Summer Staff Details
Camp Sonshine is a summer day camp located just minutes south of Lincoln, Nebraska. Each year we hire an extraordinary team of summer counselors whose love for God and passion for kids will leave a positive impact on the hundreds of children and teens we serve. Don’t just waste your summer, make it count by doing something that will change your life and countless others…forever!
Summer counselors are our paid summer staff members and are hired for the entire camp season. Counselors must be at least 18 years of age or have graduated from high school. Individual salaries may vary depending on past experience with children or specialized training and skills. Check out the Counselor Job Description to see a list of general responsibilities.
We have two main types of counselor roles during the summer:
Group Counselors work directly with a group of 10-12 campers and focus on developing relationships with each camper in order to ensure their personal development and safety. Group counselors lead campers through the group’s daily schedule and participate in the fun right alongside of their group.
Assistant Counselors are volunteer summer staff and are responsible for leading a variety of scheduled camp activities in a way that is both safe and fun for the campers, and creates an environment for memories and relationships to be formed between campers and their counselors.
What You Need to Know
There are so many things we could tell you about what it is like working and serving at Camp Sonshine but the absolute best way for you to find out is to jump right in with both feet and give it a try. We know you’ll like it…in fact, we’re sure you’ll LOVE it!!!
We’ve highlighted some key information below for you to read over and consider as you pray about your decision to apply to Camp Sonshine. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We would love to chat with you.
Typical Camp Day
Ministering at Camp Sonshine is a position for flexible persons, and you should expect to have unanticipated extended hours. During the day, staff members do not have free time. Personal business needs to be done either before the summer or during your limited free time in the evenings and weekends.
Monday through Friday
The following is a basic time schedule of what you can expect the minimal events in your typical day to look like through out the week.
6:00 AM – 6:55 AM Get up, Get ready & Get to camp…on time
7:00 AM – 7:25 AM Morning devotions w/ staff & daily announcements
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Morning Action Teams (Set-up for the day)
8:45 AM – 9:20 AM Camper arrival time
9:20 AM – 4:30 PM Camp Day and time with campers
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM Afternoon Action Teams (Clean-up from day)
6:00 PM – 6:45 PM Staff Dinner
6:45 PM – 7:45 PM Evening Staff Meetings (on select nights)
** Counselors also need to write in and decorate birthday cards for each of their campers in the evenings throughout the week.
Please understand that you have limited free time, even on weekends.
Each Friday night we will have our Overnighter with all of the campers. The Overnighter will run from 4:30 PM on Friday afternoon through Saturday morning at 10:00 AM. Parents are invited to arrive at 9:00 AM for our weekly parent pancake breakfast and the showing of our End of Session Video. This is an important time of closure to the week for both our counselors and their campers.
Overnighter clean-up and the meeting for the new session will take place between 10:00 AM and Noon.
Weekends are a great time to reflect on all that God is teaching you and also provides plenty of opportunities to catch up on some much needed sleep before the next session begins. Throughout the weekend, group counselors will also be responsible to complete their Camper Calls. These are short phone calls to each of your new campers who will be joining your group during the next session and a wonderful way to introduce yourself and to alleviate the nerves of some apprehensive campers.
If you are coming from out of town, you are responsible to arrange your own transportation to and from the Lincoln, Nebraska area.
Saturday, May 27 – Sunday, May 28
If you arrive before May 27, Camp Sonshine will not yet have pick-up services, housing, or meal arrangements for you unless special arrangements have been made with the Directors. Special arrangements will only be made for staff positions requiring early training or pre-camp responsibilities.
We will pick you up from the locations listed below. If you arrive anywhere else, you will need to provide or arrange for your own transportation to Camp Sonshine.
PLANE: Please make arrangements to fly into either the Lincoln Airport (LNK) which is located just 20 minutes from Camp Sonshine or the Omaha Eppley Airfield (OMA) located 1 hour and 20 minutes away.
*** Due to the additional transportation costs and travel time required by camp staff, counselors flying into Omaha will not be eligible for a travel reimbursement.
TRAIN: Please arrive at the Lincoln Train Station.
CAR: We recommend counselors bring their personal vehicle if at all possible.
HOT AIR BALLOON: Though not recommended, we do have plenty of space for landing….you are responsible for your packing up and storing your balloon during the summer.
CAMEL BACK: Please park all camels on the far side of the barn, away from the goats & horse
We Will Meet You When You Arrive-
Once you arrive here (unless you drive), we will take care of getting you from the airport or station to Camp Sonshine – as long as you arrive on the requested day, in the requested destinations, and communicate with us beforehand. We will send you more information in the mail and email about specifics of meeting you at the airport or station. Please keep us informed of any changes in travel plans.
Sunday, August 6 or Monday, August 7
The first available shuttles to the airports will leave camp no sooner than 1:00PM on Sunday, August 6, so please do not schedule any departure times before 3:30PM on that date.
Please note that Camp Sonshine will not have transportation, housing or meals available for you after Monday, August 7, 2016.
Early Departures – Early departures must be approved by a director prior to signing a summer contract and will only be granted in extreme situations. We discourage early departures because it affects staffing tremendously.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Staff Arrival & Welcome: There will be some enjoyable activities planned throughout the weekend and opportunities to meet other arriving staff members. Those arriving on Saturday are invited to attend church together with the full time staff on Sunday morning.
Orientation: Staff Orientation will begin promptly at 5:00PM on Sunday, May 28, 2016.
