Camp Counselor Application Essay

College Application Essay on Camp Counseling and Community Service

Essay by Sarah Lindsay

"I don't do throw-up."

My own words were coming back to haunt me as I heard one of my campers yell, "Ewww, Bridger threw up." I froze. I forced myself to turn around and look. I glanced quickly, then immediately looked away. I stopped breathing through my nose so I wouldn't be able to smell it. I was horrified.

The one thing that I hate most is throw-up. Looking at it causes me to gag. Earlier that week I had been talking to my friend, Molly, who was a counselor in Cabin 3. She was telling me how she had had to clean up her camper's vomit.

"I would never be able to do that," I said.

"Well I didn't have a choice," Molly replied.

"I just…I don't do throw-up," I retorted.

Working at Camp Seafarer on the "Crystal Coast" of North Carolina for the summer was like a dream to me. I had gone there as a camper, and my experiences there have influenced my life greatly. The counselors were so supportive, and it seemed like they never ran out of energy. I was excited to have the opportunity to affect someone's life the way my counselors had affected mine. Being a counselor, though, was more work than I had anticipated. I was always exhausted, and it was hard to keep giving 100 percent of myself twenty-four hours a day. In the end, however, it was worth staying up with a homesick camper or saying a longer goodnight to the shyest girl to help bring her out of her shell. It was just so much responsibility trying to keep twelve ten-year-olds safe, while trying to help them have a great summer. Now my responsibility was spreading to the one thing I dreaded most, cleaning up throw-up.

I looked around at Bridger who looked like she was either laughing or crying. I assumed she was crying since she had just gotten sick. Then I noticed my co-counselors, Jessie and Liz, standing around. I looked at them, waiting for them to take the initiative and start to clean up. But they didn't even move towards it. Then Jessie made a move.

"I'll take Bridger to the health center," she said

Darn, I thought, I should have volunteered to do that. I glanced at Liz.

"Sarah, I'm busy. Why don't you clean it up?"

I couldn't believe it! I was stuck with doing the one thing I have always said I would never do. All right, I can do this, I said to myself. What to get first?…Paper towels! I went into the bathroom to find some, but we were out. Okay, it's going to be okay. I'll just go to the cabin next door. I got some paper towels from Cabin 9 and hurried back to my cabin. As I approached my enemy, the throw-up, I noticed a lot of girls were crowded around me laughing.

"This is not funny girls, Bridger's sick," I told them and they backed up, still giggling softly. All right here goes nothing, I thought as I started to fling paper towels down on top of the vomit. I then squeezed my eyes shut and went in for the kill, picking up the mess. I picked up the paper towels as fast as I could and threw them into the trashcan. I had done it! I can handle this job; the late nights, exhausting days and all the puke that comes with it, I celebrated. Then I noticed that now the whole cabin was laughing.

"Sarah!" Bridger exclaimed, "The throw-up was fake!"

I learned, that summer, that with responsibility comes great rewards, such as my campers' hysterical laughing over the fake throw up. Every smile and every hug made the draining job worth it.

Sarah Lindsay attends Vanderbilt University.

Essay Review

make me barf

We won't spoil the final twist of this essay, but suffice it to say that sometimes an essay merely needs to be a story well told. The personality of the author, Sarah Lindsay, comes through loud and clear in her description of being a counselor at summer camp. Instead of lapsing into heavy-handed moralizing about camp and everything that it taught her, she shows the importance of camp by relating an anecdote. In the process of revealing her care for the campers and her camaraderie with the counselors, she demonstrates an equally important trait: the ability to laugh at herself.

More Information

Camp Counselor Cover Letter and Resume Examples

Camp counselor have a job that's a lot of fun (we've all seen the movies, right?) but also bears a weighty amount of responsibility. Counselors oversee large groups of children actively engaged in sports, crafts, and more, ensuring that all of​ the kids' needs - emotional and physical - are met.

Sound like the right job for you? If you are applying to be a camp counselor, review recommendations for the skills, talents, and experience to emphasize in your resume, as well as reading through the sample resume and cover letter below.

What to Highlight in Your Cover Letter and Resume

Highlight any experience with children on your resume - whether as a counselor, or in another role such as tutor, babysitter, or teacher - as well as any work history that demonstrates that you are responsible and can control and motivate large groups of kids.

Strong communication skills are also important: counselors need to clearly tell kids about rules and explain activities, and also need to be able to share important details with other staffers, the camp director, or even a child's parents.

Many camps require certain classes or certifications; you may, for instance, need to be certified to do CPR. List any relevant certifications clearly in your resume.

The following are examples of a resume and cover letter for a camp counselor. Review them for inspiration before writing your own job application documents.

Camp Counselor Cover Letter Example

Dear Barbra Chandler,

Please accept my enthusiastic application for the position of summer camp counselor. I would love the opportunity to be an enthusiastic, energetic counselor for Sunny Days Summer Camp. I believe that my experience with children and leadership skills would make me an excellent camp counselor for your summer program.

I am comfortable working with children of all ages. As a lifeguard for three summers, I led swimming lessons for children ranging from six to ten years old, and learned to cater my lessons to each age group. For example, I played instructive water games with my youngest students, and ran organized drills with my older clients. As a volunteer for the Special Olympics, I have experience working with children of different physical and mental capabilities. I am therefore confident that I can provide a fun but safe environment for campers of all ages and abilities.

I also have extensive leadership experience, which you state is necessary for any applicant. As captain of my high school football team for two years, I learned to be confident in giving direction to others while still remaining a friendly presence. I have gained further leadership as a tutor; once a week, I am in charge of leading a group of five students in a literary discussion. These experiences will help me be an excellent leader at your summer camp.

I am confident that my experience with children and my leadership abilities are the qualities you are looking for at Sunny Days Summer Camp. I have enclosed my resume, and will call within the next week to see if we might arrange a time to speak together. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.


Luke Jamison

121 Blaine Street
Hartford, CT 06115
Home: 434-334-1122 Cell: 999-909-0012

Camp Counselor Resume Example

Luke Jamison
121 Blaine Street
Hartford, CT 06115


Bachelor of Arts, Easton University, Hartford, CT May 20XX
Major: Spanish
Minor: Latin American Studies
Overall GPA 3.4

Somerville High School, May 20XX
Overall GPA 3.6
Dean’s List every semester

Related Experience

Tutor, Tutoring Tots Program, Hartford, CT
Sept. 20XX - Present

  • Read, discuss, and analyze short works of fiction with five fourth-grade students weekly
  • Create worksheets and activities to stimulate interest in each reading, and present brief PowerPoint presentations to provide historical and cultural context

Lifeguard, Somerville Town Pool, Somerville, MA
Summer 20XX – Summer 20XX

  • Led group swimming lessons for children ages 6-10, providing instruction and support for beginning and intermediate swimmers
  • Upheld the town pool’s safety standards, preventing swimming accidents through vigilant supervision
  • Provided first aid care for on-site injuries

Volunteer, Special Olympics Training, Somerville, MA
Jan. 20XX - May 20XX

  • Created swimming drills to improve diving skills of Special Olympics athletes of different abilities
  • Coordinated annual volunteer banquet for 100 volunteers and athletes; booked venue, ordered food, and decorated venue each year

Other Experience

  • Captain, Sommerville High School Football Team, Somerville, MA, 20XX-20XX
  • Vice President, Sommerville High School Literary Magazine, Somerville, MA, 20XX-20XX


  • First Aid Certification, Fall 20XX
  • CPR/AED Certification, Fall 20XX
  • American Red Cross Lifeguard Training, Summer 20XX

One thought on “Camp Counselor Application Essay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *