Camp Laurel is ideally located in the Belgrade Lakes Region of Maine, 17 miles west from the state capital of Augusta.
Last year, we welcomed campers from 23 states. Certain geographic areas are represented more heavily than others, since most of our campers hear about Camp Laurel through friendships with current camp families. Our largest group comes from the East Coast: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Baltimore/Washington, South Florida and Boston are well represented. The New York area is the largest of those groups, with campers evenly divided between Manhattan, Westchester, Fairfield County, Northern New Jersey, and Long Island. Campers from the Baltimore/Washington, South Florida, Boston and Philadelphia areas form the next largest groups. We also welcome campers from many other states, including Texas, Colorado and California. Oversees campers also make up a small segment of our population.
Camp Laurel employs about 300 staff for the summer. The majority of our staff are considered Activity Counselors, while a smaller number of staff are hired to work as General Counselors, or Specialists, with our youngest campers (ages 7-10). These staff are known as Acadian or Apache Specialists, on Girls’ side and Boys’ side respectively. Activity Counselors and Acadian/Apache Specialists share many commonalities. All counselors live in a cabin with campers, eat meals with their campers, spend Rest Hour and Rec Time with them, supervise cabin clean-ups and participate in evening programs and special day events. Each age group is managed by a Campus Leader and Assistant Campus Leader who are wonderful resources on a day-to-day basis and throughout the summer. Many of them have been at camp for many years and are educators in the off-season.
Activity Counselor Position
Activity Counselors have a dual role at camp. You work in tandem as a cabin counselor and in a specific program area. Activity Counselors and campers in their cabin follow a similar morning routine (i.e. wake-up, breakfast, clean-up). At the end of clean-up, campers go to their first period and counselors report to their specific program area. As an Activity Counselor, you spend the morning in your program area coaching and teaching campers, boys and girls, ages 7-15, who are assigned to the program area. You will meet back with your cabin of campers at meal times, rest hour and for special events and evening activities. Our Activity Counselors are skilled in a specific area and have the ability to teach, coach and develop campers’ skills in that area. Some areas such as waterfront and adventure have certification requirements such as WSI, LGT, and CPR. Your excitement and ability to have fun and be creative will be critical components to making the program a success. The excitement and energy of our counselors lays the foundation for a popular and successful camp program. Each program area is overseen by a Department Head and Program Area Director who lends their expertise in managing the program, curriculum and staff. Activity Counselors get the “best of both worlds”; they spend the activity day in their program area, getting to know children from all different age groups and teaching an activity for which they have passion, and; they have a group of campers to call their own and to spend time with outside of activities.
Acadia/Apache Specialist Role
Acadian/Apache Specialists are responsible for the physical, emotional and social well-being of our youngest campers, ages 7-10. Many of these children are away from their parents for the first time. As a “Specialist,” you are responsible for traveling to and from activities with your campers, making sure the campers get to where they should be going and have the proper attire and equipment with them. You will be involved at activities. If your campers are swimming, you will get in the water and assist a swim lesson. If they are at Arts & Crafts, you will lend a hand to a camper who needs extra help. You will be responsible for managing issues that arise with your campers at daily activities. You will know your campers better than anyone and they will respond to you when there is an issue. As an Acadian or Apache specialist, you have the opportunity to experience all the different facets of camp. This is the perfect position for anyone who has a passion for working with younger children, is energetic, warm and compassionate and wants an opportunity to get to know many areas of camp.
Great. You can work with our younger campers who require a more visible presence as they “travel” through their day from program to program. If this fits your needs, let us know. This is a perfect job for those who simply love being and working with younger children, ages 7 to 10.
There are about 15 “waking hours” in a day. Five or six of those are spent instructing an activity. The rest of the time, you are with your own campers. Meal times, rec time, rest hour, evening programs, etc. are spent with the boys or girls in your own group.
It basically means that you will mostly see children in your activity who want to be there. It is quite different teaching a group of campers baseball who want to learn and play – as opposed to being scheduled for a group with varying ability and interest levels. This is one of the reasons counselors love working at Laurel. For younger campers, swimming, tennis and team sports are required.
We consider ourselves diverse. We have some children who compete on their high school varsity teams and others who are not athletic. Our job is to make everyone feel comfortable. Instruction is quite advanced for those campers requiring a bit more intensity and very beginner-based for children not as adept at sports. While we play to win, we emphasize participation and sportsmanship. We are charged with making sure each camper has an opportunity to shine… to find his or her “place” at camp.
We know for you to be an effective counselor, you need to take time for yourself. We want you to be fresh and invigorated. Specifically, you receive one period off or rest period each day. At that time, you may use any available facilities to recreate. Of course, you may opt to just read quietly, check email in our staff lounge or take a nap. About every other night, you are on duty and must stay with your group until they are asleep, then remain in camp “on duty” until 12:30 a.m. when the remainder of the counseling staff who are “off” return to camp. In addition, you receive six 30-hour days off during the season and several early evenings off. When you’re on, be ready to work. But when you’re off, use your time wisely.