Schedule & Times: During Staff Orientation you should expect to have especially limited free time in the evenings and weekend. There may be extended staff meetings during the weekdays and there will be an orientation for the L.I.T. program (our Leader In Training program for teens) on the weekend between training and camp. Throughout the week and weekend before camp, there also may be required events and obligations that take time to complete – some for all staff, and some for specific positions.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW
Sunday Evening: Welcome to Camp Sonshine and get acquainted with the others you’ll be serving with over the summer.
Monday – Thursday: We will hit the ground running & dive into important topics like summer visions, lifestyle policies and expectations, team development, risk management & safety, group management skills, and so much more. Counselors will also receive a list of their first session campers.
Friday: We call it “Mock Camp Day”. The closest thing to a real camp day you can get. Counselors will experience a full camp day and practice all the necessary skill needed for success.
Saturday: Some will help with our L.I.T. Orientation which is a miniature version of staff training for our teen leaders. Others will receive Specialized Activity Training which will be for individuals who will be participating in and leading special activities such as kayaks, airsoft, sling-shots, etc.
Sunday: After morning worship, group counselors will work on the completion of camper calls and all will assist with final site preparations.
The 'Sonshine Look'
DRESS & PERSONAL APPEARANCE
The “Sonshine Look” is an integral part of our image. Regardless of your age, there is a consistency of this image that evokes a feeling of confidence and security both on the parts of the parents and the campers. Camp Sonshine has an extraordinary mixture of high standards, vision, and fun. Camp Sonshine enjoys an excellent reputation in the community, and we want to preserve that.
For this reason, we ask the counselors to be modest in clothing, hairstyles, and anything else pertaining to personal appearance. Parents will size you up with a critical eye because you are standing in for them as role models and caretakers for their children. We ask that staff members adhere to the following guidelines during employment at Camp Sonshine, whether on or off grounds.
- SWIMSUITS: Ladies, please bring a modest one-piece swimsuit or tankini. Tankinis should only reveal less than a one-inch midriff between the two pieces. Tankinis should have at least a one-inch strap for the top piece. Guys, no “bikini Speedo” type suits, please. Swimsuits should only be worn when at the Swimming Pool, Oasis, or Water Games activities.
- SHORTS: No short shorts, tight outfits (including Spandex type shorts or pants, unless under another pair of shorts), or cut-off shorts (unless very neatly trimmed).
- SHOES: Comfortable tennis shoes should be worn. If you bring open-toed shoes including Tevas, Crocs, flip-flops or sandals, you may wear them only when you are not “on duty”. Sorry, we like them too – they are just not safe for camp activities.
- HAIR, PIERCINGS: Radical hairstyles, including unnatural hair colors such as green or purple are not permitted. Also, no exposed or facial body piercings other than women wearing earings which should be smaller than a quarter and no more than two on each ear. This includes no earrings for men.
- GENERAL APPAREL: As a general rule, please do not wear apparel that may either cause offense to others’ convictions or appear unprofessional, such as women in halter-tops or with midriffs exposed. Tank tops should have straps one-inch or larger. Dresses with straps smaller than one-inch are not encouraged.
- STAFF SHIRTS: Staff members are required to wear their Staff Shirt each camp day. You will be issued five light blue staff shirts. Staff shirts may not be cut, written on, or altered for any reason, and may never be given to campers or other non-staffers.
- WEEKENDS AND PERSONAL TIMES: You will want to bring some clothes for church on Sundays. During personal time, please remember you are a representative of Camp Sonshine and all of the above guidelines for modesty are in effect.
As a counselor, you will be giving up a great deal of privacy and comfort, working long and demanding hours, and adhering to camp policies which may be limiting and not necessarily reflect your normal way of living. It is important that you have accurate expectations for what will be required of you during your time of ministry at Camp Sonshine. There are various reasons for the policies and guidelines that have been established.
- One reason is our desire for those who minister here to seperate themselves for the purpose of ministry and to live a life above reproach.
- Another reason, is the necessity to have a few policies as a result of our living arrangements & our size. These policies make life run much smoother for everyone.
- Also, to live in unity, we must all demonstrate a respect for the convictions of others. Some of these guidelines lend themselves to this happening more easily.
- Some policies are in place because Camp Sonshine enjoys an excellent reputation in the community, and we want to preserve that. Staff members help maintain the wholesome and professional reputation parents and our community associate with Camp Sonshine.
Each of the camp policies have been made prayerfully and with consideration of many details. We understand that some or all of them may be a sacrifice for many of our counselors. It is our hope that our staff will look at these areas as a small sacrifice in comparison to the opportunity to influence so many lives. Camp Sonshine is a ministry, and while we may encourage some things and discourage others, we know that you will have the good of others in mind. We will treat you like an adult capable of making good decisions about your own life, but please also be conscious of others around you and their personal standards/beliefs. We are all in this together!
Please note: Lifestyle Policies are in effect throughout the entire summer, whether the staff member is on-grounds or off-grounds.
The listed policies below are merely representative of the full list of policies and procedures outlined in the Camp Sonshine training manuals and summer staff handbooks. A full copy of Camp Sonshine’s policies will be sent to all hired summer staff prior to the summer and covered during orientation.
Smoking, Alcohol, Drugs & Theft
Camp Sonshine has zero tolerance for and entirely prohibits theft and any consumption, or use of: alcohol, drugs, chewing tobacco, or smoking for all seasonal employees during the summer months. This includes both on and off the campgrounds.
Personal Sexual Purity
It is important for our staff to understand the importance of sexual purity in their interpersonal relationships and any sexual activity outside of the confines of Biblical marriage are grounds for dismissal.
Specific policies exist for each of our various housing situations. Staff will be expected to adhere to and follow the established policies whether it be for a camp house, host home or one’s own living situation. Details will be communicated and gone over during orientation.