Working at Easter Seals Camp Horizon

Considering working at Easter Seals Camp Horizon?

We certainly think that a job opportunity at Easter Seals Camp Horizon is the best of many great choices out there. Most people know working at camp can be fun, rewarding and the experience of a lifetime. Additionally, there are also tremendous benefits that you may not have considered when looking at your future employment or lifelong decisions. Please take a moment to look at the following information so that you can make the most educated choice possible.

Easter Seals Camp Horizon was founded in 1966 by the Kinsmen Club of Calgary. It is located in beautiful Kananaskis Country, just west of Bragg Creek, Alberta. We are the only outdoor centre and camp for children and adults with disabilities and special needs in Southern Alberta. We have a wide variety of activities that can be adapted to meet the needs of our campers. It’s truly a magical place.

Each summer, Easter Seals Camp Horizon plays host to campers and staff across Canada. Most of our campers come from various parts of Alberta but one of our unique camps brings in campers from all over Canada. Our staff members are far more far-flung – this past summer, we had staff from 8 provinces and 1 territory, as well as the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, the United States and Hungary. All of our staff are highly motivated, energetic people who thrive in the fast-paced residential camp environment and who care about our campers above all else.

Why Work at a Summer Camp? 

We believe that Easter Seals Camp Horizon brings all the key elements of camping together for an unforgettable summer experience. Combine the beautiful Kananaskis front range, the fun and adventure of great camp programming, our group of talented staff, the fantastic facilities, and the top notch care provided to campers and staff - the Horizon experience doesn't just change the lives of campers but often our staff as well! On top of all that summer camps offer many special opportunities. Here are some examples:

Staff Training: For almost two weeks before the campers arrive we will teach you basic and advanced skills for working with children and adults with disabilities and special needs in a camp setting. From nurturing campers to dealing with homesickness, from high ropes to out trips, from supporting a camper with burn scars to assisting with personal care, you will become a better instructor, programmer and leader.

Learn Vital Job Skills: Today’s employers will tell you that no matter what education and training you have, it is the soft skills (communication, teamwork, leadership, etc.) that are most important when they hire. These are often the skills that are not taught as part of a school program, and can be far more difficult to learn. At camp, these tools are also critical. After training you in many of these "soft skills" that employers look for, you will receive feedback during the summer, helping you to develop your soft skills even further. These skills will prove to be invaluable when you apply for future jobs.

Build People Skills: If you are considering any kind of career working with people, especially with children, then a camp job offers you experience only found in a camp setting. Day in and day out, you will be working closely with peers and children with a variety of perspectives and life experiences. In meeting their physical and emotional needs at camp, you will have to help them solve problems that will often require you to think "outside the box." The interpersonal experience you gain as a result will be unparalleled.

Gain Experience: Many employers, from CEOs of large corporations to small business owners, will tell you that the best partners and employees they've had have worked in a camp setting. Few jobs will give you the kind of intense training and experience that a camp job will. Successful work and proven leadership skills in a camp environment can help you walk away with a great reference for future opportunities.

Meet People: Camps usually draw people from all types of backgrounds. You will have the opportunity to meet new people from different places and learn from them. You may have the opportunity to draw on their expertise and to broaden your own experiences.

Earn Money: When comparing camp salaries with typical day or city jobs, up front, camp salaries may often appear less competitive. Keep in mind that in addition to salary, camps will also pay for your meals, accommodation and most of your entertainment while you are away. Don’t forget how much you typically spend going out with your friends!

Change Lives: Most importantly, the children you work with at camp will remember you for the rest of their lives. Think of how fondly you remember some of the people that may have taken an interest in you over the years. You will help our campers learn skills, make new friends and build self-confidence that may change their lives forever.

Who makes up our staff team?
Our staff is a diverse mix of ages and backgrounds brought together by their interest in working with children and adults with disabilities and serious illnesses. We look for a combination of counsellors (college/university students) and program staff (extensive experience in a particular program area) to make up our summer staff team. We also hire a student nurse and a graduate or registered nurse. 

