Summer Camp Staff FAQ’s
Where is Camp Starlight Located?
Camp Starlight is a premier summer camp located in the "endless mountain" region of northeastern Pennsylvania, approximately 2.5 hours from New York City and Philadelphia, in the heart of Wayne County. It is unique in that it is entirely separated from the "outside world" by its mile-long private road, two private lakes, mountainside views and 385 acres of woodlands.
Who are the Directors of Camp Starlight?
David and Allison Miller have been the Owners/Directors of Camp Starlight since 1999. David, a native of Newton, Massachusetts grew up as a camper in Maine, where he spent 12 summers as a camper, camp counselor, Hockey Specialist, and Division Head. He graduated from New York University and, prior to entering the camping industry, worked in the entertainment industry as a casting director, talent manager, and independent film producer. His lifelong dream to be a director of a summer camp became a reality in 1999 when he purchased Camp Starlight. He currently resides in Florida with his wife Allison and his two children Hayley and Griffin.
Allison, originally from Old Westbury, New York, focuses on camp operations and administration as well as camp staff and camper relations. She graduated from New York University and then earned a law degree from Cardozo School of Law. She spent her legal career in New York City as an associate at a prestigious national law firm and served as in-house counsel at a major auction house. She later became Vice President, Head of Human Resources for that same company, where she was responsible for the hiring, training, and development of the North and South American staff. However, she sees her role as the mother of two children, Hayley and Griffin, as the most valuable experience she brings to Camp Starlight.
What are the campers like?
The majority of our campers come from the Northeast, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland. We also have a number of campers from others areas of the United States such as Florida and California. Many of the campers also come from Jewish homes of high socioeconomic status.
Our brother-sister adjoining campuses accommodate 250 boys and 250 girls ages 7 to 15 years old. There are approximately 8-10 campers and 2-3 counselors in each bunk. There are eight divisions of campers broken down by age groups.
Nearly 95% of our campers return summer after summer, with many going on to enter our Counselor Assistant (CA) Program after their last summer as campers.
What are the counselors like and where do they come from?
Our highly qualified camp staff of 200+ individuals is comprised of students, coaches, instructors, teachers, and professionals from all over the United States and abroad.
Approximately 40% of our camp counselors and 90% of our leadership team return each summer. We have an exceptionally high return rate for the camping industry.
We recruit, throughout the year, from colleges and universities all over the United States, Australia, Europe, and Mexico and also identify many prospective camp counselors through current and former camp staff members. Of course, some of our camp counselors find us through the internet or word of mouth. Several members of our camp staff are former campers.
How much work is it really?
Summer Camp Counselors that live in bunks have responsibilities virtually 24 hours a day for six weeks. They have to solve problems, manage a bunk, oversee child interaction, provide instruction, plan events, evaluate camper progress and much, much more. If one comes to Camp Starlight, one must be prepared to work extremely hard. We won’t lie. The hours are long and the days often exhausting. But we like to tell prospective camp staff members that working at summer camp is the toughest camp job they’ll ever love.
What about staff training?
We believe that being proactive in giving our camp staff as many tools as possible early on is necessary to insure a successful summer for everyone. Our orientation is a week-long intensive program designed to acquaint camp staff members with aspects of the daily camp programs, counselor responsibilities, approaches to child management, and techniques for problem solving. It’s also an opportunity for everyone to become acclimated to their new surroundings, meet other camp staff, and ask questions. At the same time, training does not stop after the orientation week. Summer Camp Counselors can expect continuous "on the job training" as new challenges are sure to present themselves throughout the summer.
How does a Bunk Specialist differ from an Activity Specialist?
Camp Starlight’s camp counselor staff is made up of Bunk Specialists and Activity Specialists who share one key component of their daily responsibilities – they all live and work in a bunk with their own campers. Bunk Specialists follow their campers from activity to activity everyday. They are still relied upon for leadership and/or instruction at these activities, but their first responsibility is to insure their campers’ well-being and participation in the daily camp program. An Activity Specialist works most of the activity day in one particular camp program area, instructing campers of all ages and various skill levels in their area of expertise.
Each age group is managed by a Head Counselor, Division Leader, and Assistant Division Leader. These individuals serve as resources for our camp counselors. As seasoned camp veterans, often with several years of experience, they have amazing abilities, skills, insights, and knowledge to share. Many of them are educators in the off-season.
Is the Starlight program structured?
Camp Starlight is a traditional seven week summer camp. Each day is comprised of six scheduled activity periods and divisional or all camp evening activities. Younger campers choose their own activities for two of the daily periods while older campers have more opportunities to make personal choices about their daily schedules.
In order to insure that the level of instruction and competition is age and skill appropriate, all campers are scheduled into activities based on gender and division. Our Programming Department works diligently to maintain a balance between sports, hobbies, and the arts when creating each daily schedule.
Could you describe a "typical day"?
