Interview Questions for a Camp Counselor & How to Answer Them

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Background information:

I’m currently searching for a camp counselor position because one, substitute teachers don’t have incomes during the long summer breaks, and two, I think it will be super exciting to live in the woods for the summer doing outdoor activities with the kids. I was offered a job at Camp Shane, which is a weight loss camp, but after finding negative reviews, a bad experience with the staff director, and how I easily I was offered the job, I had a gut feeling that this wasn’t the right job for me. So, I searched online for one that I believe was more suitable for me, Camp Nawakwa.

Camp Nawakwa is in the San Bernardino Mountains of California. It is a small camp, but pays better than most camps. They have different themes for each session, but all participate in archery, hiking, arts and crafts, swimming, and a climbing tower. After my interview with the camp director, I learned that she truly cared for the growth and time of the campers, which is in line with my values.

If you don’t know what a camp counselor is, I’ll tell you. A camp counselor is the first and foremost supervisor of the children. Camp counselors are in charge of their group, which is usually about 8 and they participate in the activities with the campers. They ensure their safety and the campers’ mental wellbeing. Some camps also have counselors instruct in classes, but Camp Nawakwa has those roles separated.

Interview questions:

The following are the interview questions I was asked.

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why do you want to work at camp with us?
  3. Tell me about your experience working with children.
  4. What are your three strengths?
  5. What are your three weaknesses?
  6. When was the last time you failed at something? What was the outcome?
  7. What do you consider a bad child?
  8. You’re a lifeguard; there is a group of children about 20 who are about to go in the pool, but lightning and thunder occur and they can no longer go in the pool, how do you entertain them?
  9. You’re on a hike with a group of 12 campers and two other staff. One camper becomes injured, what do you do?
  10. There are four girls of the ages of 13-15, three girls end up singling out and bullying one girl, how do you handle this situation?

How to Answer These Questions:

  1. Make sure to keep this mostly about your work experience relating to the camp counselor, but include things that aren’t restricted to the job description. For example, explain how you’ve became interested in becoming a camp counselor.
  2. Make sure to do some research about the camp beforehand and integrate how you fit the desired candidate description. Be authentic though. For instance,  I truly am interested in cultivating the strengths of each individual and helping them find what their passions in life, but I also know that Camp Nawakwa is interested making their campers global citizens who are connected to the natural environment.
  3. This question is pretty much self explanatory, but ensure how your experiences relate to the camp counselor position.
  4. Explain how your three strengths will make you a great camp counselor.
  5. Turn your weaknesses into positive spins. For instance, I explained how I’m forgetful, but I’ve learned to write everything down, which has made me more organized.
  6. Ensure that you explain that your “failure” wasn’t really a failure, but an opportunity to learn and grow. Explain how it was.
  7. This one is a trick question. There is no such thing as bad children, but only bad behavior. Children come from all different walks of life. We don’t know what their home life is like; some children may act out because they desire attention.
  8. For this situational question, make sure to have easy game ideas for large groups.
  9. For this situational question, first and foremost provide the first aid to your ability, and then ensure the safety and return of the injured hiker, so they can receive medical attention, but also make sure the other campers engaged because you don’t want anyone else to get hurt. There is also one last thing to consider when answering the question, never have a staff member and a child alone. There must always be three people to ensure the safety of the children and of the staff member of false accusations. For instance, if you answer that one staff member stays behind to help the injured child return, make sure to keep another child with you. That way there is three people.
  10. For this situational question, you want to communicate to the three girls about their behavior, but you also want to make sure the singled out girl feels special and good about herself, so you want to spend time with her during activities to make her feel special.

 

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