• Where are your staff from?

    Here at VBYC, we are happy to have staff from many different countries, experiences, and walks of life. Some staff members have been going to camp their whole life, some have never been to camp before working here. Some staff members grew up locally, some are from halfway around the world! We welcome all kinds of people to experience the hard work and magic of working at camp.

    Many of our international staff meet us through Camp America. If you are in Camp America and in the process of finding a camp for the summer, check out our specific information for International Staff at VBYC here.

  • Where do staff live?

    Staff at VBYC live in two staff dorms called the swamp and the valley. Dorms are coed and not assigned by job position or gender. Each dorm sleeps up to 12 people and contains a big sleeping space with bunk beds and clothing storage, a bathroom with 2 showers, sinks, and a toilet, and a laundry area with a clothing washer and dryer. Both dorms are also equipped with air conditioning and heat as needed.

    Staff members rotate through sleeping in a cabin or tent near the camper cabins to be the “on duty” team at night. This is about a once a week obligation.

  • What does VBYC look like?

    Please check out the Facilities Page to see photos of many places around camp!

  • What does a typical day look like?

    Working at summer camp is not an easy job. We work long days, rain or shine. It is a position that demands incredible responsibility and patience, and you’ll be on call 24/7. It’s also one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have.

    While the exact times may change depending on the age group and session, here is a sample of a day in the life of a staff member:

    6:45 to 7:30 – Staff Personal Wake Up or Morning Job

    • Campers wake up at 7:10 am.
    • 4 staff members are assigned on a rotating schedule to wake up jobs each morning including playing wake up music, monitoring the bathhouse, and facilitating polar bears at the lake.
    • 2 Staff members are assigned to the kitchen wake up shift each morning.

    7:30 to 8:15 -KP (Kitchen Patrol) and Row Time

    • Staff who are not assigned to a morning job are on duty at 7:30 am to begin interacting with and supervising campers on cabin row.
    • Staff use this time to build little connections with campers. They play games in the bowl, ask campers silly question, or even play with building blocks on the stage.
    • 1 staff member is assigned to lead each meal. They spend the 15 minutes before the meal setting up the eating area with the “Kitchen Patrol” or “KPs.”

    8:00 to 8:45 – Flag and Breakfast

    • We raise the United States flag each morning before breakfast, just like in the movies. Each day a different cabin, their counselor, and a staff member work together to perform this traditional patriotic ceremony.
    • The whole camp gathers to eat breakfast after raising the flag. We begin each meal with a thoughtful song and close with a camp classic such as “My Name is Jackaroo!” Staff eat at the staff table and spend time eating and chatting before a busy day!
    • At the end of the meal, a few campers are chosen as volunteers to help the kitchen staff with the dishes.

    8:45 to 9:20 – Camp Clean Up

    • Staff are each assigned to a clean up area for the summer. Campers will rotate through a different clean up area each day with their counselor. Staff lead the group in cleaning up their assigned area demonstrating the importance of Responsibility, Teamwork, and Service.

    9:20 to 9:40 – Inspection

    • Staff members take turns being the “Inspectors” each week. They dress up in silly costumes to check every cabin for tidiness while being serenaded or entertained by each cabin group along their route. Camp clean up develops citizenship, leadership, pride, and community.
    • The non-inspecting staff help move the group along and provide support to help keep the campers focused on the performances.

    9:45 to 11:45 – Activity 1 & 2

    • Program Activities are the heart of our program. Campers and counselors attend activities each day taught by VBYC summer staff. All campers rotate through all program areas by week’s end.
    • Program staff lead their assigned activity area for a group of 16 to 24 campers with the support of 1 to 2 counselors.
    • Staff create lesson plans for each week to accommodate the age group and any themes assigned to the session.
    • Staff get the chance to have some activity blocks off each week. They use this time to observe other classes, work in the kitchen, or take “off” periods to rest and relax.

    11:45 to Noon – KP / Cabin Row time

    • All staff who are not setting up lunch report to row to reconnect with the full camp. They use this time to talk to campers and to engage them in activities.

