At Camp Foster we believe in creating an atmosphere where everyone belongs. We work hard to help develop a strong sense of community. We strive to make the world a better place, one child at a time. We live each day by our values, modeling them every step of the way. If you’re ready to join our team, please check out the great job opportunities we have.
Camp Foster 101
Camp Foster YMCA is a 100+ year old program that allows kids to be kids! As a staff member you get to play outdoors, work with people from all over the world, spend every waking moment with children, and rise to the challenges of being a professional role model by following the values of respect, responsibility, caring, honesty, and fairness. You’ll learn important on the job skills that you will use in ANY future career. Camp is a great addition to your resume. It is a job where YOU get to make a different in the world!
OUR MISSION: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.
What kind of experience with kids do I need?
As long as you enjoy being around kids, you do not need lots of experience. We require all staff to attend trainings before the kids get here that will teach you the ins and out of Camp Foster and how to best work with kids.
I need an internship, can working at Camp Foster count?
Absolutely! We think camp is the best internship you will ever have! We will work with you to meet your needs for an internship. We just ask that you work with your advisor to get us what you need to make it happen. Whether that is connecting us with your program of study, getting us the correct paperwork, or setting up an appointment to discuss how camp can fit your internship needs. We will work with ANY major of study to create an internship as long as it helps meet our program goals.
What kind of programs and activities do you offer at Camp Foster?
At Camp Foster we have both an overnight camp and a day camp. Overnight camp is a week-long camp for kids ages 6 to 17. Most camper’s only come for one week at a time. Day camp is a week-long program where kids ages 4-13 come daily from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.
We offer a variety of activities to our campers each day. Campers can enjoy climbing, canoeing, arts & crafts, archery, riflery, 9-square, gaga ball, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, riding horses, outdoor living skills, sports, science activities, cooking, pottery, makerspace, dance, drama, music, teambuilding, and much more. As a staff member you will elect different activities to learn how to facilitate and then be scheduled weekly to share these skills with campers.
Tell me about the kids…
Our campers come from all over the country and the world! Many are multi-generational campers and some are coming for the very first time. We serve kids from age 4 all the way to age 18. As a member of our team we try our best to have you work with a variety of age groups throughout the summer so you can have different experiences. Each age group brings different challenges and rewards!
Is this a paid job? (It sounds too good to be true!)
Yes! We expect you to play, have fun, and enjoy working with kids all while earning a salary. You also will have room and board provided for you throughout your contracted period of employment.
Do I get time off? What about days off?
Yes. Each Camp Foster staff member gets time off during our weekly session. You get a break each day and a 24-hour time period off during the weekend.
While we prefer to hire camp staff who can work for the entirety of the contracted season, we know you have events outside the camp calendar. We will work with you and your schedule to see how it will meet our needs and yours. If you need time off during the summer please indicate that in your interview. We will work with you in the event of any emergencies that happen during the summer season.
What’s the living situation like?
Camp counselors who are assigned to live in a cabin with kids will share a space with up to 12 campers and another camp counselor. Most camper cabins are carpeted, air conditioned, and many have a bathroom facility in them. All cabins are a short walk from the centrally located bathroom and shower facility. Staff not assigned to an overnight cabin will live in staff housing, which is separate from the campers. Housing is available for all staff.
Are meals provided?
Yes! Anytime camp is in session you will enjoy meals prepared by the kitchen staff alongside the campers. Vegetarian options are available and we will work with you on any other dietary needs. Our camp is peanut free! If you have any food allergies, please let us know right away so we can let our kitchen staff know.
Do I have to wear a uniform?
Yes and no. On certain days of the week (like check-in for example) we will provide you with a camp staff t-shirt and name tag that is to be worn with your own khaki colored bottoms. Other than that, you can wear your regular clothes during the camp week. We just ask that it is activity and kid appropriate. You are a ROLE MODEL and the kids will wear what you wear…
What does going “unplugged” mean?
At Camp Foster we have an unplugged policy that means any wifi connected device (cell phone, tablet, laptop, kindle, etc.) are not allowed at camp. We want our campers to create REAL relationships and have ACTUAL conversations without the glow of a screen. As a staff member this means we want you to help role model this and then enforce the rule with campers. So we ask that you keep your wifi connected devices out of sight so they are out of mind. You may keep your electronic devices in non-camper areas such as our staff lounge so you can have access to it on your breaks.
