Sleepaway Camps taking advantage of their staff.

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    Why is it that a waiter has to pay to go to camp? Forget about not getting a salary, have to pay for camp? Why does a JC get a measly $150 or if anything not get paid at all? Does he not deserve good money for his hard work? Tips is not an answer, its merley a token of appreciation from the parents, don’t use that to cover up not paying well desreved money. How do we allow camp owners to take advantage of their staff year in, year out? Why don’t we put a stop to this already.


    Supply and demand. No one is forcing anyone to take the job.

    And the camp is taking your child off your hands for the summer; isn’t that worth $150?


    camp is fun, even for the staff…trust me on this…I would gladly pay to go again…

    If your looking to make money, the worst place to go is a camp…


    cherrybim – I think they are totaly taking advantage of the situation, and we should boycott this.

    Dr. Pepper


    I agree 100%.

    No one is forcing them to take the job.

    You can also look it at another way-

    How much would you pay to have full time supervision of your teenage child? Being in a structured environment with three tefilos a day (for your son), learning, three nutritious meals, while surrounded by their peers and given responsibilities that help them mature into adults.

    Now to think that not only do you not have to pay for this but they also earn some spending money- I think it’s a great deal.


    mike – True, but its just not yashrus not to pay them correctly, I don’t see how the two out weigh each other. Do you enjoy your job? Maybe you shouldn’t get paid?


    the kids enjoy it too. they are still in camp- its not like sitting in a desk and working hard its a camp atmosphere….


    As a former staff member in a few camps for 8 summers, I feel more than qualified to debate any of the people in the Coffee Room who feel this isn’t highway robbery!

    First of all: Why should be penalized for liking your job/it being “fun”? If a guy likes law, or making food,or likes saving peoples lives should we stop paying him?

    Second: A certain camp made the mistake, while trying to tell us we need LESS off-days, of breaking down how much kids parents are paying PER day for a camper to be there. Multiply that by 12-15 kids per bunk.Why are staff getting paid peanuts??

    Tips are the PARENTS display of hakaras hatov, the camp can’t be yotzei with that!

    Also, you kinda have to because what yeshiva is thrilled to hear you were gasp working in the city! The structure with davening and learning IS important so why be penalized for being a good Jew??

    Also, have you ever tried to watch 15 teenage boys for 2 months??

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    I agree with cherrybim and Dr. Pepper. The teenager is getting three meals a day in a structured environment. He (or she is being supervised by the head staff (those are the ones who actually get paid).

    Having spoken to people who run camps, it emerges that not all camps make money, and those that do, the owners are not becoming wealthy from it. Even if the owners were becoming wealthy from it, as long as they do not mistreat their staff (which I haven’t heard), they still have a right to use market forces and pay according to the law of supply and demand.


    Supply and demand. Nobody said it was yashrus though.

    This isn’t limited to camps though. I recently overheard several seminary age girls on the “F” train heading to a job interview at a “heimishe” business for a basic 9-5 office secretary type job(I wont reveal the business name for obvious reasons). They were discussing What they would answer if asked what their salary expectations were. One girl said she would ask for $250 a week and another replied, dont, she knows another girl who asked for that earlier in the week on her interview and was told that they were not looking to pay that much.

    Back to camps for a second. When counselors were employees and paid by the camp, they took their responsibility to ensure a good time for their campers a lot greater. Now, while as a whole they are a group of good boys and girls, since they have to pay to be in camp, or dont get paid for doing their job, they seek to maximize their own fun as well, sometimes to the detriment of the campers.


    My kids refuse to work at such camps. It’s a choice. The camps get away with this because there are so many teens that are looking for jobs at these camps, that would pay for the privilege.


    The camps know, and so do we, that they offer one of the few acceptable “jobs” that our kids can take. We want them out of the city, especially the boys, and this is a safe environment for them to be in. After all, not every family gets to go the country.

    However, it was a bit better when they could get Youthcore, but between budget cuts and possible abuse by organizations, those days are gone.

    A Heimishe Mom

    Because they can! When there was a shortage of waitresses and JCs in some girls camps they dropped their fees – which worked!

    Also, there are expenses involved in every additional person on camp grounds. Food, trips, insurance, etc. For the boys there are rebbeim that are well paid (to attract quality) even for the staff.

    The “pay” from the camp is a token, as are the tips. But as tips are required (in most camps) the staff DO depend on them as their summer earnings.

    As a former staff member and soon to be staff parent I am totally ok with this.


    It’s not so much different than thinking about how poorly we pay our teachers in Day schools! JMHO!!!! I think it is a shonda how poorly we pay people in camps and schools!!!!


    The staff ought to be PAYING for room and board and 3 meals (including hot ones) a day. After they deduct what it should cost them from their salary, I think staff is being OVERPAID.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    Tips are the PARENTS display of hakaras hatov, the camp can’t be yotzei with that!

    Poor argument. There are some professions in which most of the income is from tips. Tips are just more direct means of getting payment from the customer to the worker. Minimum wage, for example, includes tips.

    This from the U.S. Dept of Labor: (Bear in mind that normal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.)

    What is the minimum wage for workers who receive tips?

    The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires payment of at least the federal minimum wage to covered, nonexempt employees. An employer of a tipped employee is only required to pay $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage, the employee retains all tips and the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.

    Some states have minimum wage laws specific to tipped employees. When an employee is subject to both the federal and state wage laws, the employee is entitled to the provisions which provides the greater benefits.


    for some odd reason, this is the way it seems to work. teens go to work in camps for bupkes as their pay but if they have a bunch of friends there they seem to have a super summer.

    at least nowadays some camps actually have a/c in their bunks or at least in staff quarters. years ago the only ones with a/c were the camp owners or directors.


    Start your own camp and pay the staff what you think they deserve, after the hundreds of other expenses. Then you’ll see it from the other side.


    I can see not paying staff, or paying a very minimal amount. But charging someone who will work for you, almost as much as you would any other camper, that I dont see as yashrus. On the other hand, nobody is forcing anyone to take any job where they dont like the pay, so, anyone who takes such a job under those conditions really has no right to complain.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕


    If I’m not mistaken (and I might be, depending on the camp) those junior staff members who do pay, are paying a fraction of the regular fees.

    The way I see it, supervision of the junior staff is as much the responsibility of the senior staff as supervision of the the campers, and that’s ultimately what the parents are paying for.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕


    They would see that camps are not a goldmine.

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