Why choose VBYC?
Experience genuine connection with coworkers, volunteers, and campers resulting in relationships that last beyond the summer months. The small staff size allows the opportunity to truly connect with and get to know all members of the team.
Opportunity for leadership growth and professional skill development as well as potential for advancement into leadership staff positions.
Challenging and satisfying work experiences that are transferable to jobs outside of the camp industry.
Where is VBYC located?
Our camp is located in Bloomingdale, Michigan, half way between the mid-sized city of Kalamazoo and the beautiful sparkling waters of Lake Michigan.
Our location allows for quick trips into the local towns for groceries or dinner, as well as 25-30 minute drives into larger cities for a longer night out. On the weekends, staff often go to the beach, see a movie, or even go to an escape room in Kalamazoo.
The weather at camp is varied, with colder mornings and warm afternoons. Campers and staff members learn to dress in layers! The average daytime summer temperature is about 72°F or about 22°C. We often have a nice breeze rolling across the small lake our camp resides next to called Great Bear Lake. Between the breeze and the trees, we stay pretty comfortable!
Do staff have time to travel the US?
International staff have often planned trips following the end of camp in August. In 2023, many staff hopped in cars and hit the road to see Chicago, Florida, New York City, and more!
We do take 2-3 trips as a full staff throughout the summer, beginning during staff training. Staff can expect to explore the beach town of South Haven, the nearby city of Kalamazoo, and city of Grand Rapids where we will pick folks up from the airport. At the end of the summer, we like to do a bigger group trip together, such as exploring Chicago or visiting an amusement park.
Staff members have most Saturdays off during the summer, from about 1 p.m. to noon the next day. There are many places near enough to camp for staff to take a day trip to experience different American towns.
How should I pack for camp?
We will share a packing list with all staff after they have been hired. It has the basics on it such as clothing, toiletries, and paperwork.
We understand that staff flying in from another country may not be able to pack all the things they will want to use at camp. Staff members from Camp America can expect a trip to the store after arriving at the airport to pick up anything they didn’t pack. Additionally, VBYC has extra bedding, laundry hampers, and other things for folks to borrow for the summer.
English is my second language, is that okay?
Working at summer camp means full immersion into the English language, which can be intimidating. Please know that we expect to encounter challenges, especially during the first month of camp. Here at VBYC we are confident that with patience and teamwork, we can communicate no matter the language.
In 2023, our staff members spoke English, Spanish, German, Polish, Czech, Turkish, and more!
Here are some things that we do to help support staff:
- Staff Training:
- We will give you the choice to have any written training materials translated into a language other than English.
- Verbal communication is followed up with recaps sent via group chat to ensure that messages can be translated and/or reviewed for later.
- Many tasks are physically demonstrated and then explained in writing to better ensure understanding.
- Staff are placed into teams of new and returning staff. Teams work together during training to ensure that everyone understands the tasks being done.
- During camp:
- Meetings typically include an agenda printed in the language of the staff member’s choice.
- Meetings include a notetaker typing conversations into the group chat for translation.
- Staff work in teams of 2 when leading activities until both are comfortable leading individually.
VBYC staff need to take CPR First Aid / AED training before campers arrive. We offer the certification at camp during staff training, but if you would be more comfortable taking the course in a language other than English, then you may want to consider finding a course before coming to the US. Please ask us if you have any questions or concerns about this!
- Staff Training: