The Staff Experience

The Staff Experience

Camp is a Real Job

Many people think that working at summer camp isn’t a “real job.” Being a camp counselor will provide you with hands on experience and skills that you will use in almost any job or activity you do as you continue through life. Camp leadership is one of the most important types of work experience you can have before entering the full-time work world. At Fernwood Cove our staff learn and practice group management, motivation, cooperation, teambuilding and teamwork, problem solving and much, much more. Many employers recognize the responsibilities involved in being a summer camp counselor and the character benefits that can be gained. We hope that you view being a camp counselor as a positive step in your career future. Perhaps the best part is that you are doing all this in the great outdoors, with children you will come to truly love. We care as much about our counselors as we do our campers, and you will find that we provide you with all the support and encouragement to help you do a great job here.

About Fernwood Cove

staff-5Fernwood Cove offers spirit, philosophy and a traditional camp experience, in two separate 3 1/2 week sessions. Fernwood Cove girls develop long lasting friendships, appreciation of the outdoors, and experience a high quality of activity instruction. The two sessions, each about 200 campers, give staff the opportunity to meet and work with two different groups of girls.

Fernwood Cove, set among rolling meadows, streams and woods, offers a full range of camp and waterfront activities and excellent facilities. Campers select weekly “focus activities” for specialized instruction. There are weekly out of camp trips, overnights and intercamp sports events. Our unique community of girls and caring, mature staff create a diverse and supportive atmosphere in which each girl may reach her individual potential.

Activities include, but are not limited to: archery, arts/crafts, basketball, canoeing, ceramics, crew, dance, digital photography, fabric arts, field hockey, gymnastics, kayaking, mountain biking, natural horsemanship, nature, painting, rock climbing, ropes course, sailing, soccer, swimming, tennis, water-skiing and wakeboarding.

Being a Counselor

Ask yourself one simple question: “Do I love working with and making a difference in the lives of children?” Camp is a hard job. We are responsible for these children 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We need to supervise them, nurture them, teach them and guide them. If you come to camp for the right reasons, this will be the most memorable experience of your life. You will develop a life-long bond with your campers and leave a better person.

Working at Fernwood Cove

staff-6Counselors teach 6 focuses in their respective areas per day. Some staff teach in more than one activity area. All counselors are involved, as either leaders or participants, in other planned aspects of the day, including flag raising, assemblies, meals and evening programs. Creativity and willingness to help are always appreciated. Once a week campers and staff are divided into groups for our weekly out-of-camp trip day. Trip groups enjoy activities such as hiking, canoeing, cliff jumping, overnight camping, and many other outdoor and nature based trips in nearby Maine and New Hampshire. Counselors act as trip leaders and supervisors on trips.

Counselor Responsibilities

The first responsibility of each and every staff member is the health and welfare of the campers. Each staff member is expected to take every care to protect the privacy and person of each camper. In addition to his/her ability to relate to children, each counselor is hired to lead or assist in a particular activity. With guidance from the administration and veteran staff members, each counselor is expected to implement a quality program in his or her area of expertise or to be a capable assistant. Knowledge, patience, creativity, and enthusiasm are some of the attributes vital to running a program that will generate and sustain the interest of the campers. Counselors spend the bulk of their time in the morning and the afternoon at their respective activity. The evening program is, for the most part, prearranged by the directors and a group of staff. Each counselor is expected to participate in evening activities unless they have a night off. The routine is broken up by special events, out of camp trips, and occasionally even a rainy day! Counselors do have some free time during the course of a day and are encouraged to take advantage of it to relax and rejuvenate. The use of most camp facilities are available when it does not interfere with camper programs.

Who We Look For

Fernwood Cove employs more than 120 people and we are looking for activity instructors who will also be bunk counselors. All staff are hired for their specific teaching skills, enthusiasm, and love of children. We are individually accountable as role models for children and we are responsible as a group for upholding the highest values of Fernwood Cove.

Staff serve as role models for our campers so they must always consider how their actions influence the campers. We hire women and men who enjoy being with children, who are patient, sensitive and understanding, who are interested in leadership training and group dynamics, who enjoy the outdoors and who will lead the campers by their good example.

