camp staff faqs

Camp Staff FAQs

Why do I want to work at a mainstages partner camp?

Young people learn and grow in the blink of an eye. You get to play, question, grow, be artistic and creative, act like a kid again, and leave the worries of the modern world behind for 8 short weeks. You leave wanting nothing but 8 more weeks!

Sleepaway camps have staff and campers from all over the world! Short of working for the United Nations, you won't find such an eclectic community quite like this.

You get to spend your summer in the great outdoors! (Ahhhhh, I can smell the fresh air already.)

In addition to salary, sleepaway camps will provide meals and lodging during the summer. mainstages teaching artists, on average, earn 10-15% MORE coming through us as opposed to other summer placement services.

What are the different camp position types available?

Below is a quick overview of the criteria for our 2021 camp Teaching Artist Positions. You can meet our current virtual performers here to get a feel for the type of people who are currently working with mainstages.

*NEW FOR 2021* Master of Fun

Facilitators who provide a wide range of creative entertainment to their camp. You may be hosting game shows, putting together a murder mystery, emceeing events, DJing parties, and more!

Theater Specialist

Teachers who are willing and interested in leading a Children's Theater Program. Have attended camp as staff or camper or other relevant experience in childcare.

Theater Director

Teachers with extensive experience in educational theater programming in recreational settings including supervision of theater staff.

Specialty Instructor

Artists with personal/professional backgrounds in Dance, Set/Prop Making, Costume Design, Tech/AV, or Visual Arts. Musicians with the ability to accompany musicals on piano or lead songs on a guitar.

What camps do you work with?

mainstages partners with day and sleep-away camps across the United States and Canada. Partner camps are typically traditional camps that offer a wide variety of programs and utilize mainstages for their theater and fine arts support.

Our partner camps are accredited by the American Camping Association and are considered premier in the camping movement.

How are mainstages and the camp I might work at preparing and changing because of coronavirus?

For summer 2021, mainstages is modifying our pre-camp training and preparations by utilizing virtual platforms to increase our online training in addition to canceling our traditional in-person pre-camp retreat. We are also delaying assisting staff with travel arrangements until later in the spring. From a programmatic standpoint, we are maximizing online technology to provide tools and resources that will assist you in creating effective camp-wide programming and entertainment that successfully utilizes social distancing, masks, and outdoor performance venues.

Camps nationwide are working to develop safe and secure protocols. They may require you to join their "bubble" as part of your employment, commit to maintaining and respecting social limitations for next summer, and/or submit to tests and possibly vaccinations, depending on the status of the world. Working at camp always requires a flexible mentality, but summer 2021 will require additional levels of flexibility including the possibility of last-minute changes.

What are the dates of the contract?

Dates are a little different for each camp but typically range from early June-mid August. Sleep-away camps may require you to arrive at camp up to a week early for orientation.

Camp days typically start at 7am and will end around 5/6pm (day camp) or 9/10pm (sleep-away), with staff free time during the day and after.

You will be asked to attend pre-camp orientations with mainstages, including participation in an online prep course, webinars, phone calls, and in-person.

What is my compensation?

Most teaching artists and theater directors will receive a salary paid directly from camp based on education, applicable work, and previous camp experience. Salary scale will be determined prior to offering a contract.

Sleep-away camp contracts also include room and board for the duration of the summer and travel to camp from the nearest city. Many camps also allow for gratuities from families on visiting days.

While salaries vary depending on experience and the particular position, here is a general range for reference:

Theater Counselors & Masters of Fun (College Freshman/Sophomore): $1,800- $2,200

Theater Counselors & Masters of Fun (College Junior/Senior: $2,200- $2,500

Theater Camp Directors & Masters of Fun (College Graduates): $2,500- $3,500+

What are my living arrangements like?

Sleepaway camp teaching artists are required to spend the duration of their contract living at their placement camp, typically in a large bunk area with 3-5 other staff and anywhere from 8-16 campers. Accommodations may vary and some private sleeping arrangements are available.

Teaching artists receive one day off a week and periods off daily. Theater Directors at sleepaway camps generally will have private or semi-private housing accommodations. Day camp staff placed outside of their local areas are provided short-term housing or placed with a host family.

How old are the kids?

Kids range in age from six to sixteen at sleep-away camp, though most kids auditioning for the play tend to be between eight and fourteen. Day camp starts at three years old. Our curriculum targets children beginning at age four.

You may be placed with a specific age group for lodging and counseling. That age group will be determined by the camp in collaboration with mainstages, based on your previous experience and personality.

What's the curriculum like?

There are two core units to mainstages curriculum: a performance track for children who audition and participate in the shows, and an activities track for campers who arrive as part of a rotating schedule.

The activities track is steeped in movement games, focus exercises, character, and improvisation, while the performance track emphasizes ensemble, sensory work, and stage vocabulary.

For each track, you are provided with a daily breakdown of suggested programs and lesson plans.

How does a mainstages internship work?

mainstages offers college credits at many theater schools and conservatories. Credits range from 2-6 for the summer, depending on educational institution attending, and may be applied as elective or educational credits.

Schools require communication with a guidance counselor or advisor to determine parameters and measures of judgment. mainstages serves as intern sponsor and works with camp staff to make sure internship goals are reached.

You have the info. Do you have what it takes?

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