By Michelle Kapusta ’19
Ever wanted to experience a summer that cannot be forgotten or in need of a job during the hot summer days?
Many high school students work at day camps during their summer days off from schools. Some of the most popular camps students work at include Mill Basin Day Camp, Kings Bay Y Summer Day Camp, Marks JCH Summer Day Camp, Alpha Summer Camp, and Shorefront Y Summer Camp.
“The reason I enjoy working at Kings Bay Y for the past two summers is because I’m able to form strong bonds with counselors that are my age, older, or younger, as well as form relationships with kids I am responsible for,” said Olga Lisker ’19, a head counselor in Kings Bay Y Summer Day Camp. “I know that many of the kids look up to me, and I wanna show them a good example of what the right way is to behave and carry yourself.”
Many students work in summer camps in order to observe what it is like to be in a work environment with children. For instance, if one enjoys the company of children, then they may want to pursue a future involving children, while another person who does not feel the company of children is enjoyable for them may not want to pursue a career path that involve children. Additionally, many children who are in need of role models that are not too far in age from them can rely on the staff surrounding them in camp environment, which causes relationships to form in order to positively impact the lives of children.
“There isn’t an experience like working at a summer camp because you’re basically getting paid for having fun like going on trips and playing games with kids and other counselors,” said Maryam Elwakill ’19, a counselor.
Many camps provide their staff with their salary through SYEP, also known as Summer Youth Employment Program. SYEP is a lottery program that helps teenagers find jobs during the summer and pay them for their working hours through the city funds. The program allows teenagers to work up to 25 hours a week and get paid hourly at the minimum wage rate.
Some of the job opportunities that are available in most summer day camps include counselor-in-training, for first year high school students; counselor, for current high school students; and head counselor, for graduated high school students. In addition, activity directors and assistants are also useful in camps, as well as lifeguards and clean up staff.
“There isn’t another job besides working at camp that comes to mind when I think of what I can do during the summer,” said Nourhan Mohamed ’19, a counselor.
If interested in applying, one can go online to any summer camp’s website and fill out an updated application, which asks about prior work experience, personal background, and the reason for applying and wanting to work. In order to apply, the required paperwork is: valid working papers, a medical clearance form, a copy of your social security number, a W4 form for tax purposes, and a valid picture ID, such as a passport picture, driver’s license, or school ID card. In addition to these papers, lifeguards are also required to provide all training papers from American Red Cross, Standard First Aid, and CPR Pro Rescuer.
According to the New York State Department of Labor website, 14 and 15 year olds are required to have a blue woking paper, 16 and 17 year olds who are in school are required to have a green working paper, and 16 and 17 year olds not enrolled in school are required to have a peach working paper. At Midwood, working papers can be obtained in room 131.