    Noon to 12:45 – Lunch

    • Staff members sit at the camper tables at lunch. They use this time to connect with the cabin of campers that they are advising.
    • Lunch time means delicious food and lots of singing.

    12:45 to 1:15 – After Meal Activities

    • Staff host mini activities around camp while the KPs clean up the meal and the counselors have their mid-day meeting. Activities often include things like opening the Camp Store, playing frisbee or soccer in the bowl, and playing card games on the stage.

    1:15 to 1:25 – Cabin Advising

    • Staff help their assigned cabin get settled in for a quiet hour. They can read a book, tell stores, play an instrucment, anything to prepare the campers to have a quiet horizontal hour in their own bunk.
    • The goal is for the counselors to return to a calm cabin.

    1:25 to 2:25 – Horizontal Hour

    • Campers have a quiet hour in their cabins.
    • Staff have the hour off with the exception of Wednesday. On Wednesdays there is a staff meeting on the stage. Staff get their time off at a different assigned time on Wednesdays.

    2:25 to 2:45 – Counselor Advising

    • Each cabin counselor has an assigned staff advisor to mentor them and to support them throughout the week. Counselor advising is the time for the counselor and staff to connect and to discuss how things are going. This time is used to reflect on the counselors goals and to help troubleshoot any issues they are facing. This is an extremely important time of day because it is essential that counselors can work with their staff advisor to continue to learn and grow as leaders and ot continue to create a positive camp experience for their cabin of campers.

    2:45 to 3:45 -Activity 3

    • Activity 3 is often the same as activity 1 and 2. Some weeks, activity 3 is replaced by a special class. Special classes are activities designed by staff that are different than their typical program areas. Past special classes include D&D and LARPing, STEM building, spa day, natural clay jewelry, swim across the lake, and more. Campers get to sign up for their special class.

    3:45 to 5:30 – Choice Times 

    • Free time! Each staff member offers an activity, whatever they can imagine. Campers love the variety and having the chance to move from activity to activity, from games and sports, to letter writing, scavenger hunts, mud wars, and so much more.
    • Lifeguards open the waterfront during “wet choice” and host unrelated choices during “dry choice.”
    • Staff members rotate through “off choices” each week to have additional time off in their schedule.

    5:30 to 6:00 – Planning

    • Cabin groups plan the evening ceremonies and traditions: flag raising or lower ceremony, thought ceremony, skits and songs for campfire, and more. Staff and counselors are there for guidance and to gather camper feedback.

    6:00 to 6:15 – KP / Cabin Row time

    • Night off time begins at the KP bell. Staff who are assigned the night off may exit their duties discreetly to take the evening to themselves. They are on duty again the following morning at inspection time.
    • All on-duty staff who are not setting up dinner go to row to reconnect with the full camp. They use this time to talk to campers and to engage them in activities.

    6:15 to 7:15 – After Meal Activities 

    • Counselors host mini activities around camp while the KPs clean up the meal. Staff support the counselors by going to their activities and helping campers find an activity. Activities often include things like opening the Camp Store, playing frisbee or soccer in the bowl, and playing card games on the stage.

    7:15 to 7:25 – Flag Lowering

    • Each day a different cabin, their counselor, and a staff member work together to perform this traditional patriotic ceremony.
    • Campers who received 5 letters or 2 packages during the day are called up to have the option to jump in the lake after the flag is lowered.

    7:25 to 7:45 – Thought

    • The entire camp gathers to sit quietly in nature while fellow campers review their day’s journey, reflect with a poem or a skit, or offer a thought provoking story. Staff support the cabin leading by demonstrating quiet attentiveness and by providing supervision on row as campers leave the activity and transition into the next part of the evening.

    7:50 to 9:00 – Evening Rec

    • This is a full camp activity time planned by the staff in small groups. Staff sign up to assist with an evening rec each week during our Sunday staff meeting.
    • Staff members participate, facilitate, make sure campers are safe, and help campers engage with the activity.
    • Evening rec activities can include capture the flag, a carnival, water wars, staff hunt, and more.
    • Snack is also served during evening rec.

