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J1 USA

In This Section

 

  1. What are the basic requirements?
  2. Do I have to be a student to apply to Camp America?
  3. What skills/experience do I need?
  4. If I have a criminal conviction, can I apply?
  5. How do I get started?
  6. What is the deadline for document submission?
  7. What happens at the US Embassy/Consulate meeting?
  8. When do I need to be free for programme?
  9. After my acceptance, am I guaranteed a placement in a camp?
  10. After I apply, how long will it take to get placed?
  11. When do I leave for camp?
  12. What is the overall cost?
  13. What wages (pocket money) will I earn?
  14. What additional costs are there?
  15. Is there an application deadline?
  16. Will my Irish bank card work in the USA?
  17. How much money should I budget for camp?
  18. Who can provide a reference?
  19. How many references do I need?
  20. Why do I need to be Garda vetted?
  21. What if I have spent offenses?
  22. Why do I need a completed medical form?
  23. What does my insurance cover?
  24. What should I do if I need medical attention?
  25. I have received a bill for medical treatment, will I have to pay?
  26. How do I get to camp from the airport?
  27. What should I do if I get delayed at any point?
  28. Which airports can I fly from?
  29. Which airport will I fly to?
  30. What items do I need to bring to my visa appointment?
  31. If I have a problem at summer camp, who should I ask for help?
  32. What do I do if I need to change my return flight date?
  33. What if I miss my flight home?
  34. I have to leave summer camp before the end of my contract, what happens now?
  35. What kind of camp will I be working at?
  36. What is a life at camp like?
  37. Will there be other international staff at my camp?
  38. Will I have an opportunity to learn new skills at camp?
  39. Can I take medication to camp?
  40. What types of camps are there?
  41. Do I have to pay for food while at camp?
  42. Do I need to pay for accommodation while at camp?
  43. What can I wear at camp?
  44. Will I have any time off?
  45. Can I smoke or drink at camp?
  46. How do I apply?
  47. How do I contact a Camp America Interviewer?
  48. Do I get to choose which state I work in?
  49. Do I get a refund if I am not placed?
  50. Do camp directors really look at my Social Networking sites?
  51. Can I apply with a friend?
  52. Should I wear my Camp America t-shirt on the day of my flight?
  53. How much luggage can I take?

  1. What are the basic requirements?

    •    An outgoing, adventurous and cheerful personality  
    •    Reliability and flexibility    
    •    A native English speaker or fluent in English  
    •    A commitment to working at least nine weeks from May/June to August  
    •    Ability to fly to the U.S by the 20th of June at the latest  
    •    Be at least 18 years of age and at most 28, by June 1st  
    •    Have an EU passport
  2. Do I have to be a student to apply to Camp America?

    No. Applicants though must have a desire to work with children. See Eligibility for further information.

  3. What skills/experience do I need?

    The skills and experience you need to have should be relevant to the activity areas that you want to work on at camp. If you want to apply to teach activities to children then you will be applying for the Counsellor role where there are plenty of activity areas you could be hired in. Depending on your hobbies and interests there’s bound to be a skill area on camp that you could teach but you need to have the knowledge level and confidence to be able to teach this to children. So it could be in, sports, drama, music, outdoor adventure, media, performing arts, water sports.

    Any experience in food preparation, maintenance work or housekeeping would be valuable for a Campower role. Due to visa restrictions only students who are full time students can be offered the Campower role.

    If you’re applying for the Counsellor role then every camp will be looking for example of childcare experience on your application. So it’s important that whilst your applying you try and get as much experience within childcare as you can to help your application stand out from the rest. Whether this is voluntary or paid positions and with any aged children, the more experience you can demonstrate on your application the better. You don’t necessarily need to have any formal childcare experience to take part and apply for the Campower role.

  4. If I have a criminal conviction, can I apply?

    All issues are looked at on an individual basis. You must contact the Camp America office to discuss the situation prior to you attending an interview. Please note that if the offense was due to drink or drugs the US Embassy may ask you to attend a medical screening with one of their doctors and there is a substantial extra cost with this.

    Offences relating to drugs or violence will render you ineligible for the programme. Please also note that some camps undertake random drug testing during the summer.