While our daily program is structured, no two days are ever exactly alike. Our camp program day consists of six activity periods, two of which are selected by the campers. A typical camp program day at Starlight usually goes something like this:
Whether one is hired as a Bunk Specialist or Activity Specialist, a great day at Starlight begins with reveille followed by lineup around the flagpole for announcements. Camp Counselors then meet with their Division Leader to receive the daily schedule and discuss any out of camp games, trips, show rehearsals, etc. After breakfast, there is scheduled time for bunk cleanup. Each bunk works as a team by sharing the cleaning responsibilities.
There are three camp program activity periods in the morning. Bunk Specialists travel with their bunks to each camp program activity while Activity Specialists typically report to their respective areas. Lunch, a buffet picnic outside, is followed by rest hour. During this time, campers and counselors recharge for the three afternoon periods.
At the end of the camp program day, there is formal time built into the schedule for showering. Following dinner, counselors report to their free play assignments. Camp Counselors then join their campers for evening activities and stay with them until they are in bed. Bedtimes vary by age from 8:30-10:30 p.m. Each night, Camp Counselors are either assigned to remain on-duty or scheduled off until curfew.
In addition to “regular” days, like the one described above, there are weekly out of camp trips, special events days, theatre productions, and inter-camp competitions as well as specialty sports camps, art camps, music camps, and performing arts camps.
What about days off and free time?
During time off, Camp Counselors are free to utilize our staff lounge, which is equipped with telephones, internet and email terminals, soda and coffee machines, satellite television, lockers, and an area for playing board games. Each Camp Counselor has six assigned days off. On four of these days, Camp Counselors may leave camp after being dismissed by their Division Leader the night before and must return by curfew of the following evening. For the other two days, Camp Counselors may leave at wake-up and return at curfew that evening. Camp Counselors sit On Duty (OD) 3-4 four evenings each week. On evenings when Camp Counselors are not sitting On Duty, they may leave camp, but everyone must sign-in and be back in their bunks by 12:30 a.m.
What are the living arrangements like?
Camp Starlight offers cabins or "bunks" that incorporate the comforts of home with the rustic nature of camping. Each bunk houses 8-10 campers along with 2-3 counselors, and features front and back entrances, plenty of windows, a carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, electric outlets, a hot water heater, beds, cubbies, storage space, two sinks, two toilets, and two showers. To promote cohesiveness among divisions, the front of each bunk faces inward towards a semi-circle with a view of the lake.
How are meals served and how’s the food?
Our Dining Hall is situated in the middle of camp. Breakfast and dinner are served family style. Boys and girls dine together by bunk. Lunch is served buffet style and campers and camp staff dine outside (weather permitting) by division with their camp counselors. Our kitchen is kosher, which means that meat and dairy foods are served in separate meals.
We do our best to have something for everyone at mealtimes. Breakfast includes hot and cold cereal stations as well as a bagel bar complete with eggs, cheese, and fruit. Extensive salad bars accommodate lunch and dinner. Soup and peanut butter are also served at lunch and pasta is available at dinner. Additionally, a vegetarian option is available at all meals. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate special dietary needs.
What about dress and personal appearance?
Camp staff members are required to wear a staff shirt each day. Seven of these shirts are provided free of charge during orientation. Camp staff members are also required to wear socks and sneakers or closed-toe rubber soled shoes appropriate for participation in a variety of physical activities. Flip-flops, sandals, and open-toed shoes may only be worn by waterfront staff. We work very hard at Camp Starlight to minimize the emphasis placed on personal appearance. Therefore, piercings and tattoos should be discreet, and nails should be a reasonable length. Hair color and makeup should be natural in appearance.
How will I get to camp and who pays for it?
We provide transportation to camp from the New York Metropolitan area the day before orientation begins and at the end of the summer. Camp staff who do not wish to meet us in New York may travel to camp via whatever means of transportation they find most convenient and/or conducive to their budgets. Everyone’s salary includes a travel allowance that will be paid to them at the end of the summer.
Is Starlight affiliated with a certain religion?
The majority of our campers come from Jewish families, but Camp Starlight welcomes members of all religions. Our camp counselors have very diverse backgrounds and are of many faiths. All campers and staff attend a brief service on Friday evening.
What about salary?
Virtually all camp staff living expenses—room, board, laundry services--are paid during the summer. It’s not unusual for camp staff members to leave with much or even all of their salaries. In addition to room, board, laundry services, salary, and a travel allowance, camp staff are provided, free of charge, with seven staff shirts.
What are some other important policies for me to know?
It is the policy of Camp Starlight that the possession or consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs is strictly prohibited on any part of Starlight’s grounds and is cause for immediate dismissal. In addition, returning to camp under the influence of mind-altering substances following time off is also prohibited and is also grounds for immediate dismissal. The usage of cellular phones is prohibited during working hours and while in the bunks. These items may be used only in specified areas while staff members are off duty.
A person with patience, flexibility, confidence, enthusiasm, and talents can be a star at Starlight, if one has a passion for working with children and helping them develop to their fullest potential. Apply online now to make Camp Starlight your summer home.