Ripped Off Working In Camps

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    does anyone besides myself think its not fair that daycamps pay their workers (im talking about teenage girls with working papers) 175-200 dollars a month!! we work so hard changing, no offense, very annoying, yucky kids, wiping noses, washing hands, putting up with whining and obsessive 5 year olds jumping all over us, and we get nothing. especially girls who do specialty and get zero tips. i think its so unfair, and disgusting-we hardly get any thank you, and some mothers dont even tip. i don’t mean to sound ungreatful when i do get tipped and make 3-400 dollars, but why cant the camps pay us more-they’re not even paying minimum wage!!!!

    also, i refuse to work this summer, does anyone know if i can vollounteer at a hospital??


    The camp is giving you food, room and board, as well as (possibly) access to its sporting facilities, etc. So you are getting paid a lot more than the check you see at the end of the summer. The other alternative is they can pay you more on your check, and charge you tuition and/or fees for the aforementioned services they are providing you.

    Why do you think they have no trouble finding more than enough staffers?


    I know exactly how you feel!! to work in a day camp now is so not worth it my time and energy for getting paid not really so much and i come home exhausted also school is hard enough i might as well find something that is worth my time and energy to do but that is a really good idea to volunteer in a hospital you should call up your local hospital and ask if they have a volunteering program!!


    I agree with you, “young but not stupid” (love that name!) Not only that, listen to this…. last year my daughter was a day camp counselor, and the camp was going on a trip, and she was told she had to pay to take her group on the trip! She was earning less per day than what the trip cost. I kept quiet and just paid because my daughter loved the job but I thought it was not right.

    Most teenagers don’t work for the money, they work for the fun of it, they love kids and they have friends that also work there.

    I guess the nice weather today has us all thinking of summer.


    I think it’s absurd when people complain about how much they are paid for any job. The supply of unskilled orthodox Jewish teenagers who want to spend their summer wiping noses is high enough to depress wages to their current level. If you are not happy with it, find something you are happy with. Or get some skills.

    Think of it this way. If camps were to pay $5,000 per summer, you probably wouldn’t have a job. There would be an even larger supply of older, more experienced, more talented, more devoted, etc… people lining up for those jobs and crowding you out. Would you be happier with that?

    You enjoy being a counselor. Think of the low wages as something you are willing to put up with in order to do something you enjoy.


    It is the same thing for people who complain about the amount unskilled kollel wives are paid in whatever jobs they do. If wages were raised, the jobs would go to better qualified people who would then be applying for them. It is precisely because these jobs do not pay well that they are available.


    Indeed! I will have to agree with popa bar abba. A case and point is Torah Education. The fact that our schools and yeshivos are staffed largely by under-qualified teachers has destroyed the current generation and is set to destroy the next. Kindly refrain from making mention of a particular teacher whom you believe is qualified, as there are many. At the same time the basic laws of economics dictate that the field turns away the sharpest and most talented minds in our communities from pursuing such a career. If you are skeptical, my point will soon be proven at an Obama-care clinic coming to your neighborhood soon. We preach in public that we all care about Torah. Yet, we do not pay our teachers the same as public schools, and not nearly what parochial schools offer. This is a first class Chillul Hashem!


    What I mean to say is that if we would pay our teachers more, we would attract better teachers.


    Health: Owners of summer camps make a huge investment with awesome potential for loss. It is easy to wipe out a life’s savings if a business the size of a summer camp were to fail. I certainly don’t begrudge them their profits.

    You say “most owners I see don’t do any work”

    Are you serious? How many millions of dollars do you think it takes to supply the original capital for a camp? Do you think the owners printed it in some basement counterfeiting shop? They worked for it!

    If you don’t see them actively working on the camp, it is because they are wise enough to delegate tasks to those who are best suited to perform them.


    But it really is all about economics. If you want to pay counselors more, you would need to charge more for tuition. You would also no longer be interested in hiring seventeen year olds since much better candidates would be applying. So even more of us would not be able to afford camp, and our teens would be roaming the streets of brooklyn the whole summer(at best).

    I know secular subjects such as economics are assur but there are some nice economics books in the library you can read. I can suggest a few if you wish. Start with “Naked Economics”, (its clean) it is an easy read.


    volvie-im talking about daycamps in the city

    popa bar..-i think you’re wrong. i personally, can’t stand working, but i do it, and try as hard as i can to make the kids think i’m obs with every one of them. but there are some girls i know who LOVE their kids, and thats why they work. why should they get paid so little???and if these day camps are hiring such young, unexperienced girs (wich id like to argue-many of us are oldest or middle in family with two or three younger sibs. plus, many of us have worked already. i’ve been working 3 years. plus that, i babysit all the time. so tell me, am i really so unexperianced? its not like i’m in charge of chinuch. im just changing diapers and washing noses.)in the first place, why would you trust a child you love so much with a little pisher? the whole thing doesn’t make sense.

    i still plan on vollounteering for bikur cholim/hospital and babysitting for side $$$. that way i can rule my own day and im not working 8 hours a day with a bunch of kids.

    d a


    Every single teenager (and 20-24 year old) should sign up for youth corp. You make about $1,000 a summer


    I agree with the writer


    not everyone gets in to youth CORE. my brother and i both applied last year, and only he got in…


    i know!! i have applied for youth corp for 3 yrs and never got it, for both July and august. The system doesn’t work


    Have you ever considered doing residential habilitation? Its a make your own hours job, and its extremely fullfilling. you get paid at least 12-14 dollars an hour. It looks good on your resume and theres alot of training involved. The best part of it is that its so so so so rewarding. You get to work with a child who has special needs, and help them reach goals, designed to hel them be more functional…

    Also, there are many agencies that have programs at the end of the summer where you get paid 300 dollars for ten days, six hours a day…

    d a

    movingmountains, its commonly known as Res-Hab. It is a very good idea.

    Some organizations in Brooklyn are:

    –Special Care for Families and Children

    –Yeled V’Yalda


    –Metropolitan (not sure the exact name)

    Try it out. If you need phone numbers, I can get them for you.

    simcha man

    Although you may be getting paid “peanuts,” look at it as you’re paying for the experience. What other experience does a teenager have right after high school? The only experience that fills up the resume are the low paying day camp jobs and volunteer experience. It may not pay now, but it pays in the long run.


    As I was reading I wanted to mention res-hab.. but someone beat me too it.

    My daughter did res-hab one year after her full day 8:30 to 4 job..she earned really nicely.

    I now took on a res-hab case as well.. I even take my 2 yr old with…

    If u r still in school You can still continue in September as an after school job.

    Its very rewarding.


    YBNS – While I do feel for you, in as much as working all day for what amounts to about $10/day, were you working in a sleep-away camp, you would need to PAY for the privilge to work. No, I’m not kidding. The A list camps charge their junior staff to come to camp. Less than what a camper pays, but still not free.

    If its any consolation, when I started my full time job, I was paid about 10% of what I get now. The increases come with learned skills and experience. The Res-Hab or hospital volunteer idea is a good one, as this will give you something to use on a future resume.


    People have to realize that they have to be fair and respectful of anyone they hire.

    On the other hand no one is forcing anyone to take a job. Find something that you feel is worthwhile and rewarding. The rewards don’t necessarily mean monetary. It seems that you have already figured it out by looking to volunteer in a hospital. Other things that one can do is “intern” in any number of businesses for the summer to gain experience and build a resume.



    can someone please give me the number for these res-hab places? it sounds like something i would really be interested in doing. but would they accept a fifteen-sixteen year old girl??? Thank you so so much!!!!!!


    Volvie, we’re talking DAY camps here. They do not provide food. They do not provide board. They usually do not provide transportation. I think the problem is not being told how much you’re going to be paid. If $400 a month is agreed upon, then what can you do besides negotiate for more (which no 14 year old would do.) You do realize that $400 a month works out to be something like $3.50 an hour. When we babysit, we get $6-10, and the kids are often sleeping!!

    Real life example: I was asked to be a counselor in a day camp, but never gave a reply. I happened to be at the camp on the first day for an errand, where I was given the message “Where are you? Everyone is looking for you! You made a promise you’d work here and now they’re short on staff because you didn’t show up!!” I never made a commitment, I never signed a contract, I was never told how much I’d be paid. I told them this, so they begged me to just stay for the week until they could find a replacement. I very very apprehensively agreed. I was given the title ‘gofer’ which ended up meaning being a fill-in counselor for three days of the week, being a baking counselor for one day of the week (which is literally back braking work) and running errands the last day of the week. Thank g-d the week actually ended. I had to be there at 9am, having finished davening, and I had to deal with obnoxious and bored kids until 4pm. Then I had to help clean up.

    After pestering them for my paycheck for three weeks, they made me come in to get it, and wait an hour until they could see me. I got a check for $50. A counselor makes $100 a week, and a gofer who serves as counselor for 4/5 o the time gets $50. 33 hours work, $50. $1.50 an hour.

    If you ever run a camp and hire girls, please please please tell them how much you are planning on paying them. Then when you find no one wants to work for you, think about increasing wages.


    you got bullied. what does that have to do with normal people. welcome to capitalism. if you want to settle on a pre-arranged salary, go for it. if not, you are essentially doing them a favor and they should send you a candy dish as hakaras hatov. the fact that they decided to give you a monetary candy dish was very nice of them. this topic is about capitalism vs socialism.


    My friend worked last year as a mother’s helper for some local people and made something like 1,000 for one half. She worked just a few hours a day with some easy kids. When a counselor is working from 9-4 and taking care of tonz of campers (kvetchy ones!) she deserves a lot more than what people tend to get. Sleepaway camp is a different story altogetehr!


    Youngbutnotstupid- what are u complaining for? U don’t like how much ur getting paid so don’t work there! No one forcimg u to! a few years ago I got paid 400 the whole summer (exluding tips) I CHOSE to do it because I ENJOYED it. Its fun working with your friends, going on trips, making kids have a great summer…that’s what being a kid and teenager is all about-having a good time!! But since u don’t enjoy it, good that your not doing it again. Just don’t complain.



    i agree to passion all the way. i had it the same way, sometimes i made about 700, and this summer i made 300 with tips (it was in an is/am dc in Isreal).

    And to Hiding, i think it was silly not to make up before hand in that situation for a better salory.


    To passion & dogo,

    You missed the point. Just because you got treated well and enjoyed your experience, doesn’t mean that there are a lot not like you. Some kids feel compelled to take any job out there in order not to do nothing the whole summer. Just because someone is desperate, doesn’t mean that they should be taken advantage of. This is not the Torah way.


    Health, you definitely have a good point.

    About the claim that if the going salary would be higher then there would be plenty more eligible older people going for the job, well I think that the kids enjoy younger people with more geshmak (enthusiasm) then the older (even the more experienced) and most directors know this, and are appreciating the ongoing acceptance of the low pay for the younger ones.

    d a

    Res-Hab Phone Numbers:

    –Special Care for Families and Children


    –Yeled V’Yalda




    –Metropolitan (not full name)


    Each organization has it’s own rules, however, it is very possible that they will accept a fifteen-sixteen year old girl. Hatzlacha Rabbah! (Keep us posted!)


    This is the way capitalism works. There is a large group of kids who want to be counselors; since the group is so large, the people running the camps can pay less. They know that if one kid doesn’t want to take the job, there will be many more lined up behind him/her who will work. The more kids there are, the less the salaries will be. It works that way in the “real world” job market as well, so you should get used to it now.

    Incidentally, the first summer I worked in a day camp, I made a grand total of 50 cents an hour. (That includes staying overnight twice during the summer.)


    those wondering about Youthcorp, should know that there will be less funding for it this year due to budget cuts and the NYC gov website is suggesting that kids get actual jobs, where they will be paid. It maybe much harder to get Youthcorp this year. Also, some camps will not hire counselors, unless they can get Youthcorp.