    If you have a past criminal offence which has since been removed from your record, you must state this. Please remember you are applying for a position in the USA and US law will take precedence over your local laws. The US Embassy wants to know everything from your past whether it will appear on a criminal record check or not.

  5. How do I get started?

    Make your application to be placed at one of our Summer Camps on the Camp America website.

    Obtaining a J1 Visa:

    The Visa process officially begins in January for placed participants. Once you accept your placement, your references have been checked and approved, and your police check has been received your visa process will begin! Important visa papers called DS-2019 forms will be issued by the US State Department in Washington D.C. and printed in America. DS-2019 forms are then sent from our US office to your local Camp America office.

    This process can take anywhere between 5-10 working days depending on where you are in the world. All DS-2019 forms will be sent to the primary address you supply on your Camp America application.

  6. What is the deadline for document submission?

    You should submit all documents within 30 days of your placement being confirmed at a camp. 

  7. What happens at the US Embassy/Consulate meeting?

    You will submit your documents and speak to a consular officer about where your destination, role at camp and what you will be doing when you return to Ireland (ie. your intention to return).

  8. When do I need to be free for programme?

    To be able to apply for the programme applicants need to be available to fly to camp between the dates of 1st May and 20th June. This is due to when the majority of camps start and being able to arrive in time complete staff training and orientation. You can enter the earliest date you can depart on your application.

    Although all of the camps that we work with have varying programmes and dates, we do ask that all applicants are available to be at camp for a minimum of 9 weeks. This is the typical placement length for most camps but it can be slightly more or less. The longer you’re available the better but you can expect to be on camp for around 9 weeks from your camp’s start date once hired. By giving us your earliest start date, we will match you to a camp that has their staff on or after that date so you could depart later than your earliest available date.

  9. After my acceptance, am I guaranteed a placement in a camp?

    Not yet. You will be interviewed by a camp and hired by them directly.

  10. After I apply, how long will it take to get placed?

    At any stage up to June 1st.

  11. When do I leave for camp?

    Generally between May 25th and June 20th.

  12. What is the overall cost?

    Please visit our Costs & Wages page to learn more.

  13. What wages (pocket money) will I earn?

    This varies depending on which Camp America package you choose, your age and experience. For more, see our Costs & Wages page.

    Taxation

    Due to recent changes to the tax laws in the U.S. income tax system, and the elimination of personal exemptions (which was $4,050 per individual in 2017), Camp Counselors and Campowers (who hold J-1 visas) will now have taxes deducted from their pocket money and will be required to file a U.S. Federal income tax return and in certain cases, a State income tax return to satisfy their U.S. income tax liability. Please be aware that Camp America cannot legally give advice on US taxes.

  14. What additional costs are there?

     U.S Embassy Fee - $160 (approx. €145)

     Medical - Up to €50

    For a full breakdown of costs, please visit our Costs & Wages page.

  15. Is there an application deadline?

    The application deadline is usually sometime in March/April although this is subject to change. The sooner you apply the more you increase your chances of being placed.

    Applying early really does increase your placement chances. When we open the recruitment season in August-September we have 7000+ positions available. With each passing day that number decreases so the earlier you apply the better!

  16. Will my Irish bank card work in the USA?

    Most Irish bank cards will but can be subject to transaction charges. Check with your bank before departure and consider travellers cheques or a pre-paid debit card.

  17. How much money should I budget for camp?

    We recommend that you take at least $300 in cash to begin with, with access to additional funds if needed.

  18. Who can provide a reference?

    References are a very important part of your Camp America application. They can come from a manage/supervisor at work, lecturer/teacher at college or university, coach from a sports club/team or anyone who has had any professional contact with you. We cannot accept references from anyone in your family or who has only known you on an informal level.

    They should all have a good knowledge of your character and suitability for the programme and ideally have had professional contact with you for at least six months within the last year.

  19. How many references do I need?

    You need two complete references to take part in the programme. At the time of completing your online application you will be asked to enter the full, professional contact details (no personal details) of two referees. These details need to include their name, name of organisation, business telephone number and email address as well as their position and relation to you.

    Once you complete your interview, if successful, Camp America will automatically contact these referees via email to request a full reference that will be entered on to your application.

  20. Why do I need to be Garda vetted?

    Both the Summer Camps and the US Department of State are extremely vigilant about who they will grant a Visa to, especially when working with children or vulnerable adults.