What is your drug and alcohol policy?
Camp Foster is a drug, alcohol, and tobacco/vaping free place of employment. We work hard day in and day out and being under the influence is not something we tolerate as it will affect your work performance. You will be dismissed if you break our policy.
Summer 2023 Details
Camp Foster’s summer schedule is based on 11 weeks of employment. Staff training is required to attend. We prefer to hire staff for the entire contracted season however we understand that there may be a need for days off throughout the summer. If you need specific dates off please indicate that in your interview.
Lifeguard and Ropes Training: May 22nd-26th, 2023
Ranch/Ski Boat Training: May 30th-31st, 2023
All Staff Training: June 1st-10th, 2023
First Day of Camp: June 11th, 2023
Last Day of Camp: August 5th, 2023
Camp Foster offers the following FREE certifications as a benefit to selected staff members. If you are interested in any of these training opportunities please indicate those in your interview.
Challenge Course: This training will teach you to safely lead the high ropes challenge course at Camp Foster. Learn to belay, facilitate debriefing conversations, and set-up/tear-down of the challenge course. Must be comfortable with heights. This is a 4-day course.
Lifeguarding Course: Through hands-on practice, you’ll learn teamwork, rescue and surveillance skills, first aid and CPR/AED and other skills to become a waterfront certified lifeguard. Lifeguard training participants must be able to complete the pre-req swim test of 550 yards, tread water for 2 minutes using just legs, complete a timed swim event, and swim submerged for a short distance. This is a blended learning class, with pre-course work done on-line prior to the start of staff training. The skill portion of the class will be onsite. This is a 5-day course (which includes the on-line training).
Waterski Instructor Course: Through hands-on practice, you’ll learn how to be a Camp Foster water sports instructor. You’ll get boat driving experience and learn Iowa boating regulations. Must be a certified lifeguard to go through the training (you can become lifeguard certified at CF to go through this course). This is a 2-day course.
Ranch Training Course: Learn how to safely handle and instruct Camp Foster’s riding program and horses. This is a 2-day course.
First Aid/CPR/AED Training: Gain your certification in this Red Cross class. This a 1-day course.
Summer Staff Positions
Staff positions at Camp Foster YMCA require a positive attitude, willingness to put the needs of others ahead of your own, be flexible and creative, willing to work hard for long periods of time, and be a team player. Camp Foster is an equal opportunity employer.
Applications are now open for the following positions for Summer 2023:
Camp Counselor: This is the most important role at camp! Responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of campers, the camp counselor provides supervision, direction, and example in the camp environment. In addition to counseling duties, each counselor will be trained to teach a variety of program areas. Camp counselors will work in both overnight and day camp programs. **Must be at least 18 years of age**
Water Ski Instructor/Camp Counselor: Responsible for instructing campers on how to water ski, wakeboard, knee board, etc. and will also have summer camp counselor duties. Must be lifeguard certified or willing to obtain certification and be familiar with Iowa boating regulations. **Must be at least 18 years of age**
Wrangler/Camp Counselor: Assist with the care of 25+ horses, lead trail rides, and help with the Boots and Saddles riding program. Will also have summer camp counselor duties. **Must be at least 18 years of age**
Resident Camp Program Director: Assist the Summer Camp Director with the operation of the resident camp program. Plan and implement programming, create and coordinate schedules, provide leadership and supervision for counselors, and work as part of a team to help manage the day to day operation of resident camp. **Must be at least 20 years of age**
Day Camp Program Director: Assist the Summer Camp Director with the operation of the day camp program. Plan and implement programming, create schedules and coordinate with resident camp, provide leadership and supervision for counselors, and work as part of a team to help manage the day to day operation of day camp. **Must be at least 20 years of age**
Teen Program Director: Responsible for overseeing the teen and TL (TEAM Leader) programs. Will organize teen program sign-ups, supervise teen activity facilitators and programing, and check in daily with teen counselors. Responsible for planning and implementing the TL program for 17 year old campers. May also have additional program director duties such as planning evening programs. Lifeguard and/or ropes certifications or willingness to obtain them are preferred. **Must be at least 20 years of age**
Pool Coordinator: Responsible for total operation of a large, outdoor pool including instructing morning programming, supervising lifeguards, and performing routine maintenance. Must be lifeguard certified or willing to obtain certification. **Must be at least 20 years of age and/or can demonstrate equivalent experience**