    Mamashtakah – Read my post to popa!


    i know this is not THE cause of people getting paid less…but it is definitely A reason. there are quite a few gazlonim out there, who feel that it is right to send their kid to camp as a camper and use youthcorp to pay for it. these gazlanim have their kids sign the youthcorp papers, having done not a single bit of work the entire summer. it is a disgusting practice, and it must be stopped! every year at the camp i work at, fewer and fewer staff members are getting youthcorp, and hate their jobs because of it. id suggest they watch rabbi shaifer’s shmuz “its not geneiva, its shtick”


    Youngbutnotstupid, do you know what mature person doing, when he is not happy with the size of his paycheck? He start looking for another job. Why you stock with kids, if you do not like them, why you need babysitting on a side? Wal-Mart or bakery will pay you more then camp owner. Cleaning lady makes $ 8.00 – 10.00 per hour. Would you like to try? This way you will not changing annoying kids, you will learn some skils and make more money.


    youngbutnotstupid – I don’t blame you.


    the bottom line, camp like everything else is supply and demand.

    as long as ppl will work for a few dollars, and there is a long list of ppl waiting for that job, the wages will never go up.

    if someone doesn’t like it, get a real job for the summer.

    i remember when i was 16 or 17 i took a 2 month job organizing a companies warehouse, i was paid normal wage (i think it was 500 a week) for the 8 weeks, walked out with 4,000.00 but i worked hard, it was 9-5 and it didn’t include swimming with my bunk, etc..



    Unless you are an accountant and you see the owners’ tax returns, you have no idea how much money they earn from the camps. Owners are supposed to delegate – that’s how the capitalist system works. The larger the owner’s enterprise, the more delegating she/he does. If your hashkafa allows, take a college class in microeconomics so you have a deeper understanding of how different parts of the system work together. Shabbat Shalom!


    This may sound like a stupid question, but here goes:

    How does one apply for Youthcorp? Is there an online form? Or does one go to a government office?


    The Wolf

    d a

    Youth Corp info:

    You can call Torah UMesorah at 718-252-4446

    The applications will be available towards the end of April.

    By the way, I just my application as a counselor, and for the full 8 week program, I will be getting $1,100 (if I do not get Youth Corp). Last year I got $1,000 as a FIRST YEAR counselor.

    Find the right camp and get paid right!!!

    No place like…


    Thank you, d a!

    The Wolf


    My camp paid $137.50 for 4 weeks this past summer. For an off day i had to pay $8 for the rota-tor. Do the math, $137.50/23 (I’m not counting Shabbos) is approximately $6 a day. That means i had to pay more to take off then I make per a day!!!!

    But the truth is, I’m not going to camp to make big bucks, i have somewhat of a good time, and there’s no use in complaining. Just gotta deal with reality.


    You can apply to Youth Corp online by visitting the website:

    However, the application is not yet available.

    To see an impoortant notice regarding Youth Corp this summer, visit:

    da, what camp do you work in?


    To mamashtakah,

    You only read one of my posts -you didn’t read the other one. I’ll quote it for you -“You missed the point. Some kids feel compelled to take any job out there in order not to do nothing the whole summer. Just because someone is desperate, doesn’t mean that they should be taken advantage of. This is not the Torah way.” Not paying a half-normal salary is taking advantage of people. I’m not interested in the owner’s books. He wouldn’t keep opening year after year, if he wasn’t making a decent profit.


    Health: Do you ever have cleaning help in your house? Do you ever hire a babysitter? How much do you pay them? I hope it is in the $20/ hour range. Otherwise, you are simply taking advantage of their lack of skills and the amount of unskilled workers who want to clean your house and watch your kids.


    Popa – You must be joking. Maids start at $6/hr. Babysitters charge starting about $4-5/hr. (That was years ago -the last time I hired one.) The first poster said he/she got paid $175 -200 for the month. Let’s say it was $200 and they only work 5 hours a day (unlikely). 5 * 5 days = 25. 25 * 4 weeks = 100. That comes out to a whopping $2/hr. This is probably a very big overestimate.


    d a

    potpie, No place like CHAIM DAY CAMP!


    I just heard of a camp paying $90 a half for jcs and 1,000 a half for regulars. It may not be tops in pay but you get all trips and overnights free plus you can have a blast with friends. A lot depends on the camp and the campers (how difficult they are).

    pascha bchochma

    if you work in a private playgroup over the summer you get paid more than if you work in a camp or day camp, because they feel more guilty.

    Just letting you know, this is important for those of you who aren’t on youth corps for whatever reason.

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