What you need to know
As someone considering working at camp as a summer employment option, we hope to provide you with some information on choosing to apply to Camp Manitou. We certainly think that working at Camp Manitou is the best of many great choices out there, but if you have never worked at a camp before, it can be a confusing option when compared to a more typical city job. Most people know why working at camp can be fun and the experience of a lifetime but there are also tremendous benefits that you may not have considered when looking at your future full time employment or lifelong decisions. So take a moment to look at the following information so that you can make the most educated choice possible.
Camp Manitou was founded in 1959 and has always been known for its tradition of sports and arts programming for campers aged 7 to 16. Since its new ownership in 1999, Manitou has developed a special reputation, continuing as a unique program on the Canadian camping scene. Manitou still offers both the quality instruction that you may find at a specialty camp, as well as all of the general fun, friendship, spirit and personal growth that come from a more general camp program.
Each summer, we host campers and staff from around the world. Most are from North America, but on average our campers and staff represent more then 15 countries worldwide from almost every continent! Our camp generally holds about 430 campers and 180 staff, meaning a large and truly diverse summer community.
Why work at camp?
Camps offer many special opportunities. Many of them you may not have considered! Here are some examples:
PRE-CAMP TRAINING: For almost a week before the campers arrive we will teach you almost everything you need to know about working with children in a camp setting. From nurturing through homesickness, to discipline and bullying, from fostering self esteem to building teamwork, you will become a better, teacher, programmer and leader.
LEARN VITAL JOB SKILLS: Today’s employers will tell you that no matter what education and training you have, it is the soft skills (communication, teamwork, leadership etc.) that are usually most important when they hire. These are often the skills that are not taught as part of a school program, and can be far more difficult to learn. At camp, these tools are also critical. After training you in many of these “soft skills” that employers look for, you will receive feedback during the summer, helping you to develop further. These skills will prove to be invaluable when you apply for future jobs.
BUILD PEOPLE SKILLS: If you are considering any kind of career working with people, especially with children, then a camp job offers you experience only found in a camp setting. Day in and day out, you will be working closely with peers and children, meeting their needs and helping them solve problems that will often require you to think “outside the box.” The leadership experience you gain will be unparalleled.
GAIN EXPERIENCE: Many employers from CEOs of large corporations to professionals and small businessmen will tell you that the best partners and employees they’ve had, have worked in a camp setting. Few jobs will give you the kind of intense experience and training that a camp job will. Successful work and leadership skills in a camp environment can help you walk away with a great reference for future opportunities.
MEET PEOPLE: Camps usually draw people from all types of backgrounds. You will have the opportunity to meet new people from different places and learn from them. You may have the opportunity to to draw on their expertise in a sport, art or outdoor adventure program to broaden your own experiences.
EARN MONEY: When comparing camp salaries with typical day or city jobs, up front, camp salaries may often appear less competitive. Keep in mind that in addition to salary, camps will also pay for your meals, accomodation and most of your entertainment while you are away. Don’t forget how much you typically spend going out with your friends! Salaries are paid in one lump sum at the end of the season that can go right into the bank.
CHANGE LIVES: Perhaps most importantly, the children you work with at camp will remember you for the rest of their lives. Think of how fondly you remember some of the people that may have taken an interest in you over the years. You will help them learn skills, make new friends and build self-confidence that may change their lives forever.
Who are our staff?
Our staff are a diverse mix of ages and backgrounds brought together by their interest in working with children. We look for a combination of junior counsellors (senior highschool students), senior counsellors (college/university students) or professional instructors that have a strong background in one of our particular program areas. Our staff categories are as follows:
UNIT HEADS – Male and female supervisors, in charge of 4 to 6 cabin groups (40 – 60 campers) and their counsellors. Unit Heads are responsible for the adjustment and welfare of each camper and staff member under their supervision, wake-up, bedtime, unit programming, general camp administration, parental contact and staff evaluations, reporting to the directors. Unit Heads are mature camp people, senior college or university students or grads.
ACTIVITY HEADS – Supervisors and instructors coordinating a particular activity area during the day. In charge of all activity programming and staff supervision, Activity Heads are generally teaching for several hours throughout the day in addition to developing their program during the evenings. Activity Heads are also encouraged to be fully involved in all aspects of “after hours” programming while certain extra responsibilities (such as night duty etc.) will also be assigned. Activity Heads are people with a strong background in a program area, ideally having taught, coached, trained or learned throughout college or university or beyond.
PROGRAM (ACTIVITY) COUNSELLORS – The bulk of our staff is made up of these counsellors working in a dual role. Counsellors work in teams of two in a cabin with 8 – 12 campers, looking after their general welfare from wake-up to bedtime, including meals and evening program. During the day, campers each have their own individual schedules so most counsellors work at a specific activity in which they have a strong background and are comfortable teaching. Senior counsellors are generally college or university age students (19 and up) while Junior counsellors are senior high school students.
Note: A minimum of Bronze Medallion is required to work on the waterfront, though Bronze Cross is preferred.
FLOAT COUNSELLORS – A small number of counsellors, usually working with our younger campers (ages 9-12) will be designated as “Floats.” Floats will have a similar role to Program Counsellors, but will have skills in several areas and will assist in the instruction of activities as needed. Floats will also spend extra time working with their campers as needed and planning camp-wide or unit programming.
GENERAL COUNSELLORS – A small number of counsellors working with our youngest campers (ages 7-9) will not work at an activity area during the day. Instead, this group of staff work together to ensure that the younger campers receive the extra level of support and supervision that they often need during the day and will organize daily cabin activity periods. General Counsellors may also assist in planning camp-wide or unit programming.
CANOE TRIPPERS – Leaders for our out of camp Canoe Tripping Program, trippers will guide small groups of campers and staff through wilderness canoe routes, out of camp from 2 to 6 days at a time. Trippers must have exceptional leadership and people skills in addition to top swimming, canoeing and first aid certifications.
SUPPORT STAFF – We also hire several people for specialized positions including Registered Nurses, Office Assistants and Maintenance Staff. These people must be proficient in their particular area.
SPECIALISTS – These staff are usually older staff who assist the Activity Director but do not sleep in a camper cabin, and instead sleep in a separate staff cabin. They are few specialists in camp but sometimes specialists work at some activities around camp such as Waterski, Tennis, Fine Arts, or sometimes we hire a specialist in a situation where we have an individual that is past the typical age to live in a camper cabin but has very unique skills.
DATES – Our seasons runs for 7 weeks plus 5-7 days of precamp, starting the end of June. Some staff may be required before or after these dates as well. Our office staff can give you more specific information about the position for which you are applying.
SALARY – Exact salary may vary depending on factors such as age, experience, qualifications etc. However, complete accommodation and meals are provided in addition to salary, payable upon completion of your contract. Laundry is not included in your salary package, but is available to you at cost.
LOCATION AND TRAVEL – Manitou is located in McKellar, Ontario, 20 minutes northeast of Parry Sound and just over 2 ½ hours north from Toronto. Transportation is available to and from Toronto on designated travel dates. You would be responsible to get yourself to and from Toronto if necessary and possibly to camp if you are unable to take advantage of our scheduled transportation.
If you are not a Canadian citizen, you will be required to obtain work permit. You may have started this on your own if you are from a country with a Working Holiday Visa option. If not, we will assist you with obtaining a work permit before you arrive in Canada.
TIME OFF – Each staff member will be entitled to one scheduled day off per week excluding the first and last weeks of the camp season running from dinner time one day until dinnertime the next. Most nights, staff members are able to sign out after camper curfew (about 10:30 PM) and are due back before staff curfew (1:00 AM)