Each year we look for mature, caring individuals who love to serve children and enjoy the rustic, outdoor camping experience. We are aware that the role of camp counselor is not for everyone and encourage you to read on and feel free to ask questions before applying for this position. Positions are limited, as we are fortunate to have an over 75% return rate of previous volunteer staff. The information below will help you discover more about the role and expectations of a camp counselor and how to begin the process of becoming a part of our dynamic and passionate camp community. We can guarantee that this experience is one that will change your life.
What is Our Camp Mission?
The mission of Ronald McDonald Camp is to provide a true overnight camp experience for children who have been treated and are being treated for cancer and their siblings, ages 7-17. Our camper-centered program is designed to foster independence, friendship and group belonging among campers who share a common experience with cancer. The ultimate goal is to be a place where kids can enjoy being kids.
Who are our Volunteer Counselors?
Our more than 125 counselors are a diverse group from all walks of life, with different personalities and a multitude of talents and strengths. Our counselors range in age from the minimum of 20 to 70+, with a median age of about 35 years old. Approximately 20% of our staff are former campers and we experience a return rate of over 75% each year.
What Qualities are Important for Camp Counselors?
We are looking for individuals who love serving children, are mature decision makers and who can adapt easily to camp life in a rustic, outdoor setting. It is important to know that as rewarding as this experience is for many, being a counselor is also a test of flexibility, patience and the ability to share your space closely with children and other adults 24/7 for an entire week. Great interpersonal and communication skills, flexibility in a dynamic environment, enthusiasm for our camp program, ability to effectively deal with conflict and a positive, healthy attitude and frequent smiles are all vital qualities of our counselors!
Our program is camper centered and we look for people who are willing to put aside their own interests and comforts in order to serve our campers first. Being in good physical shape is also important, as our camp facility has rugged terrain and you will find yourself on your feet all day long.
What is the Time Commitment for a Volunteer Counselor?
In order to be fully prepared and ready to be a great counselor, there is an application and training process that we require of every volunteer counselor as follows:
- An initial interview after receipt of application
- Criminal and child abuse background clearances
- A group interview and orientation for new applicants at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House at Front & Erie (100 E. Erie Ave.) on Saturday, June TBA.
- Approximately 3 hours of online training on your own time schedule
- The entire camp week, and the day before, beginning on a Saturday at 11 a.m. and ending on the following Saturday at 11 a.m.
What do Counselors do at Camp?
From the moment our campers step off the bus on Sunday afternoon until the following Saturday morning, our counselors and staff work together 24/7 to create the magical RMC experience! There are usually 3 counselors in a cabin of 8-10 children, and the daily schedule depends on campers’ ages. The day begins at 7am and ends about 10pm and it’s filled with what we like to call our “special camp moments”… times when we are privileged to witness friendships blossoming, challenges overcome, and precious camper smiles. It’s also filled with the practical: getting campers to meals, activities, and bed on time, resolving conflicts, dealing with typical childhood behavior and being active from the time you wake up until the time you hit your pillow at night!
It is a constant team effort among bunk counselors and our entire staff to foster a positive, inclusive environment. Most importantly, counselors are responsible for the safety and well-being of every camper they come into contact with. Our medical/psychosocial staff is trained to handle specific issues related to cancer or other medical conditions; counselors are only responsible for being aware of the general health of their campers and reporting any changes to the medical staff. We consider ourselves a camp family and create an environment at camp where everyone belongs and everyone has the opportunity to succeed at what they set out to do.
How do I apply to be an RMC Counselor?
Volunteer Counselor applications will be available in early March, please check back then. Thanks for your interest!
Please submit your application by May 15th.
What if I have questions?
Please feel free to contact Cindy Candela-Ryan, Camp Director with any questions.