FAQs About Working at Camp:
What kind of people do you look for to be staff?
The answer is, all kinds! Because we do not serve only one type of camper, we do not look for one specific type of person to work here. Special needs experience or camp experience is great, but really, we want people who are ready to spend their summer serving others and giving our campers the time of their life! We can teach just about anyone the ins and outs of camp, but we can’t teach people to care. This is a hard job: we serve children and adults; we help with personal care; and we work crazy long hours; but we feel you get back tenfold what you put in. If that all sounds good to you, we would love to have you apply!
Do I have to attend the staff training week?
Yes- we hope and try to have everyone at staff training! It’s not only important to learn all the things we do but also to come together as a team! Plus, you get paid! For excellent returning staff who can’t make it to training, we will consider doing a condensed training upon arrival, but such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
What do we do in staff training?
We go over everything from how to help campers with personal care or work through a challenging behavior, to things like communication games and team-building activities. We try to make training fun, active, and educational. The schedule reflects a typical week at camp and will include things like how to help campers at archery or what to do in case of a medical emergency. We hire about 115 summer staff and so the other goal is to get to know your team!
Do staff get any time off during the summer?
Of course! During the days, you get at least an hour off. Also you’ll get another hour or two a week off during rest hour right after lunch as you’ll rotate with your cabinmates for who has cabin duties during the rest hour and who gets that hour off. If you’re on duty, you can rest on your bunk while your campers take a break, too. Finally you’ll have an hour at night between about 10:00 and midnight which you’ll schedule with your cabinmates. We wrap up each week by 3:00p.m. on Fridays, so you’ll have Friday evening, all of Saturday, and Sunday morning off. On Sunday, you’re due back at 12:00noon as we gear up for another glorious week at camp!
During time off are we allowed to stay on site?
Yes, staff are welcome to head off site or stay on during the weekends off. While campers are present, we ask that you stay on site. Food is provided during the weekends. (We have a sign-up during the week so we know how much to prep).
Do I need to work the entire summer?
Our summer is one week of training and 11 full weeks of camp. We give priority to staff who can work the entire summer, however, it is not unusual that staff need one week off for a wedding or family vacation. Sometimes staff also need to leave a week early to go back to school. If you are thinking about just coming for one or two weeks we would love to have you apply as a volunteer!
What is the difference between the ‘Cabin Leader’ position and the ‘Cabin Counselor’ position?
Please read the “Day in the Life of a Wonderland Camp Counselor piece” regardless of which position you are applying for! We hire one Cabin Leader per cabin (11 total) and about 55 Counselors. The Cabin Leader lives and works in the cabin just like a counselor but they have the added responsibility of supervising/supporting the counselors and program staff in their cabin. They make cabin hour-off, rest hour, and night schedules, and they communicate with other staff about any needs in their cabin.
Do we work in the same cabin each week?
Nope. We move around at the end of the week so you can have a chance to work with a wide range of campers. You could have 10-year-old boys one week and the next be with 70-year-young ladies! Our female staff do work with both genders; however, our male staff work only with male campers. This also gives you a chance to work with a lot of different staff!
A lot of the job descriptions talk about camper personal care. What is that?
Some of our campers do require personal care. This is different for everyone based on their needs and abilities, but may include help in the bathroom or shower, brushing teeth, eating, shaving, and getting dressed. We go over this extensively in staff training and it is never something a staff does alone. Personal care can, at times, be a big part of caring for our campers.
Can I bring a car to camp?
Sure, we have a staff parking lot. About 50% of our staff brings cars, so it’s not unusual to have one or not have one!
Are there certain things I should not bring to camp?
Yes, you will receive a suggested packing list with all the fun staff paperwork after we hire you. Some things we do not allow onsite include alcohol (no matter your age) or illegal substances, fireworks, personal outdoor rec equipment like rifles, hunting bows, knives, ATVs etc.
Can staff smoke onsite?
No, we do not allow summer staff to smoke on camp property. Some of our adult campers do smoke in a designated area.
Will my cell phone work at camp?
Sometimes! Cell service at camp is tough at times, there are a couple spots that work great that we would encourage you to use during your hours off. AT&T seems to work the best; that’s what our year-round staff use. Some people have success with Sprint (but Verizon tends to struggle). You can use your cell phone in your time off, but not when you’re with our campers.
Can my pet come to camp?
Sadly, no. We know it is hard to leave your puppy (or goldfish) at home but we must ask you to do so. If you need puppy love during your time off, our Camp Director’s dogs can often be found in his backyard and all staff are welcome to play!
Can I do my internship or field placement at camp?
Yes! Many of our staff are completing these. Each college is different on requirements and what needs to go into these programs so we accept these on an individual basis. In the past we have had students doing an internship/field placement in areas of PT, OT, Rec therapy, Non-profit management, hospitality, AND MORE!
I am an out of state college student in Missouri. Can I gain residency working at camp?
Yes! This is common for some of our staff; however, we are not experts in this area and recommend talking with your school on this subject. Because we provide room and board you will have a Missouri address over the summer as well as paychecks from camp which all go into gaining residency and in-state tuition.