New Zealand

 
I'm interested tell me more Download our brochure Apply Now

What's a "Faith-based" or "Religious Camp America Experience like?

What's a "Faith-based" or "Religious Camp America Experience like?

Author -  Camp America Brand Managers

Don't let it freak you out! - We created a questionnaire for our Camp America brand managers who have been to a variety of Camps which have some element of religion or faith. A lot of you will choose a preference to not work at a religious camp, but this limits your chances of placement by 60%... and most of those camps might not be how you expect them to be...

 

camp-america-blog-religious-camps-rhona-miller-1.pngcamp-america-blog-religious-camps-rhona-miller-3.png

Camp Chipinaw, New York | Rhona Philips, Wellington

What kind of camp was it?

Jewish

What element of faith or religion was your camp?

It was really low key, the only things practiced were a Hebrew prayer before meals and services on Fridays 

Are you religious yourself?

Not at all 

Did you select willing to work at a faith-based camp on your camp preferences to start with?

Yep I did

What kind of rituals/activities did you have to get involved with? 

Just the services and prayer. I actually found it really interesting 

What was the most surprising thing?

 I had 16 year old girls- the religion side was part of who they were but at the same time they were just like any other teenage girls! 

 

Did anything make you feel uncomfortable e.g. did anyone try convert you?

 Not at all

Are you religious now/did you swap your religion over?

No but I like knowing more about the Jewish faith. And being able to crank out a few Hebrew words is a great party trick 😂  

What did you expect going in to your camp - did they give you a good idea of what to expect during your interview? 

I had no idea my camp was Jewish as it really wasn't the main focus of the camp. 

What's your advice for anyone who practices a different faith or isn't religious coming to your camp?

Regardless of whether the camp is religious or not (mine wasn't overly) you will have a fantastic time. The majority of international staff won't be religious either so you're not going to be outnumbered!! You might actually find the religious side of it pretty interesting.

 

camp-america-blog-religious-camps-title.png camp-america-blog-religious-camps-rhona-miller-2.png

Camp Modin, Maine | Rebekah Ochiai, Auckland

What kind of camp was it?

Traditional/Co-ed

What element of faith or religion was your camp? 

Jewish 

Are you religious yourself?

Nope 

Did you select willing to work at a faith-based camp on your camp preferences to start with?

 Yes 

What kind of rituals/activities did you have to get involved with? 

There wasn't many compulsory things we had to participate in - mainly just prayers before and after meals and the odd special religious day where the children did activities or a service (their religious fasting day and pretend Hanukkah days) They have services on Friday and Saturdays, but the directors normally roster international staff to have their days off on those days so you didn't have to participate if you didn't want to. 

What was the most surprising thing?

I actually expected it to have more of a religious element to be honest but it was very low key and respectful

Did anything make you feel uncomfortable e.g. did anyone try convert you?

No not at all.

Are you religious now/did you swap your religion over?

 No I'm still not religious myself.

What did you expect going in to your camp - did they give you a good idea of what to expect during your interview? 

They made it very clear that I did not have to practice Judaism myself.

What's your advice for anyone who practices a different faith or isn't religious coming to your camp?

Don't worry about it at all! Honestly it is no bother putting that you are open to religious based camps without being religious yourself because the directors really don't mind! They are going to hire you for your skills not your religion.
SIDE NOTE: Only thing to bear in mind with Jewish camps, no pork! And no dairy with meat. So be prepared to buy bacon cheeseburgers on your day off! :p

 

camp-america-blog-religious-camps-rebekah-2.pngcamp-america-blog-religious-camps-rebekah.png

Robin Hood Camp, Maine | Shelby Cooper, Auckland

What kind of camp was it?

International Sports Camp/Traditional/Co-ed

What element of faith or religion was your camp? 

Apparently it was classed as a Christian Camp .... and in my second year I realised that it was Catholic  

Are you religious yourself?

No

Did you select willing to work at a faith-based camp on your camp preferences to start with?

No, because the drop down questions freaked me out. But then my interviewer told me that I'd miss out on being seen by 60% of the camps.... So I just ticked willing and then no to pretty much everything else. 

