General Volunteer Camp Staff - FAQ

Q: How old do I have to be to volunteer as a counselor or any other position at Merry Heart Children’s Camp (MHCC)?

A: You must be 18 years old on or by staff day.

Q: What is the application process like?

A: The application process begins with a short online application where we can get your basic information and learn a little about you. Next you will select a group interview date, between March and June, where you will come and meet our camp director and other new staff. After your interview the camp office regarding the status of your application will contact you.

Q: If I apply, am I guaranteed a spot?

A: Not necessarily. While we would love to get everyone involved in camp, applications are evaluated personal references, background checks and interviews.  We can only accommodate so many staff members who meet our qualifications. Merry Heart Children’s Camp has many other volunteer opportunities; there are lots of ways to get involved!

Q: Types of Volunteer Positions Needed for Camp:

A: Volunteer Positions:

  • Activities Director(s) – Primary responsibility is to develop activities for the campers throughout the week.  Oversee the activities such as arts & crafts, help with songs, game night and other activities of the camp program. Oversee the Day/Evening Helpers if they are running the activity.

  • Archery Instructor – Primary responsibility is teaching archery to the campers. They need to have Level 1 Instructor certification.

  • Cabin Counselors – Cabin counselors live in a cabin with a group of eight campers throughout the week. Cabin Counselors spend all day with their cabin group: at meals, during activity rotations and during evening activity.

  • Counselor(s) in Training – Counselor(s) in Training are between the ages of 15 to 17 years of age.  They help the Counselor(s) and work with the campers.  They stay with them throughout the week, stay in the cabins, plan activities and assist the Activity and Sport Directors.

  • Camp Medical Nurse(s)* – The Medical Nurses are in charge of the medications and day-to-day physical wellness at the camp. They provide support to the camp physician and they stay overnight at the medical cabin.  

  • Camp Physician/Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant* – Camp physician, nurse practitioner and/or physician assistants make sure the safety and medical well-being of the children who attend camp. They stay overnight at the medical cabin.  

  • Day/Evening Helper(s) – During the day, Day/Evening Helpers assist the Activities and Sports Directors run activities for all campers. Day/Evening Helpers would help the lifeguard at the swimming pool, do arts & crafts, and help with songs, sports, play games, help with nature walks and campfires.

  • Head Counselor(s) – Head counselor(s) lead and assist the counselors and the counselors in training.  They provide guidance and leadership between the counselors, counselors in training and the campers.

  • Lifeguard(s) – Primary responsibility is watching the children at the pool.  A Day/Helper will assist the Lifeguard(s) during swimming activities.  Lifeguard(s) need to be Red Cross trained or equivalent, have CPR certification and concussion certificate.

  • Sports Director(s) – Primary responsibility is to develop games, which include sports (basketball, badminton, etc.) for the campers throughout the week.  Oversee the Day/Evening Helpers if they are running the activity.

  • Support Staff – Support Staff helps plan and facilitate the programs for camp. They will also plan the evening programs and daily schedule as well as help supervising counselors and supporting cabin dynamics at camp.

*PLEASE NOTE: If you are volunteering for a nursing or medical provider position, you will need to be employed by OHSU-Doernbecher Children’s Hospital or Randall Children’s Hospital.

See Volunteer Handbook for a more detailed job description.

Q: Why is Staff Development day mandatory?

A: Staff day is where our counselors are prepared with the skills necessary to supervise and support our special needs population. Each year offers an opportunity for growth as a MHCC staff member. Important medical, emergency and safety procedures of camp are shared at staff development day. Staff Development day is the only day our entire staff team comes together, it’s when we go from being individual counselors to one cohesive staff.  

Q: Can I miss staff day if I’ve been before?

A: It is important that all camp volunteers attend our mandatory training, but we do understand that some individuals may not be able to attend.  If you are unable to attend, it is important to talk with the Camp Director about this.  Staff day provides new information each year and is important for your development as a counselor.

Q: What is the date of staff day? Are there any other important dates I should know about?

A: The date of the mandatory staff training day is on the camp volunteer’s page. 

Q: Why do you do a background check?

A: Our priority is the safety and well-being of our campers. To ensure this, everyone who volunteers at camp undergoes a thorough background check.

Q: Do I have to live in a cabin with kids?

A: Yes. You must be willing to sleep in a cabin with kids to volunteer at Merry Heart Children’s Camp

Q: Do I get any time off?

A: No. You are responsible for your cabin at all times of the day. There are a few nights during camp where you will have the opportunity for a free hour to socialize, check your email, etc.

Q: Can I bring my phone to camp? Can I check my email?

A: We recommend you leave all electronic devices at home. There is very limited cell reception and no Internet available. If you do decide to bring your phone to camp, it must be out of sight of campers at all times. You must have a watch at camp - your phone may not be used as your watch or your camera.

Q: What is Support Staff? How can I apply?

A: Support Staff are in charge of the planning, facilitating and supporting a group of campers.

Q: Are there any paying positions available?

A: No. Merry Heart Children’s Camp is a non-profit organization and is completely volunteer based.

Q: How long does camp run?

A: Camp runs for 5-days and 4-nghts.

Q: Can I come with my significant other?

A: You may apply for and attend camp with your significant other. However, all behavior at camp is to be strictly platonic.