Better Camp Counselors Make Better Kids

YMCA Summer Day Camp counselor with kids
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
The quality of camp staff is an important consideration when choosing the right summer camp for your child. At the Y, we aim to impress with camp counselors who are fun and responsible. 
“We want our camp counselors to be fun and energetic, but also mature and it’s important they have good judgment,” said Kim Keith, YMCA VP of Youth Development, who got her start as a camp counselor at the Y.


How we Hire Counselors

Every year,  the YMCA posts open summer camp counselor positions. There often aren’t very many because there is a high retention rate from summer to summer. Kim is the perfect example, having spent every summer since college working in some capacity at Y camps. She’s now been with the Y for 17 years.
“We may have 60 - 80 applicants for only 15 - 20 positions,” she said. “Our interview process is serious. We only choose the best of the best.”
Selected applicants first participate in a group interview, in which they have to lead an activity, answer questions, and show how well they work as a team.
Those that move on to a second interview are interviewed individually. A job offer is contingent on three reference checks and a thorough background screening. Before they begin their job as a camp counselor, they read a thorough training guide and take two online courses – one on blood-borne pathogens and the other on child abuse prevention.


Lead counselors receive CPR/First Aid training. In May, all camp staff meet for 30 hours prior to camp to train in specific areas that include safety, character development and team building. Counselors encourage campers to try new things and to make new friends. Counselors also take every opportunity to role model and teach character development.

Parent Perspective

Parents tell us all that training makes a difference.

“The Y Camp Counselors are one of the reasons my daughter can’t wait to go back to summer camp,” said Andrea, a YMCA parent. “I love the Y Camp Counselors. They really took the time to get to know my daughter.”

The Y Summer Camp Difference

Y camps are deeply rooted in tradition, offering a unique experience.  Many camps offer one focus or specialty, whereas a Y camp provides the chance for children to participate in many different activities and experiences like archery, sports, swimming, crafts and more.
“Our three areas of focus are achievement, belonging and relationship,” Kim explained. “We want children to feel like they are part of something bigger, that they are a part of a team or family that wants them to be there.” 

Meet Our Summer Camp Staff

We can’t wait for your child to meet our amazing summer camp staff! Visit a camp open house or Family Night and say ‘Hi’ during our Rides In and Out. 


energize their summer

Visit our Camp Finder page to find your camp and register! With convenient locations throughout the Triangle, your kids will love the wide-variety of activities and you’ll love our caring counselors who serve as great role models.