Summer Staff Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Counselor the only job I may apply for?
Definitely not! We have a number of positions open to application: Program Instructors, Health Care Manager, Crafts Instructor, Drama Instructor, Mountain Bike Instructors, Discipleship Crew Counselors, Media & Photo Specialist, Video Specialist, plus Leadership Staff Positions! See the Summer Camp Job Opportunities page for job descriptions.
- How old do I need to be to apply?
You need to be at least 16 by June 1, 2021 to apply. The majority of summer staff we hire are college-aged or out of college and we do tend to hire them first. Only a handful are hired while still in high school, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!
- If I am not old enough to apply, or not yet ready for a full summer, is there some other opportunity to serve here at Black Rock?
You can apply to be in our Discipleship Crew program! This is for 2 week sessions of serving, team building, but especially diving deeper spiritually. It’s a great way to get a taste of serving a camp! Read more about it here.
- Why is the application so long?
We care about the quality of the staff we hire and take the screening process seriously. However, you don’t need to be intimidated by the length either, just do you best.
You will grow spiritually if you are on staff, but you will also use your knowledge and gifts to come alongside campers and teach them about the truths of the Bible and the wonderful news of the gospel. This job is not simply fun, but a ministry, and because of that it is important that we can assess where you are in your own walk, and how you would do in disciplining others. Plus, many staff members felt even the application process helped them understand what they believe and stretched them spiritually.
- Can I do an internship at camp that is required for my major?
We may be able to work with you to provide the experience you need. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out!
- When is the deadline for applying?
There is not a strict deadline for applying, but the best time to apply is before late-February. We sometimes have a few spots left in April and maybe even in May, so please check with us to find out!
- What happens after I apply?
Once you submit your application, we will begin sending out reference forms to your references. After hearing back from them, we will contact you to let you know if we would like to move onto an interview or not. The best way to speed up the process is to ask your references to be prompt in completing the form we send them.
- What if I have never worked at a summer camp before?
It’s okay! There are a number of new staff hired each summer that have never worked in this environment before. You will be trained thoroughly during pre-camp and supported throughout the summer.
- I'm not the most outgoing person, will I be able to succeed at camp?
Camp is not just for the most energetic people. Our staff is made up of both extroverted and introverted people. All personality types are valuable in leading and connecting with a wide range of camper personalities. Much more important is your walk with Christ and heart for serving God through loving and leading the campers and staff.
- Do I need to be an experienced and highly skilled counselor/program staff to succeed at camp?
Our Pre-camp Training weeks are very extensive and will teach you everything you need to know about working with kids and how Black Rock works. It might help if you have certain skill sets and experience, but it’s much more important to have a passion for kids and the desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus. As one camp director from Ukraine said about serving: “The main requirement is that you need long arms to be able to hug children and show them Jesus.”
- Do I need to have CPR and First/Aid training prior to camp?
While it is great if you already have these pieces of training, it is not a requirement. For those who are not up to date, there will be certification sessions during Pre-Camp Training.
- I don't have much experience with outdoor camping (i.e. building a fire), is that a problem?
Again, no! During Pre-Camp Training you will be taught how to build a fire and everything you need to know for campouts. You will always have someone else with you during those parts of camp, as well.
- If hired, am I required to work the whole summer?
Yes, however, if there are certain conflicts in your schedule you may discuss them with the Summer Camp Director and possibly get time off. These requests will be reviewed on an individual basis. We do not typically grant time off for family vacations, mission trips, or non-mandatory school-related trips.
- What if my school year runs into Pre-Camp Training?
While not ideal since Pre-Camp Training is a crucial time, this is something you would discuss with the Summer Camp Director and try and work out a solution. Most schools will allow some excused absences for camp, although good grades and good attendance go a long way in the eyes of school administrators. On our end we can allow some time off for taking finals and other times your attendance is required.
- What is the pay?
1st year staff will receive $250 per week.
- Will I be responsible for paying for lodging and food?
No! At Black Rock Retreat the counselors live in the cabins with their campers and food is provided free of charge, even when camp is not in session and campers are not here.
- Wouldn't I make more money at another summer job?
Compared to other summer camps we offer a very competitive salary. You might make more at other jobs, but keep in mind with those jobs you might also have transportation costs, food costs, living costs, entertainment costs, etc. But if you are at camp, you don’t have those costs PLUS you gain a strong Christian community, have a lot of fun, experience ministry opportunities every day, and grow in your own spiritual walk.
- What happens if I am hired?
Celebrate! You’re in for one amazing summer and God is going to use you in amazing ways! But first, there is a lot of paperwork. We will send you a contract packet with lots of information, and it’s clearly marked which forms you keep and which ones you will complete and send back to us.
- Do I need to obtain clearances/background checks to work at camp?
In order to apply, no; in order to work here, yes. Once hired you will receive further instructions on which clearances you need and how to get them. It will be mainly your responsibility to make sure they are obtained promptly. Your hiring is contingent on completed and clean background checks.
- Is there anything I need to do in preparation for camp?
Besides all the paperwork we will send you, there’s not much. If you are a counselor you will need to prepare a couple of devotionals to lead with campers during the summer. All staff should remember that camp is a physically, spiritually, and emotionally demanding job so you should do your best to be ready for that, however necessary for you.
- How many weeks does camp run for?
A total of 10 weeks. The first two weeks are training, followed by 8 weeks of campers. There is also an optional Family Camp and Special Week (for adults with intellectual disabilities) that staff can choose to add to the end of their summer.
- What is "Special Week?"
We have been offering a week of summer camp for adults with intellectual disabilities for over 40 years! It is an optional week to work at the end of the summer, but is an incredible experience! Read more about it here.
- What age groups will I be counseling and how many campers are in each cabin?
Each week is a specific age-group, ranging from 2nd grade-12th. There are 8-10 campers per cabin.
- What happens on the weekends?
You are encouraged to do whatever will most help you prepare emotionally, physically, and spiritually for the next week! You may stay on the grounds (meals are provided) or you may go offsite. We advise you not to travel more than 3 hours away on a weekend.
- How is the quality of Black Rock's facilities?
Glad you asked! Quality is one of our core values. We think our summer camp facilities are a great balance of comfort and rustic so that it feels like camp. All of the cabins have their own fully functioning bathroom and clean living spaces. Recreation facilities are kept nice through periodic upgrades or remodeling. Check out pictures of our facilities here.
- What is the basic daily schedule at camp?
Take a look at our 2018 Summer Camp Brochure. It includes a basic daily schedule and other helpful information. The Summer Camp Director also covers the daily schedule extensively during interviews.
- Do you get time off each day?
Yes. Each day, usually in the morning, you will have an hour break while your campers are at class with their other counselor. Most weekends you will have off from Friday night until Sunday noon, although a few weekends you have off on Thursday nights. In the middle of the summer there will also be a Mid-Camp Break taken all together as a staff reflect, recharge, and have some fun.
- Am I required to stay on camp grounds during my time off?
For the morning breaks, yes, you must stay at camp. On weekends, however, you are not required to stay on site.
- Can I have my car on camp grounds?
Yes! However, you may not use it while camp is in session, and there will be designated parking areas.
- I have dietary needs, will Black Rock accommodate them?
Yes. We have a wonderful kitchen staff who are very willing to work with staff and campers to meet their dietary needs.
- Can I do laundry at camp?
Yes! We have a number of washing machines/dryers here at camp which you are welcome to use during breaks and/or on the weekends, free of charge.
- Can people send me things through the mail?
Of course! Directions for doing so will be sent in a packet you receive if you are hired.
- Will I have access to the internet?
Yes. However, your electronics (computers, phones, etc.) will not be permitted in the cabins. You will keep them locked in the staff room and can use them only during breaks and on weekends. That means you will need to have a different alarm clock system besides your phone.
- Can friends and family visit me while at camp?
Of course, but only on the weekends. Staff are even given a discount for family and friends to stay at the retreat center here at camp if desired.
- What if I need something during the week?
If you really need something during the week the leadership staff will most likely be able to run out and get it for you. There is a system for that, which you will learn once at camp.
- If I have medicine, do I keep it with me in my cabin?
No. Most medications or things of that nature will be turned into the health care manager at the end of pre-camp training. S/he will be in charge of distributing all camper and staff medication routinely as needed during the weeks, and then it will be returned to you each weekend.
“To be there for those kids... It was truly a humbling and beautiful experience. Not only do you get to share Jesus with your campers, you also get to connect with a wonderful Christian community all there for the same purpose: love God, love others.”Overnight Counselor