  21. What if I have spent offenses?

    Spent offenses still affect eligibility to gain a J1 visa to the US. Please declare any spent offences so we can take appropriate steps to ensure the successful processing of your visa application.

  22. Why do I need a completed medical form?

    It is an American Camp Association (ACA) requirement that camps hold a medical history form for you in case of emergency.

  23. What does my insurance cover?

    Your insurance covers most medical care within the USA. See Insurance for more information.

  24. What should I do if I need medical attention?

    Take details of your policy, specifically the policy number and address for billing. In all cases you should attempt to call the insurance company first for advice before any treatment is administered.

  25. I have received a bill for medical treatment, will I have to pay?

    It’s unlikely. You will need to submit a claim to the insurance company using the instructions provided in the "Insurance" section of your account. The insurance policy carries an excess, so you will have to pay the medical provider (hospital or doctors surgery) for that portion of the bill directly. Your insurance will pay the rest of any qualifying bill.

  26. How do I get to camp from the airport?

    We liaise with your camp to ensure your safe transfer by bus or train to camp. Some camps may pick up staff at the airport.

  27. What should I do if I get delayed at any point?

    If your flight from Ireland is delayed, call us to let us know before your departure so we can arrange a pick up or accommodations, as well as inform the camp.

  28. Which airports can I fly from?

    You can fly from Cork. Dublin or Shannon airports.

  29. Which airport will I fly to?

    You can fly to Boston, New York JFK and Newark airports.

  30. What items do I need to bring to my visa appointment?

    Please read the cover letter sent to you in your DS-2019 visa pack as this gives specific guidelines as to exactly what you need to bring with you to the U.S. Embassy for your J-1 visa appointment. Additionally, this information is outlined on your Camp America Direct account in the instructional PDFs.

    The following items should be placed in your clear plastic wallet in this order:

    • Your passport at the front
    • A printout of the U.S. Embassy’s confirmation of your appointment email (this is emailed directly to you from the U.S. Embassy once your appointment has been booked)
    • A printout of the receipt that came with your appointment email. It is a confirmation of your payment.
    • Non-immigrant Visa Application (DS-160) online form – print off the sheet that has your barcode – the link to this form is contained within instructions on your Camp America Direct visa page
    • Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 visa (DS-2019 form) signed and dated
    • Notice of Action or SEVIS I-901 Fee (you will be required to print this yourself; please follow directions from either the original instructional guide included in your visa pack or the instructional PDFs on your Camp America Direct visa pages)
    • Letter of support from Camp America – this was included in your visa pack or it is available to print from your Camp America Direct visa page
    • Documentary evidence/proof of return – as outlined above and in the instructional PDFs on your Camp America Direct visa page

  31. If I have a problem at summer camp, who should I ask for help?

    The first port of call should be your camp supervisors or your Camp Director. If this is not possible, call Camp America which is open 24/7. Please exhaust all options before calling friends and family at home as it is unlikely they will be able to help and will only worry.

  32. What do I do if I need to change my return flight date?

    Please remember the flight date was set by the camp director and any change puts your placement at a serious risk. It would need to be a very good and unavoidable reason for this request to be made.

    If you cannot make the flight on your assigned departure date please email Camp America at campplacement@campamerica.co.uk. If a flight has already been ticketed you will be charged a penalty fee for a change to be made.

  33. What if I miss my flight home?

    Please don’t! If you miss your flight home you will need to pay the full cost of a new ticket and then may be required to wait (at your own expense) for the next available flight. Please try to arrive in your departure city the day before your flight.

  34. I have to leave summer camp before the end of my contract, what happens now?

    Call Camp America immediately and explain the situation. You may be responsible for additional costs that would have otherwise been paid by the camp. 

  35. What kind of camp will I be working at?

    These camps may be co-ed or single gender and campers are between the ages of 7 and 17 years old. Campers live in cabins and stay at camp between 1 and 8 weeks.

    Though there are many traditional camps in the U.S., each camp is unique and has its own personality, history and culture. There are also specialist camps such as band camp. See here for more.

  36. What is a life at camp like?

    In a word, fun. In another, varied. Participants should be prepared at all times to be fun, silly, play games and help create a positive, high-energy environment.

