Summer Camp Staff and Counselor Jobs

Camp Kippewa is a traditional 3 1/2 week sleepaway camp for girls in Maine that offers two sessions. Staff are employed for all 8 weeks of the summer.

For the 2020 season staff must be available continuously from June 16th through to August 16th.  Some staff may be required earlier depending on pre season training requirements in some program areas.

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Check out our available positions by clicking here.

The majority of our staff are hired as Camp Counselors. Counselors at Kippewa all have a dual role.

  • Live in a cabin with 8-12 campers and 2-3 other counselors
  • Teach/coach in your activity area of expertise

90% of our staff hold counseling positions. Counselors are responsible for creating an environment that is fun as well as emotionally and physically safe.

Kippewa Counselors are teachers, big sisters, listeners, peacekeepers, coaches, cheerleaders, players, lesson-planners, confidantes, and role models. The responsibilities of a counselor can be compared to the job of a “working” parent.

You will be directly overseen by two supervisors, the Head Counselor who oversees all aspects of a particular age group, and the Activity Head who oversees the activity area in which a staff member is teaching.

Trips to enjoy the beauty of Maine


Why Work at Camp Kippewa?

Because working at Kippewa is the best summer job you’ll ever have!

Think about it, where else can you make a difference in the life of a child; develop your own skills while being goofy, laughing, crying, singing, dancing; and just be yourself? Being an outstanding role model for our girls is vital. Being professional, mature, and responsible is essential.

Consider this:

  • Live, play, and work in the great outdoors.
  • Go on active adventures.
  • Experience other parts of the country.
  • Make new friends from all over – even from other countries.
  • Bank more money than you think – with few expenses.
  • Become a child’s hero.
  • Learn leadership skills.

Camp jobs offer invaluable skill-building, leadership, training, and enrichment opportunities found nowhere else. Regardless of your college major, camp experiences allow you to learn and develop skills that will enhance your job marketability. The benefits go far beyond a paycheck, too. Business executives often note that experience as a camp counselor translates into excellent management and personnel skills. College credit can sometimes be obtained from working at camp. Check with your college advisor to see if you qualify.

Kippewa’s success each summer depends on you…our staff.  New friendships, fun activities, a chance to make a difference in another person’s life, as well as opportunities for person growth and development makes a summer spent at Camp Kippewa a perfect balance between work and fun.

Training and Personal Growth

So much more than just a fun summer job…

Being a camp counselor is a demanding job. We want to help you be successful. This is why we conduct a thorough, fun, and educational 7-day staff orientation before the campers arrive. Orientation is designed to build our various teams and help each counselor familiarize herself with the procedures, policies and values of Camp Kippewa.

Our goal is to help you become better acquainted with everyone on staff, and learn how we do things at Camp Kippewa. You will learn about residential life, as well as, get specific instruction from your Activity Heads in the activity area you will be teaching. You will feel very prepared when the campers arrive and have had lots of fun working and playing with your peers.

Along with the training you receive from the Directors, Assistant Director, and Head Counselor, you also have the opportunity to work with experienced Activity Heads who are happy to pass on their almost-limitless knowledge of their specialties to you.

Check out a few of the amazing Activity Heads currently on staff at Kippewa:

  • Mike Davis—Tennis Director:  Mike has been teaching tennis professionally in Kingston, Jamaica for more than 25 years.  In addition to coaching tennis, Mike is a middle school teacher.  He is joining us for his 21st summer in Maine!
  • Alan Clare—Waterskiing Director:  After a 20 year career in competitive Barefoot Waterskiing, Alan coached the New Zealand national team for 15 years.  He was the personal coach of the 1990 Junior World Barefoot Waterski Champion.  Alan loves sharing his lifetime of waterski and coaching experience with our campers and staff each year!  Alan is the proud owner of a Kippewa 5  and 7 year plaque, and he is looking forward to his 13th Kippewa summer in 2020.
  • Mary Paige Kowalski—Equestrian Director: Mary Paige has been riding horses since she was 5 years old.  In the years since then, she rode competitively in the progressive show jump circuit, and later captained the Clemson University Equestrian team.  Graduating with an Equine Business degree,  Mary Paige was recently certified as a Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) Instructor.  Her experiences coupled with her extensive camp background bring her back to Kippewa for her 12th season.
  • Jocelyn Dowling – Lakefront Director: Jocelyn swam competitively at national level while studying Athletic Therapy and Sports Injury Management. She has been teaching swimming for 27 years and has been a lifeguard since she began her career in camping 24 years ago. In the off season she is the head athletic therapist at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick Canada.

Our training does not stop when the campers arrive.  In addition to working under the supervision of our experts in your Activity Area during the summer, your camp counselor experience will be ongoing training for future teaching, coaching, Parks and Recreation jobs or any field where you interact with and lead people on a daily basis.  Former counselors often comment that they find themselves referring to their work at summer camp in future job interviews, and experiences.

Additional pre season training and certification is also provided for Adventure, Archery, Waterfront, and Equestrian staff members.

Learn more about Kippewa through Staff Frequently Asked Questions

  • Camp Kippewa–The Basics
  • Can you describe the role of a Kippewa counselor?
  • Where will I be living?
  • What do staff members wear?
  • Will I get any time off?
  • How do I get to camp?
  • What is the daily schedule like?
  • Is there internet access and phones at camp?
  • What else should I know about being a counselor?
  • It sounds great, but how hard do I really have to work?

