Camp Staff FAQ

How do I get to camp?

Local Staff: you can drive, or take the bus from Port Authority NYC to Torrington (see below).

Non Local Staff: Fly into a NY area airport, take a shuttle to Port Authority bus terminal, then take the Peter Pan bus from Port Authority to Torrington. You can buy your ticket from the Trailways ticket desk in the south terminal. The cost is approximately $32. The bus leaves from Gate 13 (also in the south terminal) at 9am (arriving at 11:40) and 5pm (arriving 7:40pm). These are the only buses to Torrington. Please call camp toll-free at (800) 842-1143, before you get on the bus so that we can arrange for someone to collect you in Torrington. If there is no answer, please leave a message. It is important for every person to call so we know what size vehicle to send for you.

Please check gate and time details with the desk clerk when buying your ticket! Bus tickets to camp will be reimbursed after you successfully complete your full term of employment.

What will my address be?

YMCA Camp Mohawk
P.O. Box 1209
Litchfield, CT, 06759

FedEx or UPS:
YMCA Camp Moahwk
256 Great Hill Road
Litchfield, CT, 06759

Mail for you should be addressed with your name and the word ‘Staff’ or ‘Counselor’

How can my family contact me?

By mail or they can leave a message for you at the office. Your messages will be brought to the next meal and given to you directly or put in your mail box. The phone number for the office is (800) 842-1143. They can also keep up with what’s going on through the daily updates on this site.

What if there is an extreme emergency?

If they have an emergency and need to contact you, they should call the office on the number above. If there is no answer they can call: (860) 672-3349 or (860) 309-5935. These numbers are for extreme emergencies only.

If there is an emergency here, they can keep updated by checking the website. We ask that they do not block the phone lines by calling. We will post all important info on the site as soon as possible.

What facilities are there for me?

We have a staff lounge with wireless internet, 4 computers, and cable TV.

Laundry is available for those who sign up. You will have a scheduled day to do your laundry to allow fair usage. It is cold water only and you are responsible for your own detergent. (Liquid dissolves best in the cold water.)

What is my "store account" and what can I buy?

Your store account allows you to buy items from the camp store without cash. We keep track of your purchases and then total it at the end of each session. You must pay the balance before you receive your paycheck and go for your day off. Payment will be accepted by cash, personal check, MasterCard, or Visa. You may authorize Camp Mohawk to deduct your store balance from your net earnings each pay period.

At the store, you can buy water, soft drinks, snacks, batteries, and insect repellent. From the office, you can buy postage stamps and phone cards.

How will I get paid?

You will be paid bi-weekly as per the terms of your individual contract. We use a system called Cards by Cliq. Paperwork will be sent to you prior to your arrival at camp. Mohawk will be unable to cash your check or provide any cash advances. You cannot charge cash to your store card.

When will my days off be?

Days off: With the exception of six staff who will be assigned to work changeover weekends (volunteers are solicited first), you may count on the following days off between each two-week session:

Friday, June 23, 1:00pm to Saturday, June 25, 1:00pm

Saturday, July 8, 11:15am to Sunday, July 10, 11:15am

Saturday, July 22, 11:15am to Sunday, July 24, 11:15am

Saturday, August 5, 11:15am to Sunday, August 72, 11:15am

An additional day off during each two-week session will be scheduled by Patrick.

What can I do on my day off?

We will provide transportation to Torrington in the evening for mid session days off and during the day for changeover days off. There is a movie theater and shopping in the center of Torrington which is within walking distance from the drop off point. There are a variety of places to eat from fast food to pizza or something more sophisticated if you prefer! There is also a park and a library.

When there has been enough interest in the past, we have also arranged buses to take the staff to an amusement park.

What other free time will I have?

On most days, you will have 1 period off, allowing a one hour break during the day. You will have additional time off during siesta, after dinner and between 10 and 11:30pm on a rotating basis.

What can I do in my free time?

You cannot travel off site. There are plenty on things to do at camp: hang out in the staff lounge, play ping pong or darts, watch TV or a movie, play sports, or sun bathe. The most popular way to spend free time is taking a shower and sleeping!

What should I pack?

You will definitely need some cold weather clothes, as camp can be a bit chilly at night or after rain. Bring a rain jacket, as we usually get thunderstorms after several days of heat and humidity. You will want a couple of towels, and extra if you are a lifeguard. Bring an appropriate swim suit, 1 or 2 piece is fine.