    9:00 to 9:30 – Campfire

    • The whole camp walks quietly to the campfire in a line, holding hands. Staff spread out among the campers to help them calm down and stay focused. At the campfire bowl, the entire camp gathers to enjoy skits, stories, and songs, all prepared and performed by campers, counselors, and staff. Traditions are an important part of camp, and especially of campfire. For over 60 years we have ended this ceremony with campers standing in a friendship circle to sing Kum-By-Ya, Angels Watching Over Me and Taps.

    9:30 to 10:00 – Camper Personal Clean Up

    • Campers take showers, brush teeth, get ready for bed, and say goodnight to friends.
    • Staff are assigned to nighttime duties each week. These include walking cabin row, monitoring the bathrouse, facilitating med deliver at the health officer, and more. Staff without night jobs use this time to clean up materials from evening rec, finish lesson plans, and get ready for the next day.
    • At 10:00 it is lights out. On duty staff say a quick good night to their cabin before they are done for the night.

    10:00 – Staff Meeting or Personal Time

    • On Sunday and Friday evenings we have a staff meeting following taps. On every other night, staff are free to relax, do laundry, play cards, or go to bed.

     

  • Who are the counselors, and what is my role?

    The camp counselors at VBYC are volunteers, usually high school students who attend the first session of the summer, Leadership Camp. You can read more about the Counselors here. 

    The staff’s role is to be mentors and supporters of the counselors. You are their number 1 fan. This mentorship role is discussed greatly during the staff training weeks.

  • What is the electronics policy for staff?

    Staff are welcome to bring their electronic devices to camp. Here are the guidelines that we follow and that staff agree to upon arrival at camp:

    1. Cell phones are stored in the cell phone tree during working hours. The phones are available to staff at all times should they need them, but they are not to be carried around with staff during on duty times. Staff are each assigned a walkie talkie to carry around as a communication device while on duty.
      • Staff may retrieve their phone during off time and return it to the tree when returning to on duty. This includes horizontal hour, assigned activity off times, and nighttime.
    2. Laptops may be brought to camp and stored in the dorms or the lodge as needed. Staff may use their laptops for work related tasks as needed and for personal tasks during off time.
    3. Staff are encouraged to bring a camera or borrow a camp camera to take photos during the day. Videos and photos of campers taken on personal cameras should not be posted without approval from the social media team.
    4. Group gaming systems may not be used in the dorms. This is to preserve the dorms as a quiet place for folks to get quality sleep. Group gaming systems may be used in the lodge or the staff hang out during personal time. Personal gaming systems which do not disrupt the sleep of others are allowed.

     

    VBYC does provide Wifi to the staff. The wifi is located in the lodge. The location of camp does not provide great signal for cell phone service depending on the provider.

  • What is the food situation for staff?

    Staff can expect to have three full meals each day prepared by the camp kitchen. Camp serves very typical and traditional American cuisine aimed at pleasing a camper’s pallett. Typical offerings include mac and cheese, spaghetti, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, grilled cheese and tomato soup, french toast, pancakes, pizza, and more.

    Staff have access to both the kitchen and to a separate staff food storage area. We work with staff to accommodate dietary restrictions as applicable. We also encourage staff to bring a favorite recipe to share- we love to try new things!

    The menu changes daily, but repeats each week.

  • What does staff training look like?

    Staff training is an action packed time full of immersive hands on learning. You will learn everything from how to put away the dishes to how to mentor a counselors. Information is provided both in writing and verbally, and includes physical demonstrations and acting out scenarios when possible. The goal of staff training is to help each staff member put their best foot forward when it comes to beginning a summer of hard work and fun!

  • How many staff are there, and who's in charge of who?

    We typically have a close-knit staff team of about 25 people. This includes kitchen staff, program staff, and the leadership staff. Each role is essential to the success of camp, and we all work closely together.

    Check out who’s who here and see who worked at camp last year here. 

    In addition to our staff team, we also are fortunate to have a wonderful group of volunteers each summer. You can learn more about the volunteer counselors here.