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Apply for Summer Staff

Apply for Summer Staff

Working at camp is exhausting and messy and difficult and wonderful and the most rewarding thing you could possibly do with your summer. While this is a job, and you will do normal job-related things like developing schedules, cleaning, and providing customer service, it is also a ministry. As a part of the ministry at Camp Wyoming, you will care for children, lead activities, songs, and Bible studies, and interact with a community of people that shares, builds up, and strengthens one another.

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We aren’t going to lie, being being part of a summer camp staff is incredibly hard work. You are responsible for the care of each of the kids entrusted to you, and that means making sure they eat and shower and brush their teeth and wear socks with their shoes. It means sitting up with them at night when they’re scared of the dark. It also means teaching them how to paddle a kayak, knocking them over in bubble soccer, catching them when they fall off the trust fall, and answering their questions about Jesus in Bible study. It means making slumgullion over the fire (you’re going to love it), dancing to grooveship worship, and singing by candlelight beneath the stars. It means picking up a kid when they fall in the dirt, giving them a high five when they finally hit the bull’s eye in archery, and letting them cover you in mud in the creek.

Because all of our staff have the chance to lead a variety of activities in addition to counseling, working at Camp Wyoming gives you a wide range of experiences, skills, and opportunities. You are not limited to one type of care, age, or activity. We are also willing to work with you to ensure that this job can be used for internship or practicum credit for all applicable majors (think education, public health, recreation, leisure and youth services, counseling, wellness, and a host of other programs). However, any student pursuing any degree can find value in a summer camp experience. Camp gives you a chance to be a leader and advance into leadership roles, to engage in daily problem solving, to plan schedules, teach curriculum, and work as part of a team that includes staff from across the US and even other parts of the world. These soft skills are necessary in almost any workplace.

We are a small team, but after just a few days, we will feel like family. We work hard here, but we play hard too. Some of the best people that you’ll ever meet will be right here at summer camp, because these are the people who will see you when you’re sweaty and muddy and haven’t showered in 3 days. This is the place where you can be authentic and where you can know that you are making a difference every single day that you are here. It takes so much work and energy, but it is worth everything that you have to give.

If you are looking for information on applying to Camp Wyoming, you can view the Frequently Asked Questions below, the summer staff job descriptions, and the salary schedule here on the website.

If you are ready to apply, please follow the steps below.

  1. First, you must submit your application. You can do so by clicking the button below and filling out the application online. Otherwise, you may download our Summer Staff Application Packet and send the form in by mail. Please know that we began filling summer staff positions in October, so you should apply as soon as possible. If you apply online, you must create an account. If you are under 18 years of age, you will need a parent or guardian to create the account for you. If you are applying for the Media Intern position, you must also fill out the Media Intern Questionnaire.
  2. Choose three people to serve as references on your behalf. At least one reference should be familiar with your faith. Relatives or peers may not serve as references. Ask each of these people to fill out and submit a reference form for you. You can download the form to give to these individuals, or you may email them the following link to an online reference form: https://goo.gl/forms/IuqJxRNdjDVBwKZr2.
  3. Please pay attention to your email, as further communication regarding the application and interview process will be sent to you via email.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact Director of Programs and Marketing, Stacie Hoppman, at the Camp office at 563-488-3893 or by email at stacie@campwyoming.net. Thank you again for your interest in joining our team!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What positions are available and how much will I get paid?

We are looking for qualified individuals to serve as Unit Directors (2), Leadership Development Coordinators(2), Cabin Counselors (17), Media Intern (1), and Program/Kitchen Assistants (3). Click here to view job descriptions for each of these positions. You can also view the summer staff salary schedule.

Where is Camp Wyoming located and what is it like?

 Located in the Mississippi River Valley of East Central Iowa, Camp Wyoming sits on 400 acres within a larger hardwood forest area. Bear Creek meanders through the site; Frog Pond is a watering hole for deer, turkeys, raccoons, and other wildlife and is used for water activities such as kayaking and corcling. The Swinging Bridge, steep bluffs, and caves add excitement to this special place. Facilities include cabins, lodges, tree houses, and a large central dining hall where meals are served family-style. Camp Wyoming also has lots of hiking trails and a swimming pool. Camp is located just four miles outside of Wyoming, Iowa in Jones County, Iowa. View our Interactive Map to see more!

What are the dates of employment?

Contract dates for staff members are from May 23rd through August 1st, 2021, with additional options for employment after the end of the summer season in August.

What is the summer program like?

Camp Wyoming is committed to a Christ-centered summer program that is organized, safe, educational, and fun. The summer includes thirteen days of staff training (May 23-June 4) and eight weeks of programming (with camps running Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon). Campers range in age from 5 to 17 years of age, including two weeks of a specialty camp: TTT (pronounced Tri-T) which is a non-religious camp for underprivileged girls in 4th grade. Counselors work in a variety of large group and small group settings with different age groups. Bible studies, evening discussions, and group building activities are conducted in small groups for all regular camps. Large group activities include campfires, worship, group games, swimming, and color war programs. Check out what a Typical Day of Camp might look like.

Why should I work for Camp Wyoming this summer?

This past year, at the conclusion of summer camp, we asked parents what their kids talked about most when they picked them up from camp. The number one answer, far and above any activity or experience, was the staff. Kids are drawn to camp because of the things they can do and the fun they can have, but when all is said and done, what they remember and treasure the most are the relationships.

Being a kid can be rough. Everyone is bigger than you. Everyone seems to know more, and they tell you all the time, “You’ll understand when you’re older.” Studies have shown that an important part of faith development for any child is building strong relationships with adults who are willing to model and talk about faith. When a child comes to camp, they look at their counselor and immediately think, “This person is so cool.” And when you, as their counselor, sit down with them at dinner and ask about their day or help them overcome their fear of kayaking or take the time to listen to their questions during Bible study, you communicate that you, the cool person, find them valuable. You care about them, about who they are, about whatever joys and concerns they bring to the table. It is an invaluable part of the summer camp experience, and it is the thing kids are most likely to tell their parents about when they get home.

It does place a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of our staff. However, it also offers an opportunity that you will find almost nowhere else. In just six days, you can build a life-changing relationship with a child. Through conversation, laughter, experience, and honesty, you can help to build their faith, their perspective of the world, and their desire to live and be a part of the Christian life. They will listen to you in a way they won’t listen to their parents or even their teachers because you, through their short time at camp, have gotten down on their level. Its as you who slid down the mud slide and cheered them on when they did the same. It was you who laughed at their joke at the dinner table, read alongside them during Bible study, and held their hand as you stared up at the stars at night. You are the cool person who spent a memorable and powerful week with them. Many of them will look at you and think, “I want to be a counselor when I grow up.”

Our summer staff define Camp Wyoming for the kids who come. The energy and enthusiasm that you bring to the activities and programs offered will inspire them. It is probably one of the most meaningful and impactful jobs you can ever have, and its impact will continue long after you’ve moved on. You will make an indefinable difference in the lives of hundreds of kids.

Of course, other than the impact you will make, there are many reasons why you should work at camp. We work hard to offer an environment that supports the emotional, mental, and spiritual growth of each and every staff member. You will gain experience working with children and youth in a variety of settings, and each week offers you the chance to work with a different age group and co-counselor. Our counselors also serve as activity instructors, meaning you will develop a variety of skill sets and instructional techniques. You’re not just a glorified babysitter. Staff gain confidence speaking in front of and leading groups. Your own spiritual growth is important to us, and we will encourage you to grow and learn within a supportive community, even as you encourage campers to do the same.

Can I have extended time off during the summer?

It is Camp Wyoming’s policy to have the staff work the entire summer with no extended personal leave. Of course, we do recognize that certain circumstances may arise such as family emergencies, college orientation, and weddings. We will work with each staff member on an individual basis when and if the situations occur. High school staff filling the Program/Kitchen Assistant role have the option to work a half or full summer contract. 

What is time off like?

During a normal week, campers will arrive on Sunday afternoon at 3:00pm and they’ll stay until Friday afternoon at 3:00pm. Staff arrive on Sundays (depending on your position) between 12:00pm and 1:00pm for meetings and prep time before the week begins. On Friday, after the kids leave, the entire staff works together to clean the camp and prepare the site for the next round of campers. We have a short meeting, and then we close in prayer. Our goal is always to finish on Fridays by 6:00pm. This gives you Friday evening, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning off. In addition to that, during the week (Monday-Thursday), each staff member gets two hours off per day.

What is it really like to be on staff at camp?

