FAQs for counselors

I am looking for a summer job.  Are you hiring?

No, all of our counselor and director positions are 100% volunteer. If you want to volunteer with us, click here or read on for more information.

Manidokan, the facility where Deaf & ASL Camp is held, does have paid positions for summer staff. Click here to learn about Manidokan’s job openings.

 

What is it like to volunteer at Deaf & ASL Camp?

Amazing, challenging, inspiring, exhausting, rewarding, HARD and FUN!

Trained Manidokan staff lead our main activities. DCI volunteer counselors are responsible for campers during these activities all day (AND all night, when necessary). You will work with your team to determine a break schedule… but you will be “on” MUCH more than you’re “off.” (It’s a great idea to schedule yourself a free day right after camp!)

Each camp is staffed by counselors who are deaf and hearing, from new to fluent signers. Our campers are diverse: some have attended camp for many years, some are away from home for the first time; some have special needs and will need accommodations or perhaps a one-on-one; some will be experienced signers and some will be just learning their alphabet. Our campers come from hearing and deaf families, from all over Maryland and beyond! We often have families who send siblings, cousins, and even neighbors so that their children can enjoy camp together.

You will swim, raft, hike, play, and laugh alongside your campers. You will be exhausted, dirty, and challenged. You will be sick of the bugs and might wonder why you bothered to bring a novel to read. We also hope that you will learn more ASL than in any course, get to know many amazing kids, and take in the truly awesome scenery around Manidokan. Many of our volunteers end the week feeling physically tired but emotionally recharged. These wonderful people return to camp year after year, proving that this is the best week of the summer not only for the campers, but also for the counselors!

 

What are the advantages to volunteering with DCI?

  • A rewarding volunteer experience
  • Tons of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise
  • Great experience for anyone starting or considering a career working with children or with deaf individuals (teachers, interpreters, social workers, psychologists, coaches, etc.)
  • A large and diverse group of new friends
  • Service hours
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Networking

How old do you have to be to volunteer?

Counselors must be at least 18 years old by the time camp starts.  To work in the Older Deaf/ASL Camp, volunteers must be at least 21.  Learn more about counselor positions here. We have a limited number of spots available for Counselors-in-Training (CITs).  You must be 16 or 17 at the beginning of camp to apply for these spots.  Click here for more information about CITs.

 

How do I apply to volunteer at camp?

Deaf Camps, Inc. has a limited number of counselor positions for new volunteers every year. We open volunteer and waiting list slots to new counselors on March 15 and continue until all available slots are filled. (This usually happens FAST – within 2 weeks or less.) Please contact us at DeafCampsInc@gmail.com on or after March 15 to receive the volunteer paperwork. Once you receive the application paperwork you must:

  • submit paperwork by the deadline. (*We consider applications in the order your completed paperwork was received.)
  • pass the background check.
  • participate in a telephone or videophone interview (if requested).
  • receive a confirmation from one of our directors inviting you to volunteer in their camp.

 

Why wasn’t I selected to volunteer at camp?

There are many possible reasons. We look at the factors above when deciding who to accept. If an applicant has volunteered with DCI at a fundraising event, we also consider their conduct there (promptness, maturity, responsibility). The Office of Retreat and Camping Ministries (which owns and operates Manidokan) is required to perform a background check on each applicant.

We have a limited number of counselor slots each year. Returning counselors are invited back first, then we open slots to new counselors. The most common reason an applicant is not selected is simply because there were not enough slots. Mark your calendar for March 15 of next year and try again. J

 

Why haven’t I heard back yet about __________? (my application, my question, etc.)

Deaf Camps, Inc is 100% volunteer run. Each board member contributes to DCI in between time spent on our families, jobs, and busy lives. Therefore, we’re not able to reply as quickly as other organizations with paid staff. If you haven’t heard from us in 2 weeks or more, you can re-send your message.

 

I don’t have that much experience with ASL/kids/camp… can I still volunteer?

We look at several factors when deciding who to accept and where to place them, including:

  • How soon the completed volunteer paperwork was submitted
  • High-need role models for our campers (d/hh, men, people of color)
  • ASL fluency
  • Experience with kids
  • Experience with special needs

One individual rarely meets all of the criteria, but we do strive for a balance in each group. If you are weak in one or more of these areas, but you still feel a desire to learn new things and contribute to our program, please send in your application!

 

I’m not Methodist/I’m not Christian. Can I volunteer anyway?

YES! We welcome campers and counselors of all religious backgrounds. Parents can request for campers to be excused from morning Bible Study and/or Evening Chapel. You will likely be asked to supervise campers during these activities, but you are not obligated to participate. All counselors are expected to model respectful behavior at all times, including respecting diversity.

If I am selected, what should I bring to camp?

Please click here for a packing list.

 

I am an interpreting student.  Can I get mentored hours for my internship/practicum at camp?

We have a limited number of spots available for Interpreting Interns.  Please click here for more information.

I want to get college credit for volunteering at camp.  Is this possible?

This may be possible depending upon your program.  Please contact us at DeafCampsInc@gmail.com to discuss your program’s requirements.

 

Can my child also attend camp? Will I get a discount on my child’s registration?

Yes. If you volunteer as a counselor for the week of camp, you will receive a discount off one child’s registration for one week of camp. You may apply this discount to any one week of camp in the same summer at Manidokan. This discount only applies to your own child’s registration, not for siblings, nieces/nephews, or a friend’s children. Policies regarding registration and discounts are set by the Retreat and Camping Ministries Office, not Deaf Camps, Inc.  For more information, please contact the Camp Registrar at (800) 922-6795 or camp.registrar@verizon.net.

In most cases, we strongly recommend for a parent or family member to volunteer in a different camp than their child. This allows you to focus on your responsibilities and allows your child to experience some structured independence during camp. If you believe this will not be possible for your child, please e-mail us at DeafCampsInc@gmail.com.

 

I can’t volunteer as a counselor, but I still want to help. How can I support DCI?

Letter writers

  • We provide a list of camper first names and the camp address.
  • You provide a letter from a “Secret Pal” to ensure that each camper receives at least one letter while they are at camp.

Volunteer drivers

  • You provide proof of insurance and driver’s license.
  • We match you with a camper who needs a ride to Manidokan on Sunday when camp begins.

Fundraising

  • Help us spread the word about our fundraising events.
  • Volunteer for a fundraising event.
  • Host a “sign and dine” restaurant fundraiser in your area.
  • Solicit donations from church or civic groups you have connections to.

Word of mouth

  • Tell everyone you know all about camp. Help bring in more donors, counselors, and of course – campers!

E-mail us at DeafCampsInc@gmail.com to tell us how you’d like to help.

 

I’ve volunteered as a counselor, but I want to do more. How can I support DCI?

The DCI board works year-round, primarily on fundraising. If you would like to support us in the ”off-season,” you could:

  • Tell everyone you know all about camp. Help bring in more donors, counselors, and of course – campers!
  • Help us spread the word about our fundraising events.
  • Volunteer for a fundraising event.
  • Host a “sign and dine” restaurant fundraiser in your area.
  • Solicit donations from church or civic groups you have connections to.
  • Consider helping the DCI board on projects like fundraising and advertising.

E-mail us at DeafCampsInc@gmail.com to talk about how you can add your talents to our group.