Some qualities and characteristics we look for are:

  • All counselors must have the ability to teach or help with one or more of our activities.
  • Counselors must have completed one year of college or be at least 19 years of age.
  • All waterfront staff are required to have Red Cross Lifeguarding and CPR training or equivalent certification. (We offer a training course to obtain these certifications prior to Pre-camp).
  • Fernwood Cove seeks counselors with the genuine desire to share themselves while teaching, supervising and living with our campers.
  • People who look for solutions, not problems
  • High-energy, enthusiastic team players
  • Resilient and cheerful
  • Can give attention
  • Place the needs of children ahead of their own
  • Willing to accept guidance and direction from others
  • Have patience and an ability to listen and understand
  • Have a love for the outdoors
  • Have a desire to experience camp life
  • Good character, integrity, and adaptability.
  • Enthusiasm, sense of humor, patience, and self-control.

In short, we’re seeking talented, fun, outgoing, enthusiastic individuals who can provide quality instruction on various skill levels in our activities. Some questions you might ask yourself in order to evaluate your potential for success at camp are: Have you enjoyed working with children previously? Have you had a positive camp experience as a child? Have you ever worked at a summer camp before? To what extent have you worked with children? Can you live with children on a 24-hour basis? Can you adjust to the camp community with its rigid schedules, rules and regulations?

Role Models

As part of Fernwood Cove’s staff, you become a role model for our campers. Your behavior will have a big impact upon the lives of these girls, therefore, we are seeking individuals with high moral character. In the past, our staff members have exhibited good sportsmanship, strong loyalty, honesty, and the ability to work hard in order for the camp experience to be a memorable & positive one for the campers! We intend to continue this tradition at Fernwood Cove each and every summer.

Three Reasons to Work at Fernwood Cove

1. Interested in your personal and professional growth

Working at Fernwood Cove you will experience skill enhancement in the following areas: organization, motivating others, problem solving, leadership, emotional intelligence, prioritizing, decision making, risk management, working with groups, behavior management, project management, first aid, CPR, life guarding, teambuilding, responsibility, self-confidence, child development, skill integration, and knowledge of more games and activities than you thought existed.

Working at Fernwood Cove may help you to decide your future career and help you to learn more about who you are as a person. It is common for staff members to say they’ve learned more about themselves in three months at camp than in several years before being here.

2. Making friends you’ll keep for life

Fast and deep friendships are made living and working with your co-counselors. People often keep in contact for years, and our alumni are a testament to friendships kept for decades.

3Making an amazing connection with children

Working so closely with children, it is inevitable that you’ll form strong bonds. You’ll also be instrumental in the development of children, helping to foster self-confidence, independence, life-long recreational skills, safe risk taking, an appreciation for community, and a healthy lifestyle. You will also help campers understand the importance of, compassion, honesty, respect, responsibility, environmental awareness, and fun!


  • Internships for College/University Credit
  • Visa Sponsorship for International Staff
  • Teaching Experience – Including Creation and Execution of Lesson Plans
  • American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification
  • Belay/Ropes Course Training Course
  • Boat Driving Course
  • Competitive Camp Salary
  • Room and Board
  • Free Laundry Services
  • Free High Speed Internet Access – Computers Provided
  • Free Phone Calls Within the United States and Canada
  • Free 24 Hour On Site Health Care
  • Worker’s Compensation Coverage
  • Free Access to Camp Vehicles for Time Off
  • Excellent Time Off
  • Making a Difference in the Lives of Children
  • Making Friendships that Last a Lifetime

Pre-Camp Orientation

All hired staff members must be present for our 7-day staff, pre-camp, orientation and training. Pre-Camp begins one week prior to the campers’ arrival. Certain staff members arrive early in order to receive extra training or participate in certification classes. This is a valuable time before camp where you learn all about what it means to live and work with campers and fellow staff members. There will be discussions, role-playing and motivational workshops plus time to set up your program areas and time for recreation with your peers. Pre-Camp begins with dinner, informal introductions and a bit of history about the camp. The week is full of training sessions which prepare the staff for what camp will be like, what is expected, how we do things at camp, our traditions and our songs as well as many other things about camp. By the time the week is over and the campers arrive, the staff is primed, unified and giving off an excitement that makes the campers feel that we have been eagerly waiting for their arrival and are ready to get things going!

The Campers

Fernwood Cove has about 400 campers, divided over two, 3 and a half week sessions. The campers are all girls ages 7-15. Our campers are from many states across the USA, as well as from many countries around the world, coming from varied cultural backgrounds.

The Camp Season

Campers attend Fernwood Cove for one of two, three and a half week sessions, the first one beginning in late June and the second ending in the middle of August. Fernwood Cove is considered a traditional, all girls residential, half season camp.

