to accept at camp. We will ensure you get the correct visa.

  • What is SEVIS?

    SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System) is a US government system to track foreign visitors in the US. The fee to register for SEVIS is included in your SWAP Summer Camp USA program price and we give you instructions on how to start the SEVIS tracking in your GO SWAP Kit.

    Once in the US, you must register your US address within 20 days of your training start date. If you do not comply with the requirements of SEVIS at any point during your stay, your visa will be automatically terminated. All the important information will be given to you in your GO SWAP Kit.

  • What are support funds?

    Support funds are the money that the US government requires you to have that proves you can support yourself throughout your stay in the US.

    We recommend you have at least $1000 USD for any emergencies and spending money (since you’ll be saving your paycheques with no rent or food costs!)

  • How much is SWAP's Summer Camp USA program?

    The Summer Camp USA program is only $600 CAD for any period between 8-12 weeks. That's less than $100/week while your paycheques will be in higher value American dollars! The Summer Camp USA program also includes everything listed here, including travel insurance covering your entire stay.

  • When should I book my travel to the US?

    Please confirm or book your travel arrangements only when we know that your application has been approved. Unforeseen delays in visa processing are always possible. If you are planning to enter the US on a one-way ticket, immigration officials may want to see proof that you have the funds to return to Canada.

  • I have worked in the US before on this program. Can I do this again?

    Yes, you may go on the Summer Camp USA program again as long as you can meet the current eligibility requirements

  • Can I travel outside of Canada while my Summer Camp USA application is being processed?

    Unlike other SWAP programs where original passport is needed to process your visa, the Summer Camp USA program only requires a copy of your passport. This means you are free to travel while your application is being processed.

    In your best interest, please leave us a phone number or e-mail address where you can be reached in case you are required to submit documents or we have questions for you during processing.

    Your GO SWAP Kit, which includes your important visa documentation, can only be sent to a Canadian address.

    You must enter the US from Canada to activate your visa.

  • Can my visa be mailed to me in the US?

    No, this is not permitted as you will need to cross a US / Canada border with the proper authorization provided by SWAP Working Holidays in order to activate your J-1 status so you can legally work in the US. Having your work documentation mailed to you in the US is illegal, so your GO SWAP Kit can only be mailed to a Canadian address.

  • Can I begin work before my permit is issued?

    You are not legally permitted to work in the USA until you have received your proper documentation and you have been issued the correct forms at the border entry.

  • When will my visa start?

    You will work with your camp employer to choose your visa start date (i.e. the date you intend to start working) and you may enter the country up to 30 days prior to your start date and you can stay in the US up to 30 days after you stop working.

    Not only can you have a great, pre-arranged summer job but you can fit some US travel in before and after your job!

  • What's Included when you GO with SWAP:

    SWAP's here to support you both in Canada and throughout your stay in the USA. We make sure you get the job you want and have everything you need to head off for the summer of a lifetime.

    • Your own SWAP representative who will go over the program specifics with you, walk you through the application process, help you get the best profile out to employers, and be there to answer any questions you may have leading up to your departure
    • Personalized agent assistance in reviewing the necessary application forms, ensuring it’s completed correctly before submission to the US government
    • We take care of the processing and issuance of the summer/camp J-1 visa document
    • Travel insurance that will cover you for your entire time in the US (government mandated requirement)
    • Job placement, accommodation, and food for the full duration of your camp placement
    • The GO SWAP Kit, which includes: Your summer/camp J-1 visa document, SEVIS registration and receipt, access to an online participant handbook that has important information on SEVIS (and what it means for you), applying for Social Security, taxes, and the various visa rules and regulations that will apply to you. Our expert materials that have Canadian-specific instructions to ensure that you understand what you need to do and what is expected of you as a J-1 visa holder
    • Online orientation prior to your departure
    • Our staff in the US will monitor your summer camp job on an ongoing basis to ensure that everything is going well with your employer
    • Support from local US staff for the duration of your trip, including access to a toll-free, 24/7 emergency number

Get paid to enjoy the great outdoors and help children have the experience of a lifetime at camp in the US!

Program Info

  • Eligibility

    You must be at least 18 years old and be available for at least 8 weeks any time between May to September, 2018. Camp support staff must be full time post-secondary students in the 2017/18 school year. Experience working with or spending time with children is an asset

  • Registration Timelines

    The 2018 camp application period is now closed. Please check back in early 2019 for your next opporunity!

  • Required Savings

    You must have $1000 USD in your account at the time of application. These "support funds" are the money that the US government requires you to have that proves you can support yourself throughout your stay in the US.

  • For Only

    SWAP's Summer Camp USA is only $600 CAD! Includes guaranteed job placement as a camp counsellor, J1 visa sponsorship, help through the visa application process, and support from SWAP from start to finish

    Take the 1st step ››