What kind of rituals/activities did you have to get involved with? 

There was just the "optional lord's prayer" which they said aloud during our morning roundups after breakfast. Didn't really bother me, I've been x4 times and I still can't remember it.

What was the most surprising thing?

Finding out that the camp was catholic in my second or third year and finding out that most of the Colombian counsellors were catholic themselves - I literally had no idea!  

Did anything make you feel uncomfortable e.g. did anyone try convert you?

I just had to be respectful when they did the optional lords prayer, not all the campers were catholic either so just hope that a camper didn't do anything to make me laugh. But no one tried in the slightest to convert me, didn't even realise that some of my closest friends were Catholic themselves. 

Are you religious now/did you swap your religion over?

No - still just believe in being a good person for the fun of it.

What did you expect going in to your camp - did they give you a good idea of what to expect during your interview? 

I was told about the optional lords prayer - and to be fair they probably did mention that it held Christian Catholic values but I don't really know much about religion and it didn't seem like a big deal, so obviously I did not pay attention to that part...

What's your advice for anyone who practices a different faith or isn't religious coming to your camp?

Well... it's a Christian-Catholic camp, but it's barely noticeable... as you can probably tell. But as long as you are fundamentally a good person - it doesn't matter if you practice a different religion or don't believe in religion yourself. There aren't any judgements if you're not.

 

camp-america-blog-religious-camps-shelby-cooper.png

Camp Nesher, New Jersey| Claire Green, Auckland

What kind of camp was it?

Co Ed modern orthodox Jewish

What element of faith or religion was your camp? 

Camp Nesher followed traditional Jewish rules such as daily prayer, wearing modest clothing, eating certain foods, but went about it in a more modern way (technology was allowed, as was modern style clothing)  

Are you religious yourself?

No

Did you select willing to work at a faith-based camp on your camp preferences to start with?

 Yes 

What kind of rituals/activities did you have to get involved with? 

Every Friday night we were invited to take part in Shabbat, which involved a nice dinner, singing and a really fun game where we got to stand on a table and wave a ladle around.
There was also Jewish Halloween where we all dressed up and ate weird food, as well as the usual American celebration of Fourth of July and an end of camp colour war. 

What was the most surprising thing?

How open everyone was about telling us about their religion and why they do certain things.  

Did anything make you feel uncomfortable e.g. did anyone try convert you?

Never, they were very clear from day one that they respected our beliefs and were not trying to convert us 

Are you religious now/did you swap your religion over?

No but I definitely learnt a lot and gained more respect for other religions after the experience.

What did you expect going in to your camp - did they give you a good idea of what to expect during your interview? 

At my interview, it was explained to me how we would need to wear long pants, shirts, and follow the rules etc but I didn't expect to be so involved and welcomed into their religious practises. They were more than happy for us to ask questions and the camp rabbi even held info nights for us so we could learn more if we wanted. I can still remember the words to our prayer we sung before eating bread each night.

What's your advice for anyone who practices a different faith or isn't religious coming to your camp?

All camps will have rules and expectations and going to a religious camp is no different. We still engaged with the kids and other staff, and they loved learning about where we were from. 
I knew next to nothing about the Jewish religion when I first went and now after two summers there, I miss dressing up on a Friday night for Shabbat dinner with the campers and counsellors. I think it's important to know that no one will force you to participate in a religious activity if you don't want to, and as long as you are respectful of the rules (like at any other camp) you will have an amazing summer 😊

 

camp-america-blog-religious-camps-claire-green-2.pngcamp-america-blog-religious-camps-claire-green.png

Cran Hill Ranch, Michigan| Eric Leo Schuster, Palmerston North

What kind of camp was it?

Traditional / Co- ed / Special Needs

What element of faith or religion was your camp? 

Christian

Are you religious yourself?

Yes

Did you select willing to work at a faith-based camp on your camp preferences to start with?

 Yes I did since I have worked at other faith based camps here in New Zealand 

What kind of rituals/activities did you have to get involved with? 