Staff shirts must be worn each day until after dinner. Your personal appearance is important. We require athletic-type shorts if you are teaching sports (i.e. gym, tennis or sweat shorts are fine) and staff shirts. If you are teaching arts, for instance, you are certainly free to wear walking shorts or other types of shorts/pants as long as they are neat. Sneakers are the normal footwear. Sandals are not appropriate for teaching sports, but certainly fine “after the activity day.” In a word – dress befitting your activity. We insist on a neat appearance for all counselors. Goatees, long sideburns or rings piercing any body part other than the ear are not permitted. Male counselors must be clean shaven. Counselors must not alter their hair color or style while at camp and counselors must be willing to cover any visible tattoos.
We are proud to say about 40 percent of our staff return annually. We are happy to tell you that about 90 percent of our campers return as well.
Each camp day is unique, but there is a good deal of regularity to the daily program. Campers select certain “electives” and, based on those selections, staff are assigned programs by their Program Area Directors. It is safe to say, though, that if you are hired for a specific role such as tennis or soccer, you will be teaching those periods six hours each day. Below is a thumbnail portrait of a typical day:
- Following wake-up and breakfast, each camp group joins together for morning “Cove” or a primer for the day ahead.
- After a short cabin “clean up,” the campers go to three morning activities. Using soccer as an example, you, as a soccer counselor, would report to your area where your department head would have the curriculum ready for the day. Each morning activity block – about one hour long – would see three separate camper groups until about 12:45.
- Following morning activity, there is a buffet lunch and “rest hour” or quiet time to relax, read and spend time with the campers with whom you live.
- Following rest hour, there are two additional activity periods similar to the morning as well as an all-camp 6th period, in which campers spontaneously choose what programs they wish for one hour. Your activity area is open during 6th period for extra practices, rehearsals, special events, etc.
- After 6th period, there is a wash-up, followed by dinner.
- After dinner and Evening Cove, you are with your group for evening program and until your cabin is in bed. Evening programs range from talent shows to sports leagues “under the lights,” to campfires and so on. Camper bedtime is from 8:30 to 11:00, based upon age.
While this represents a brief portrait, there is far too much going on to describe on paper. Weekly trips, hikes, sight-seeing excursions, inter-camp competitions, theatre productions, football and soccer leagues, etc. make up some of our special activities and events.
Many staff come from recommendations of former counselors. Students from more than 50 colleges and universities are represented at Laurel. In addition, we have coaches and instructors as well as teachers from all parts of the country, and a few counselors from abroad.
Laurel is separated into six distinct campuses. Our boys campuses – Apache, Sequoia and Kennebago – house different age groups. Our girls campuses – Acadia, Baxter and Kennebec – house various age groups. Each campus is headed by a Campus Leader and Assistant Campus Leader who are in direct charge of a campus.
Camp Laurel is a co-ed camp with a strong emphasis on instruction and participation. Most activities are not co-ed. Athletics, for example, are all grouped by gender, and by ability within age groups, so that all sports are most appropriate to each group. We take the very best elements from a single-sex camp and combine them with the best elements of a co-ed camp. Our program for girls and boys is very strong and instructionally-based. Both programs place an emphasis on high-quality skill development.
All staff (except operations staff) live with children in cabins. The cabins are very comfortable, and all have electricity and bathrooms. Some cabins house six campers and two counselors while others house up to 18 campers and three to five staff.
Working and living at camp is an expense-free summer and staff may conceivably leave at the end of the season with their entire salary. In addition to salary and travel allowance, staff are provided free of charge with 10 staff shirts, a staff sweatshirt and room and board. Staff will receive laundry services at a charge of $75.00 that will be deducted from your final paycheck.
The demands of living with a group of children are great. On camp, there is a staff-only lounge with games, as well as a TV and email and phone accessibility. We have several computers in our staff lounge that are devoted exclusively to staff. There is also a well-planned staff recreation program for counselors “after hours.” Your free time is just that – yours. We also provide transportation for you on your nights and days off if you don’t have a car.
Campers, counselors and guests tell us our food is excellent. We have fruit available four times every day, daily salad and fruit bars at lunch and dinner, and a pasta bar at every evening meal. Our Chef takes special pride in his baked breads, cakes and cookies. Our head chef makes soup daily from scratch.
No. Camp Laurel is a non-denominational camp. We have no services but do join together for a non-denominational Camp Fire on Friday evenings. Camp Laurel accepts and welcomes campers and staff from all backgrounds, religions and faiths.
Camp is very structured and demanding. We like to say it is “the toughest job you will ever love.” The campers are in camp all summer and our responsibility to them is 24 hours a day. If you are interested in joining our staff, please give all the information herein careful consideration and send us an email by clicking on the link above. We will contact you right away about the availability of a position and arrange an interview.
If you love children and believe in their incredible potential, if you feel good about yourself and the talents you offer, if you thrive on healthy outdoor surroundings and believe in an active, enthusiastic approach to life, then Camp Laurel may be the perfect place to call your summer home.