We know what it’s like… one night during the ad breaks your son or daughter vaguely mentioned something about spending next summer in the US with Camp America…and right now that sounds like a crazy idea. You have questions…”Just who is this ‘Camp America’ and how does my son/daughter know that they’re not some fly-by-night company who will take the money and run?” “How do I know that my child will be looked after while they’re away? I mean they may be a bit messy sometimes, but that doesn’t mean they’re not loved…” that kind of thing.
To answer your questions here’s a summing up of the program, costs and insurance details that should hopefully address your concerns, and allow you to give your son or daughter your blessing (and more importantly allow you to start planning what you’re going to do with all that free time!).
Camp America was established in 1969 and is part of a larger group called the American Institute for Foreign Study founded by Sir Cyril Taylor GBE. Camp America has offices in Australia, Germany, Poland, the UK and the US. Globally Camp America provides over 7,000 young people from all over the world with the opportunity to complete a 9-12 week placement on a summer camp in the US.
We currently work with close to 1,000 summer camps all over the USA – there are various camp types.
Taking part in Camp America is a cultural exchange program with many benefits. It allows young people to better understand and embrace the American culture, its people, and its country. It can help improve the confidence, responsibility and communication skills of young people as well as encourage and develop their independence and life experience. Travel always helps broaden horizons and introduce a better understanding of other cultures.
Applying to Camp America will involve completing an Online Application, paying a deposit and attending an interview with a trained Camp America Interviewer. As part of the application process, our Interviewers assess that an Applicant possesses the skills, experience, maturity, and ability to participate in the program. Interviewers generally conduct interviews in their own time with most interviews taking place either in the Interviewer’s home or local to the interviewer’s area.
After the initial online registration and interview, Applicants are required to complete a stage 2 application and submit 2 references (which should adhere to our reference requirements) and a Federal Police Check. Camp America is committed to child protection and the safeguarding of children and vulnerable Adults. Throughout the application and placement process, we apply this policy Click here to read our policy.
Once their application is complete it circulates to close to 1,000 camps in the US. They will be placed based on their skills and experience. Directors will begin to hire in August and will finish hiring all their staff by May. This means the placement process will be short for some, but quite long for others.
Once placed, applicants will be required to complete a visa application with their local US Consulate and arrange for a Camp America Medical Form to be completed by their doctor. Applicants will receive information regarding their application and placement via ’Camp America Direct’.
Please note unless otherwise stated, acceptance onto the program does not guarantee a placement. If an applicant is unsuccessful in being placed at a camp they will receive a refund of all fees paid to Camp America.
As a legal visa sponsor, the Camp America program will provide the necessary DS-2019 form which is required to apply for a J-1 visa to placed applicants. Additional forms will be supplied by the local US Embassy.
The applicant will be required to attend an interview at their local US Embassy (Sydney for QLD, NSW and the ACT applicants, Melbourne for VIC,SA, NT applicants and Perth for WA applicants), it should be noted that it will generally take a few hours to attend and costs of travel to and from the embassy are the responsibility of the applicant.
As a legal visa sponsor, Camp America provides medical insurance which will cover the participant for claims up to the amounts set out in the policy for the entire time they are in the US (or 153 days) with the Camp America program.
It should be noted that the insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions and any applicants who have an existing condition will be required to obtain their own personal cover for this. Baggage insurance is optional and can be provided for a fee.
For the breakdown of our current fees, please click here.
All payments are non-refundable if the cancellation is made by the applicant due to a change of mind or circumstances. However, if cancellation is a result of a bona fide medical reason, that is backed-up with an official confirmation all payments will be refunded. As previously mentioned if for any reason the applicant is not placed at a camp, a full refund of Camp America fees will be issued.
Camp America charges a fee both to the applicant and to the camp.
Camp America fees cover the costs of running a fully-supportive program, the provision of medical insurance, staffing, provision of orientations and the work incurred in searching for and securing a placement on summer camp.
Camp America is not driven by shareholders. Fees are set to cover our costs and ensure we maintain a high level of service throughout the application process and during the program.
Participants are expected to complete a placement that will last a minimum of 9 weeks. Whilst on a camp, participants are answerable to the Camp Director. It should be noted that camps in the US often have very strict rules and regulations regarding areas such as curfews, alcohol, smoking, and behaviour towards campers and staff.
Participants should expect to be asked to leave camp if they break camp rules. Being fired is not a pleasant experience and to minimise the disruption during camp it should be understood that once fired a participant may be asked to leave camp immediately. Camp America will then work with the participant regarding the situation.
Camp America offers a large number of camp opportunities and religious preferences are taken into account. For example, applicants can ask that they are placed in a Jewish or Christian camp or a camp of another religious persuasion. Likewise, many camps have no religious affiliation.
To give your son or daughter the greatest amount of flexibility we offer a number of different travel options through our travel partner, Student Flights. All participants can purchase their flights through either Student Flights or their own preferred travel provider.
Before applying, applicants are asked to read and confirm they have understood all the Camp America Terms & Conditions. For a full copy of these terms and conditions please click here.