Bunk Life

All of our bunks are spacious, wooden and rustic looking with a newly built feel; many have been built or restored recently. No camper bunks have electricity or running hot water. Most bunks have running cold water with toilets and sinks. The showers are in nearby shower houses and do have running hot water. Bunks are furnished with solid, wooden beds with twin-size mattresses, as well as ample storage space dedicated to each staff member and camper’s personal effects.

Camper bunks generally house 8-10 campers and 2-3 counselors. We also have at least 1 counselor who is part of the bunk family but does not live in the bunk. Male staff and some female staff live in nearby staff housing. The counselors who live in the camper bunks are called Bunk Moms, while the counselors who do not live in the cabins are also assigned to a cabin of girls as a Bunk Aunt or Uncle, having the opportunity to provide support to the bunk counselors and be an active contributing member of the bunk family.


Fernwood Cove is located approximately 1 hour northwest of Portland, Maine and about 3 hours north of Boston, Massachusetts, in Harrison, Maine. Fernwood Cove is close to many New England attractions such as the White Mountains, Maine State Parks, and the beautiful coastline.

Weather in Maine

Maine summers are warm and inviting, with daytime temperatures peaking at about 85°F/29°C and evening temperatures cooling to a comfortable 60°F/16°C. Maine is usually spared the sometimes oppressive heat and humidity that affects communities south of us in the summer.


Fernwood Cove requires uniform for campers and staff. Staff uniform is navy blue shorts or pants, and white shirts. Clothing items are limited to navy and white only. Accents, trim, etc. in other colors is not permitted. Limited white accent stripes on shorts, pants, etc. is permitted. Shirts with spaghetti straps or that bare the midriff are not permitted. Any sleeveless shirts must have straps that would cover a bra strap. We provide all staff with one warm navy blue outer garment and one staff t-shirt. Warm outer garments are navy. Logos are limited to the front pocket area and should be no larger than 2” x 2”. Raingear does not have to be uniform colors. Uniform must be worn during the camp day and during out-of-camp trips, unless directed otherwise. However you will need to bring an adequate supply of regular uniform clothing, as well as the usual supplement of clothing required for outdoor living. A full packing list will be available to all hired. All laundry is done weekly by camp at no extra charge. A dresser, bed linen, and blankets are all provided.


Fernwood Cove is nonsectarian. Our campers and our counselors represent many different faiths. An ethical, non-denominational service is conducted each week by different groups of older campers and their counselors, in which they explore themes that are important to them such as friendship, leadership, or courage.

Time Off

Maine is called “Vacation Land,” so there is plenty to see and do on days off. Here are a few favorite places popular with Fernwood Cove counselors:


The outlet shopping capital of the world, with everything from Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Timberland, Gap, Banana Republic to the world famous L.L. Bean. Only 1 hour drive from camp.


Maine’s largest city, it is a combination of malls, bars, great waterfront restaurants mixed with a lot of character and atmosphere. Only 1 hour drive from camp.

North Conway, NH

More outlet shopping with no taxes!!! They have almost the same stores as Freeport except more ice cream along the way, mini-golf and some better restaurants. It’s also on the way to the Kennebec River and other wonderful outdoor things to do!

Don’t forget we are only 5 hours from Montreal, Quebec, 5 hours from Vermont and 3 hours from Boston.

Staff who are over the age of 21 and have passed our camp driving assessment will be able to borrow one of our camp vehicles for their days or nights off. We encourage you to take time off camp and enjoy the surrounding sights of Maine and New Hampshire.


It is our policy that the use of any tobacco products is prohibited on Fernwood Cove property and while responsible for Fernwood Cove participants. Maine law prohibits the use of alcohol for people under the age of 21. We strictly enforce this state law. While under contract the use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, is strictly prohibited, and is cause for dismissal. All other policies will be explained and sent to all hired staff.

Staff Pay Scale

Salary is based upon counselor experience, specific skills or certifications, and level of responsibility. Room, board, weekly laundry, e-mail access, a designated staff phone, and a staff lounges with a TV and DVD player are all provided.

No written information can fully convey the warm, friendly feeling that our campers, CITs and counselors experience together each year. Only camping with us can provide a true understanding of the spirit at Fernwood Cove. You can find many more pictures and information throughout the website. Don’t hesitate to call or e-mail if you have any questions.