NY, NJ summer camps struggling to hire counselors, may need to turn away campers

Stacey Sager Image
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
LI summer camp in desperate need of more staff
One summer camp in Suffolk County is suffering from a lack of available employees and may not be able to operate at full capacity this summer.

MELVILLE, Suffolk County (WABC) -- Summer camps across New York and New Jersey are struggling to hire counselors this season, and some may not be able to operate at full capacity if those positions aren't filled.

Counselors at Crestwood Day Camp in Melville are already preparing for the summer season but could have fewer kids due to 30 open positions. The camp administration is doing what it can to compete with other jobs.

"We see that we're competing against a lot of other jobs, so the salary has gone up significantly," Mark Transport said.

Crestwood started offering free lifeguard training for those who work here and many camps offer counselors community service hours and college credit options.

Some camps are also offering more flexible work schedules to entice counselors.

Still, they say it's not only about competing with other higher-paying jobs, the post-pandemic work malaise is systemic.

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"Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from March, told us that we had 11 and a half million jobs to fill and not enough workers to fill them," said Alicia Skolera of the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey.

Being a summer camp counselor is a great way for college students and young adults to build skills for future job opportunities. Ali Uzbay wants to be a teacher.

"It's not even a job for me," camp counselor Ali Uzbay said. "I wake up every day excited for work."

And Ryan McQuade is honing his skills for a job in law enforcement he says managing young kids is a great way to practice communication.

"Cause you have to be able to handle a bunch of people all at once," McQuade said. "You have to be authoritative and you have to make sure your directions are clear."

The administration at Crestwood is hoping to fill the remaining positions before the summer starts and said the last thing they want to do is turn children away.

If you or someone you know is interested in working at a day camp this summer check out all the available positions here.

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