At my camp we would say a grace at meal times and have a small group bible study in the afternoon. The talk to the children is only like 1 hour of the day of that hour you play a few games sing a couple songs goes really quickly

Were all the counsellors at your Camp Christian? 

There were a couple non christian staff but only the cabin consular did the bible study with the kids the other staff did what was needed in their activities 

What activities did they do instead? 

Like horse staff, barn staff, beach front recreational staff, etc. all had their area to deal with and us general cabin cousellors did our bible study with our cabins separately

Did anything make you feel uncomfortable e.g. did anyone try convert you?

The staff are really great like they know that not all people choose God as their choice, so if you were not Christian they would give you the opportunity but no pursue you at all

Are you religious now/did you swap your religion over?

Yes I'm still religious

What did you expect going in to your camp - did they give you a good idea of what to expect during your interview? 

I looked on website which had a good feel to it. During the interview they were really helpful

What's your advice for anyone who practices a different faith or isn't religious coming to your camp?

Just be yourself, be open minded, learn and just enjoy the experience


camp-america-blog-religious-camps-eric.png

If you are thinking about doing Camp America & you're not sure if you'd be comfortable with working at a religious camp - get in touch with our Auckland office. We can talk to you about it some more or put you in touch with one of our Camp America brand managers.

What's a "Faith-based" or "Religious Camp America Experience like?

Don't let it freak you out! - We created a questionnaire for our Camp America brand managers who have been to a variety of Camps which have some element of religion or faith. A lot of you will choose a preference to not work at a religious camp, but it might not be what you're expecting...

Don't let it freak you out! - We created a questionnaire for our Camp America brand managers who have been to a variety of Camps which have some element of religion or faith. A lot of you will choose a preference to not work at a religious camp, but this limits your chances of placement by 60%... and most of those camps might not be how you expect them to be...

 

camp-america-blog-religious-camps-rhona-miller-1.pngcamp-america-blog-religious-camps-rhona-miller-3.png

Camp Chipinaw, New York | Rhona Philips, Wellington

What kind of camp was it?

Jewish

What element of faith or religion was your camp?

It was really low key, the only things practiced were a Hebrew prayer before meals and services on Fridays 

Are you religious yourself?

Not at all 

Did you select willing to work at a faith-based camp on your camp preferences to start with?

Yep I did

What kind of rituals/activities did you have to get involved with? 

Just the services and prayer. I actually found it really interesting 

What was the most surprising thing?

 I had 16 year old girls- the religion side was part of who they were but at the same time they were just like any other teenage girls! 

 

Did anything make you feel uncomfortable e.g. did anyone try convert you?

 Not at all

Are you religious now/did you swap your religion over?

No but I like knowing more about the Jewish faith. And being able to crank out a few Hebrew words is a great party trick 😂  

What did you expect going in to your camp - did they give you a good idea of what to expect during your interview? 

I had no idea my camp was Jewish as it really wasn't the main focus of the camp. 

What's your advice for anyone who practices a different faith or isn't religious coming to your camp?

Regardless of whether the camp is religious or not (mine wasn't overly) you will have a fantastic time. The majority of international staff won't be religious either so you're not going to be outnumbered!! You might actually find the religious side of it pretty interesting.

 

camp-america-blog-religious-camps-title.png camp-america-blog-religious-camps-rhona-miller-2.png

Camp Modin, Maine | Rebekah Ochiai, Auckland

What kind of camp was it?

Traditional/Co-ed

What element of faith or religion was your camp? 

Jewish 

Are you religious yourself?

Nope 

Did you select willing to work at a faith-based camp on your camp preferences to start with?

 Yes 

What kind of rituals/activities did you have to get involved with? 

There wasn't many compulsory things we had to participate in - mainly just prayers before and after meals and the odd special religious day where the children did activities or a service (their religious fasting day and pretend Hanukkah days) They have services on Friday and Saturdays, but the directors normally roster international staff to have their days off on those days so you didn't have to participate if you didn't want to. 

What was the most surprising thing?

I actually expected it to have more of a religious element to be honest but it was very low key and respectful

Did anything make you feel uncomfortable e.g. did anyone try convert you?

No not at all.

Are you religious now/did you swap your religion over?

 No I'm still not religious myself.

What did you expect going in to your camp - did they give you a good idea of what to expect during your interview? 

They made it very clear that I did not have to practice Judaism myself.

What's your advice for anyone who practices a different faith or isn't religious coming to your camp?

Don't worry about it at all! Honestly it is no bother putting that you are open to religious based camps without being religious yourself because the directors really don't mind! They are going to hire you for your skills not your religion.
SIDE NOTE: Only thing to bear in mind with Jewish camps, no pork! And no dairy with meat. So be prepared to buy bacon cheeseburgers on your day off! :p

 

camp-america-blog-religious-camps-rebekah-2.pngcamp-america-blog-religious-camps-rebekah.png

Robin Hood Camp, Maine | Shelby Cooper, Auckland

What kind of camp was it?

International Sports Camp/Traditional/Co-ed

What element of faith or religion was your camp? 

Apparently it was classed as a Christian Camp .... and in my second year I realised that it was Catholic  

Are you religious yourself?

No

Did you select willing to work at a faith-based camp on your camp preferences to start with?

No, because the drop down questions freaked me out. But then my interviewer told me that I'd miss out on being seen by 60% of the camps.... So I just ticked willing and then no to pretty much everything else. 

What kind of rituals/activities did you have to get involved with? 

There was just the "optional lord's prayer" which they said aloud during our morning roundups after breakfast. Didn't really bother me, I've been x4 times and I still can't remember it.

What was the most surprising thing?

Finding out that the camp was catholic in my second or third year and finding out that most of the Colombian counsellors were catholic themselves - I literally had no idea!  

Did anything make you feel uncomfortable e.g. did anyone try convert you?

I just had to be respectful when they did the optional lords prayer, not all the campers were catholic either so just hope that a camper didn't do anything to make me laugh. But no one tried in the slightest to convert me, didn't even realise that some of my closest friends were Catholic themselves. 

Are you religious now/did you swap your religion over?

No - still just believe in being a good person for the fun of it.

What did you expect going in to your camp - did they give you a good idea of what to expect during your interview? 

I was told about the optional lords prayer - and to be fair they probably did mention that it held Christian Catholic values but I don't really know much about religion and it didn't seem like a big deal, so obviously I did not pay attention to that part...

What's your advice for anyone who practices a different faith or isn't religious coming to your camp?

Well... it's a Christian-Catholic camp, but it's barely noticeable... as you can probably tell. But as long as you are fundamentally a good person - it doesn't matter if you practice a different religion or don't believe in religion yourself. There aren't any judgements if you're not.

 

camp-america-blog-religious-camps-shelby-cooper.png

Camp Nesher, New Jersey| Claire Green, Auckland

What kind of camp was it?

Co Ed modern orthodox Jewish

What element of faith or religion was your camp? 

Camp Nesher followed traditional Jewish rules such as daily prayer, wearing modest clothing, eating certain foods, but went about it in a more modern way (technology was allowed, as was modern style clothing)  

Are you religious yourself?

No

Did you select willing to work at a faith-based camp on your camp preferences to start with?

 Yes 

What kind of rituals/activities did you have to get involved with? 

Every Friday night we were invited to take part in Shabbat, which involved a nice dinner, singing and a really fun game where we got to stand on a table and wave a ladle around.
There was also Jewish Halloween where we all dressed up and ate weird food, as well as the usual American celebration of Fourth of July and an end of camp colour war. 

What was the most surprising thing?

How open everyone was about telling us about their religion and why they do certain things.  

Did anything make you feel uncomfortable e.g. did anyone try convert you?

Never, they were very clear from day one that they respected our beliefs and were not trying to convert us 

Are you religious now/did you swap your religion over?

No but I definitely learnt a lot and gained more respect for other religions after the experience.

What did you expect going in to your camp - did they give you a good idea of what to expect during your interview? 

At my interview, it was explained to me how we would need to wear long pants, shirts, and follow the rules etc but I didn't expect to be so involved and welcomed into their religious practises. They were more than happy for us to ask questions and the camp rabbi even held info nights for us so we could learn more if we wanted. I can still remember the words to our prayer we sung before eating bread each night.