    Be advised that camp is for the campers first and foremost and staff can be entertaining and supervising campers from 7am to 9pm. Participants should not expect to leave camp more than 5 times during the summer.

  37. Will there be other international staff at my camp?

    More than likely. Most camps will add you to their Facebook staff page where you can interact with the American and international staff before camp.

  38. Will I have an opportunity to learn new skills at camp?

    Yes. This experience is unrivalled for your CV and general skill set.

  39. Can I take medication to camp?

    Of course, just make sure you bring enough medication to last you the duration of your stay as American medical costs can be expensive and often are not insured. Medicine can be stored and accessed at the medical centre at camp, out of reach of children.

  40. What types of camps are there?

    Camps vary and can include: private camps, single sex camps, family camps, religious camps, underprivileged camps, special needs camps, day camps, specialised camps etc. Click here to read more about the different types of camps.

  41. Do I have to pay for food while at camp?

    No, you will only have to pay food costs on your time off, while away from camp and during your travels afterwards.

  42. Do I need to pay for accommodation while at camp?

    No. This is covered as part of the programme.

  43. What can I wear at camp?

    While each camp varies, be sure to always look presentable and dress comfortable with no visible tattoos or piercings.

  44. Will I have any time off?

    Yes, although each camp varies. On average you will have one day off per week, as well as time off during each day and one or two evenings off during the week.  

  45. Can I smoke or drink at camp?

    No. If you’re caught smoking, drinking/being intoxicated on camp property, you will most likely be fired and sent home immediately. In all likelihood, you will be required to pay full programme fees (Up to $1,700) and will be unable to work in the US again.

  46. How do I apply?

    Click the logo here to apply on the Camp America website:

     

  47. How do I contact a Camp America Interviewer?

    Once you have completed the majority of your online application, you will see a notification that will allow you to select an interviewer. If you follow that link you will see a list of available interviewers in your region and also a brief description about their Camp America experience. You then just to need to click on their profile to select them as your interview and send them a message to give them a bit of information about when you’d be available to be interviewed.

    Interviewers should get back to you within a week or so but at busy points in the season this could be slightly longer. If you don’t hear back from your interviewer in this time, contact your local Camp America office and they’ll be able to assist. All of your initial contact with your interview will be done via email and messaging on your Camp America site so it is important that check your account regularly so that you don’t miss any messages from your interview.

  48. Do I get to choose which state I work in?

    It’s not part of the application from to pick the state that you’d like to work in. We have hundreds of camps that are spread all over America and the majority of them are based in East Coast states.

    On your application form you will be able to tell us what type of camps you’d like to work on and with that information as well as your skills, experience and interests we will match you to a camp that we think suits you best.

  49. Do I get a refund if I am not placed?

    Yes! If by the end of our placement season (can be up until end of June), we unfortunately haven’t found you a placement then we will refund you all of the Camp America payments/deposits that you’ve made. Unfortunately we cannot refund any third party payments you’ve made such as medical fees. The refund is automatically processed back in the account that you have made your payments from.

  50. Do camp directors really look at my Social Networking sites?

    Yes they do! Please ensure you do not have anything on these sites that a director may find offensive (including comments, photos and posts you are tagged in) or give them reason to doubt your suitability to work with children. Each season participants lose their placement even before they depart for camp for this reason.

  51. Can I apply with a friend?

    No, sorry, Camp America does not accept joint applications. This is because the camps need their staff to be flexible and act independently. Each placement of on an applicant to camp is made individually based on your skills, experience and interests as well as the dates you’re able to go. Our placement team do their best to match you as an individual person to the camp that is best suited.

    Applicants, however, are not prevented from attending Recruitment Fairs together - whereby they will meet directly with Camp Directors, who will ultimately decide whether or not they are prepared to hire friends. If there are positions available that suit you both then you may well be placed at the same camp but this is upon the discretion of that individual Camp Director and not Camp America.

  52. Should I wear my Camp America t-shirt on the day of my flight?

    Yes! This will identify you and others as Camp America participants so you can speak with each other as you may find another participant going to the same camp as you. It will also identify you when you arrive in the US to the person that will be waiting to meet you.

  53. How much luggage can I take?

    Please check the website of the airline you are travelling on for this information. Camp America will not be held responsible for excess luggage charges.

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