Camp Kippewa—The Basics

Camp Kippewa is a traditional 3 ½ -week summer camp for girls. Kippewa is located in the beautiful Maine wilderness, on the shores of Lake Cobbosseecontee. Kippewa is an hour north of Portland, Maine and about three hours from Boston, Massachusetts.

Each session, we have approximately 190 girls who come to camp to create new friendships, develop new life skills, explore new activities, and most importantly, have fun! The camp program is designed for instruction in many activity areas, from water skiing, sailing, and kayaking, to horseback riding, fine arts and crafts, and athletics.

Can you describe the role of a Kippewa counselor?

All Kippewa counselors take on a dual role during the summer: activity instructors and bunk counselors. Counselors work under the supervision of our Head Counselor,  as well as Division Heads who oversee all aspects of bunk life in a particular age group, and the Activity Head, who oversees the activity area in which a counselor is teaching. Our Group Leaders and Activity Heads are teachers and coaches who have tremendous experience working with kids. They provide their staff with a great set of resources for teaching, coaching, and dealing with problems.

Where will I be living?

All of our counselors live with a group of children during the summer.  A typical cabin set up at Kippewa has 8-11 girls (depending on age) living with 3 staff members.  The cabins typically have bunk beds for the campers and staff.  The cabins have bathrooms and showers.  You will have your own space for clothes and personal items. Staff are living in the same room as a group of campers during the summer so privacy is at a minimum. During staff orientation, we evaluate you to place you in a cabin for a good-fit that ensures an enjoyable summer for you and your campers.

What do staff members wear?

Staff members work each day in neat attire that is appropriate to the activity in which you are working.  The days can be warm and the evenings cool.  Shorts and tee shirts are most often worn during the day but sweats may be needed some evenings (especially in mid-August).  Counselors are required to wear 1 piece bathing suits in black or dark blue.  Staff are given 2 staff shirts that are worn on opening day and closing day or when chaperoning campers on trips out of camp.  Our camp laundry is available for staff to use free of charge at night once you are off duty.

Will I get any time off?

Staff members will have 6 pre-scheduled days off during the course of the summer (which is approximately one per week). Additionally, staff members will have a period off each day. Counselors have two out of every three nights off. The third night is spent in the bunk with the campers. On nights off, counselors are free to leave camp after campers lights-out.

Camp is close to many scenic Maine attractions, and many counselors spend their days off in groups at beaches and parks. While some staff members drive their own cars on time off, we provide transportation to predetermined destinations for staff members who need rides. Destinations in the past have included Old Orchard Beach, Historic Downtown Portland, Booth Bay Harbor, Ogunquit, Freeport, Bar Harbor, and Coos Canyon!

Counselors leaving camp on time off are expected to return by curfew at 1:00 AM and sign in at the office. Staff members should use their time off to “recharge their batteries” because we expect our staff to perform their duties to the best of their abilities and a full nights sleep is essential.

How do I get to camp?

Counselors arrive at camp by either their own cars, by plane, or by bus. Counselors traveling by plane usually arrive at the Portland, Maine airport, whereas counselors who travel by bus arrive at the Augusta, Maine terminal. We will arrange for you to be picked up at the airport or bus terminal upon your arrival.

What is the daily schedule like?

On a typical day at Camp Kippewa wake up is at 7:30am followed by flag raising at 8:00am and breakfast being served at 8:15am for the entire camp. After a cabin clean-up, activities begin at 9:15am. Lunch is served at 12:30pm and is followed by a rest hour and mail call that lasts until 2:00pm. The afternoon consists of three program periods. In the middle of the afternoon activities, the entire camp gathers for snack, or Cookie Call.  At the close of the activity day, we have shower hour followed by flag lowering.  Dinner is at 6:15pm and then there is an evening activity every night. Lights out varies by age group, and ranges from 9:00pm to 11pm.

Is there internet access and phones at camp?

Yes. There are computers with internet access and WiFi available in the staff lounge. We also have phones in the staff lounge that are free of charge anywhere in the US or Canada. If staff members need to use cell phones they must use them in the staff lounge. Cell phones are prohibited in the bunks.

What else should I know about being a counselor?

Staff members must come to Kippewa with a true love of children, a great patience level, and a solid work ethic.  Working with kids is one of the greatest experiences in the world that comes with tremendous rewards, however, working with kids can also bring stress and frustration at times.  Staff members must understand that kids don’t always say what they mean and often ask “why” instead of saying “yes.”  As a summer surrogate parent, kids often show their frustrations with you, the staff member, the same way they would their own mom and dad.  Working at Kippewa gives staff members a sense of great satisfaction from helping kids grow that comes only with a lot of hard work.

It sounds great, but how hard do I really have to work?

Anyone that has ever been a camp counselor would agree, it is the hardest job you’ll ever love!  The safety (physical, social, and emotional) of our campers is our number one priority.  Kippewa counselors must show dedication and commitment to their campers 24 hours a day, however, being a counselor is an incredibly rewarding experience. The bonds and friendships you form with campers and fellow staff members simply cannot be described to those that have not experienced it.