What's your advice for anyone who practices a different faith or isn't religious coming to your camp?

All camps will have rules and expectations and going to a religious camp is no different. We still engaged with the kids and other staff, and they loved learning about where we were from. 
I knew next to nothing about the Jewish religion when I first went and now after two summers there, I miss dressing up on a Friday night for Shabbat dinner with the campers and counsellors. I think it's important to know that no one will force you to participate in a religious activity if you don't want to, and as long as you are respectful of the rules (like at any other camp) you will have an amazing summer 😊

 

camp-america-blog-religious-camps-claire-green-2.pngcamp-america-blog-religious-camps-claire-green.png

Cran Hill Ranch, Michigan| Eric Leo Schuster, Palmerston North

What kind of camp was it?

Traditional / Co- ed / Special Needs

What element of faith or religion was your camp? 

Christian

Are you religious yourself?

Yes

Did you select willing to work at a faith-based camp on your camp preferences to start with?

 Yes I did since I have worked at other faith based camps here in New Zealand 

What kind of rituals/activities did you have to get involved with? 

At my camp we would say a grace at meal times and have a small group bible study in the afternoon. The talk to the children is only like 1 hour of the day of that hour you play a few games sing a couple songs goes really quickly

Were all the counsellors at your Camp Christian? 

There were a couple non christian staff but only the cabin consular did the bible study with the kids the other staff did what was needed in their activities 

What activities did they do instead? 

Like horse staff, barn staff, beach front recreational staff, etc. all had their area to deal with and us general cabin cousellors did our bible study with our cabins separately

Did anything make you feel uncomfortable e.g. did anyone try convert you?

The staff are really great like they know that not all people choose God as their choice, so if you were not Christian they would give you the opportunity but no pursue you at all

Are you religious now/did you swap your religion over?

Yes I'm still religious

What did you expect going in to your camp - did they give you a good idea of what to expect during your interview? 

I looked on website which had a good feel to it. During the interview they were really helpful

What's your advice for anyone who practices a different faith or isn't religious coming to your camp?

Just be yourself, be open minded, learn and just enjoy the experience


camp-america-blog-religious-camps-eric.png

If you are thinking about doing Camp America & you're not sure if you'd be comfortable with working at a religious camp - get in touch with our Auckland office. We can talk to you about it some more or put you in touch with one of our Camp America brand managers.

What's a

What do you think? Love to hear your comments!

Name *
Comment *

Related Articles

Camp America is simply an experience you just cannot get anywhere else.

Camp America is simply an experience you just cannot get anywhere else.

Date:Thursday, 19 September 2019

I realised about half way through Year 13 that I wasn’t ready to study at University and heard so many amazing stories of people camp experiences and knew I wanted to travel. After reading into how ...

Jessica Hodges Camp America Adventure!

Jessica Hodges Camp America Adventure!

Date:Monday, 22 July 2019

I had heard of Camp America and went along to an information evening. The stories previous participants told about the adventures they had definitely sold the idea to me!!
...

Josie Weston’s Camp America Experience!

Josie Weston’s Camp America Experience!

Date:Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Little did I know stepping on to that plane four years ago would be one of my most life changing decisions. ...

 

Blog Tags

 

Contact Details

+64 9 632-1138

Camp America:
Suite 106, The Zone,
23 Edwin Street,
Mount Eden,
Auckland, 1024, New Zealand

Camp America Blog

Camp America is simply an experience you just cannot get anywhere else.

Camp America is simply an experience you just cannot get anywhere else.

Date:Thursday, 19 September 2019

I realised about half way through Year 13 that I wasn’t ready to study at University and heard so ...

Jessica Hodges Camp America Adventure!

Jessica Hodges Camp America Adventure!

Date:Monday, 22 July 2019

I had heard of Camp America and went along to an information evening. The stories previous ...

Josie Weston’s Camp America Experience!

Josie Weston’s Camp America Experience!

Date:Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Little did I know stepping on to that plane four years ago would be one of my most life changing ...

 
© Camp America NZ