FAQs

We gathered the most frequently asked questions we get throughout the year from potential applicants. Hopefully, you will find some of the answers to your questions below. If not, do not hesitate to e-mail or call us in the office.

How old are the majority of the counsellors?
We have over 40 staff; most of the programming and counselling staff range from 18 to 30 years of age. The average age of a Horizon counsellor is about 20.

Are there lots of new staff members every year?
Yes. While the demographics change from year to year, approximately 50% of our staff are new to Easter Seals Camp Horizon each summer.

Do you require staff members to hold C.P.R. or First Aid Training?
All staff are expected to have their Standard First Aid and CPR-C by the time camp begins in May. Having these qualifications already will help you during the hiring process.

Are there any required ages or certifications required of the program staff?
Generally, we prefer to have experienced instructors in all of our program areas. This can be demonstrated either by certifications, course completions, or by demonstrating previous experience relating to that program area. The only age requirement is for positions requiring a Class IV license; our insurance company requires that all Class IV drivers are at least 21 years of age.

I don’t have a personal vehicle. Will I be able to get off site during time off?
We are located approximately 35 minutes from Calgary, 1 hour from Canmore, and 1 hour 20 minutes from Banff. While there is no public transit available, staff members are generally very open to sharing rides and carpooling with one another so that everyone can leave site if they choose to during time off.  There is also a staff vehicle that is available and shared by all staff at camp.  In order to use the staff vehicle, staff must provide camp with a drivers abstract and be approved by our insurance company. 

I have a wedding/family reunion/important event to attend during the summer. Will I be able to get time off?
We are able to arrange for staff to have time off for significant events like weddings or family reunions. Please notify us in writing as soon as possible if there is time off that you will need throughout the summer.  Every staff member receives a week off throughout the summer, as much as possible we try to schedule the week off for when staff have big events.  

I have a concert/art show/mountain biking competition to attend during the summer. Will I be able to get time off?
Due to the overwhelming number of opportunities for recreational activities throughout the summer, we cannot guarantee time off for these types of events. However, provided your team is not on their overnight camping trip or rafting trip and no one else requests the same time off, you may be able to schedule the time off at our staff meeting on the Saturday prior to each week of camp.

What electronics can I bring to camp?
We encourage small stereos or clock radios. The staff dorm is equipped with a TV and DVD player. Any other electronics must be kept in staff areas only and out of sight from campers. Camp will not be held responsible for any belongings, including electronics, that are lost, stolen, or damaged at camp.  Cell phones do not work very well at camp as we have limited service range for most carriers. If you choose to bring your cell phone please keep it in your cabin and use only during your time off. It is not to be used during camp time.

Is laundry available on site?
Laundry machines are available onsite for staff to use at no cost. Please bring your own laundry detergent and other supplies.

Are there telephones for staff to use?
Yes, we have a payphone that you can accept and make calls on in the main hall.

Is there computer or Internet access for staff?
Yes. In our program office we have a computer and access to the internet available. This computer is used for camp related work during the day, and is available for staff to use in the evenings after campers are in bed.  The internet connection is not always reliable and is often very slow.  

I've looked through the Summer Hiring Guide and realized that I cannot commit to the entire summer but I REALLY want to work at camp, what should I do?  
Contact us!  We have a much longer summer than most summer camps and it is often the case that applicants are not available for the full summer.  Although it is not an option to start the summer late (May and June are our busiest months- we have 2 weeks of training that, for the safety of our campers and staff, cannot be missed or made up at another time and then 3 weeks of adult campers, which are our busiest of the summer), we are flexible about staff finishing up early at camp.  Another option would be to volunteer with us for a week or two that would better with your schedule.

How do I apply?
Check back for our 2015 Summer Hiring Guide, which outlines the available positions, job description and employment dates, as well as our online application form.   

Volunteer with Easter Seals

Did You Know Part 1

In 1951 Canadian Mothers began marches such as one led by Canada’s first female Cabinet Minister, Ellen Fairclough, MP for Hamilton West. As a result of their efforts, the research of Dr. Jonas Salk was well funded, creating the historic made-in-Canada cure for polio. Today, Easter Seals Alberta funds vital programs and services for adults with disabilities and special needs.