Waterfront Coordinator: Responsible for total operation of beach area as well as teaching and/or supervising staff in canoeing, kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, etc. and performing light maintenance on all boats as needed. Must be lifeguard certified or willing to obtain certification and be familiar with Iowa boating regulations. **Must be at least 20 years of age and/or can demonstrate equivalent experience**
Ranch Coordinator: Responsible for the total operation of Camp Foster’s ranch program including the care of 25+ horses, supervising wrangler staff and campers, leading camper instruction, and general ranch maintenance. Will lead instruction of our Boots and Saddles riding program for a group of 10 campers daily. Working towards or having obtained a certified equestrian training is preferred. **Must be at least 20 years of age and/or can demonstrate equivalent experience**
Assistant Ranch Coordinator: Assist in the total operation of the ranch program including the care of 25+ horses, supervising staff and campers, instruction of the riding program and trail rides, and maintenance. May also have counselor duties assigned. **Must be at least 19 years of age OR have completed 1 year of college**
Media Coordinator: Responsible for editing photos and videos, updating social media, and uploading photos and videos to Camp Foster’s sharing site. Will help create an end of the week slideshow and creating promotional material for non-summer camp months. May also have counselor duties assigned. **Must be at least 19 years of age OR have completed 1 year of college**
Health Coordinator/Camp Counselor: Responsible for the day to day operations of keeping Camp Foster safe and healthy. Work alongside the volunteer nurse in providing first aid, relaying health needs of campers to staff, and creating a nurturing environment in the health lodge and around camp. Must have First Aid/CPR/AED training or be willing to obtain. Will also have counselor duties. **Must be at least 19 years of age OR have completed 1 year of college**
Rec Lodge Coordinator/Camp Counselor: Responsible for the daily operations of the Rec Lodge. Will teach and/or supervise staff in arts & crafts and makerspace, lead PG-13 arts & crafts, create a fun atmosphere during free time, and maintain a safe, clean environment. Will also have counselor duties. **Must be at least 19 years of age OR have completed 1 year of college**
Ropes Coordinator/Camp Counselor: Responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of campers while providing supervision and direction for Camp Foster’s high and low ropes course. Will work closely with program directors to make sure ropes trained staff are facilitating programming to their best ability and do daily equipment checks. Will also have summer camp counselor duties. **Must be at least 19 years of age OR have completed 1 year of college**
Shooting Sports Coordinator/Camp Counselor: Responsible for total operation of Camp Foster’s archery, riflery, bb guns, atlatl throwing, slingshot, and hatchet throwing programs. Will teach and/or supervise staff in operation of these program areas. Will also have summer camp counselor duties. **Must be at least 19 years of age OR have completed 1 year of college**
Store Coordinator/Camp Counselor: Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the camp store. Will keep track of inventory, organize merchandise, and manage camper store accounts. Will also have summer camp counselor duties. **Must be at least 19 years of age OR have completed 1 year of college**
Project 130 Coordinator/Camp Counselor: Project 130 is Camp Foster’s annual scholarship fundraiser. The P130 coordinator will organize creative ways to get campers and staff involved with fundraising each week as well as work on some marketing and communication pieces. Will also have summer camp counselor duties. **Must be at least 19 years of age OR have completed 1 year of college**
Care Package Coordinator/Camp Counselor: Responsible for coordinating mail/care package delivery throughout the summer. Will facilitate the delivery of care packages, cabin parties, and making sure campers receive all mail that comes in daily. Will also have summer camp counselor duties. **Must be at least 19 years of age OR have completed 1 year of college**
Summer Camp Cook: Work in all facets of the kitchen: food prep, serving, and clean-up. Will create a safe, fun, and team-oriented atmosphere. Must have Servsafe certification or be willing to obtain. Living off-site is an option. May live on-site with additional evening duties as assigned.
Kitchen Staff: Work in all facets of the kitchen: preparation and clean-up. Must have Servsafe certification or be willing to obtain. Living off-site is an option for this position. Will participate in camp activities in the evening hours if living on-site. **Must be at least 18 years of age**
Summer Office Assistant: Help with daily administrative needs, make phone calls, and file paperwork. Other office responsibilities assigned as needed. Living off-site is an option for this position. Will participate in camp activities in the evening hours if living on-site.