My name is Stacie, and I am the Director of Programs & Marketing at Camp Wyoming. It’s hard to answer this question without sharing a personal account, so I thought I’d share a bit of my story with you. Before I worked at camp full-time, I was a summer staff member, working during my college years for three summers, filling various roles. I did not grow up coming to this camp as a child. In fact, the first time I ever came to Camp Wyoming was when I showed up for staff training as a nineteen year old college freshman. I had now idea what to expect.

I think of that first summer a lot. Some of what I experienced was expected. Some things caught me totally by surprise. Every summer and every staff are different, but I am going to do my best to tell you what it is really like to work at camp.

First, let me tell you that this is a camp. On any given week, you might be living in a cabin or a tree house. You’ll spend your summer sleeping in a sleeping bag. There will be spiders and mice and deer and turkeys and raccoons and bugs who live at this camp, too. You’ll spend most of your days outside, rain or shine. Maybe you’ve done a lot of a camping in your life, or maying this will all be new to you, but don’t worry. During staff training, you’ll learn how to start a fire and how to cook meals over that fire. You’ll learn how to paddle a kayak and fasten a lifejacket, how to shoot a bow and arrow, and how to set up a tent. You’ll learn what “creek stomping” is. You’ll crawl through a cave. When people think of camp, they usually think of these things, and you’ll experience all of it.

If I am being honest, I am an introvert. It typically takes me awhile to warm up to people and make friends. When I arrived at camp for my first day of staff training, I didn’t know a single other person at camp. Again, if I am being honest, I was terrified. It didn’t take me long to learn that camp is a unique place for fostering community. Some of the people I worked with that fist summer are still my closest friends. You’ll work with a group of young adults, and over the course of 10 weeks, you’ll form a bond that is all your own. They’ll laugh with you when you tell your mud slide story, pray for you when you’re stressed, and give you advice when you need it. Day in and day out, you’ll spend all of your days together, doing ministry, caring for kids, and living life.

This is a very active job. You’re always on the move, spending our days doing team building, archery, kayaking, arts & crafts, and so much more. Every week, you’ll get a new group of campers. One week, you might work with first and second graders, and the next week, you might work with high school kids. You’ll work with different co-counselors and volunteers. Every week will be different.

This can be a stressful job. There will be weeks when you have that camper who just won’t seem to listen. Someone on staff will rub you the wrong way. Storms might mess with your schedule or you might try a new game that completely flops. You’ll have to clean, plan, and sometimes participate in activities that might not be your favorite. Every moment of every day is not going to be exciting, creative, new, and fun. However, this is a place where you will get to dive into God’s word with kids and watch their eyes lights up as they learn something they never knew about God. This is a place where you can stare up at the night sky and hear “the heavens declaring the glory of God.” This is a place where lives change, and I don’t just mean the campers. This is ministry. It’s messy. It’s hard. It’s crazy. And it’s so much fun. Pray about it. Is this where God wants you to be this summer?

Who are the kids who come to Camp Wyoming?

The kids who come to camp mainly live in Eastern Iowa. Some come from farther away, but most of them come from the closest surrounding cities (Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and the Quad Cities) and hundreds of small towns scattered around the camp. You’ll meet farm kids and city kids. You’ll meet kids who have been coming to camp for years and his who will be leaving home for the first time. They’ll range in ages from first grade all the way to recent graduates in high school.

Camp Wyoming is owned by the Presbytery of East Iowa, but we don’t restrict attendance to just Presbyterian kids. You’ll meet kids from Catholic Churches, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, non-denominational, and everything in between. And some don’t attend church at all. In your small group, you might have a child who attends church every week where their mom is the Sunday school teacher and another child that has never been to church before. These kids vary in their Biblical knowledge, interest, and comfort level when it comes to talking about God.

When we approach Bible study and worship, we think of the child that has never opened a Bible before. This might be the only week of the entire year that they are surrounded by a Christian community with regular Bible teaching. So, if they are here at camp, and they might never have this chance again, what do we want them to know? We want ever child to leave knowing how much God loves them, cares for them, and desires to be part of their lives. We want them to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. If that is all they hear, that is enough.

The kids coming here will also come with their own baggage: a parent’s divorce or a move to a new school or the death of a loved one. They might come with friends, but more often, they come by themselves, hoping that during the week they are here, they will make friends and be accepted into the camp community. Hundreds of kids will come through the gates at camp on any given summer, but we want each kid to feel important, valued, loved, and cared for while they are here.