Do not bring your best clothes as everyday clothes as they will get ruined. You should bring ‘nice’ clothes for your days off, the dance, and banquet.

Label everything, because there are 70 other staff using the same laundry facility as you who will have clothes that look very similar!

You will need a pair of sneakers/trainers/crocs. Flip flops/sandals are only permitted from your cabin to the Lighthouse (bathrooms) and at the waterfront. They are not appropriate footwear for the camp environment.

Special event clothes: Keep checking our Theme Night schedule. We will be posting a list of possible special days (funky socks day, crazy hair day etc.) so you have an idea of the schedule.

Bedding: If you are flying to camp, we will provide you with sheets, pillow, and blanket. If you are traveling to camp any other way, you are responsible for your own bedding.

We will provide you with a staff t-shirt that must be worn on the opening and closing days of each session. For the rest of the time, most staff prefer to wear tank tops or t-shirts with shorts. Please do not bring any clothes that display inappropriate graphics or text (such as ‘girls pro mud wrestling’ etc. and including French Connection apparel).

How can I keep my belongings secure?

We suggest leaving anything of high value at home. If you are bringing items that you are concerned about, purchase a small padlock that will fit through the zippers on your back pack or suitcase.

What access do I have to electrical outlets?

All cabins have at least one outlet. Please limit the number of electrical items you bring to camp. Do not bring fans and other high voltage equipment! If you are from overseas, please check that your charging units are multi voltage and will work on 110v.

What else should I know?

In the past, our counselors from countries like Scotland and Ireland have told us that they were not expecting the heat to have such an impact on them. Some days are very hot and humid, so you should think about a high factor sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses to protect you and a water bottle to keep you hydrated.

European counselors seem to be particularly prone to insect bites. Camp is buggy, and you will be grateful for some insect repellent. It’s best to buy one here as it is designed for the type of bugs that are common to the area.

Still have questions?

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Social Security Application – IMPORTANT FOR INTERNATIONAL STAFF: All International staff must apply for a Social Security Card. We will provide you with the application with your hiring paperwork with instructions. We schedule an appointment during the week of staff training for all of our staff to apply in person.

Notes relating to the part of your job as Activity Instructor:

1. All staff employed as Cabin Counselor/Activity Instructor as stated in your Agreement of Employment will instruct three out of four classes a day, Monday through Friday.

2. A number of staff will be asked to instruct four classes each weekday and given an additional hour off (Optional Rec).

3. If you have indicated “Able To Lead” or listed a “#1” next to an activity on your application, it is likely that you will be assigned to teach this activity for at least one period a day and you may be the sole instructor for that activity. You may even teach this activity all three periods. If you are not teaching your number one skill, you will be assigned to classes based on the level of expertise you have listed on your application.

4. Each activity instructor is required to prepare lesson plans for their classes. We use a standard form to make planning the activity easier. For returning staff these lesson plans will need to be completed and submitted to Jo prior to Staff Training. New staff will be writing their lesson plans during Staff Training.

Activity Lesson Plan

5. Activity instructors need to prepare plans for rainy days and for days when adaptations are required due to extreme heat.

6. We do expect that classes will be well planned, progressive in nature in order to meet the needs of campers who have previously taken that class, age appropriate, challenging, safely conducted, and fun. Activity instructors are expected to be involved with the classes, not sitting on the sidelines. Our goal is for each participant to feel that her time has been well spent in your class, that she has increased her personal proficiency in that particular activity, that she has enjoyed learning from an excellent role model, and that she be eager to return to class the next day.

Notes relating to Optional Rec:

Optional Rec is available from 4 to 5pm Monday through Saturday, and 12 to 5 pm on Sundays.

During optional rec, staff are assigned to various areas of camp to supervise campers or to provide an activity. All lifeguards and other staff who have demonstrated a proficiency in swimming or boating are usually assigned to the waterfront. Other staff are asked to run “Specials”. These are activities that you prepare and offer to campers that are not offered during the activity classes. Some examples include a session in Irish step dancing, a frog hunt, or a tetherball tournament. Other staff are assigned to be ODs (Officer of the Day) in each Unit to supervise campers who stay in their cabins. Some staff will be assigned to prepare a one hour crafts program. Riding staff may be assigned to the stables for this time period depending on the number of lessons being taught that week. There are also staff assigned to play recreational sports, tennis and supervise farm activities.

Noteworthy Information:

Tattoos and body piercing: Hopefully, you have read the Staff Policy that accompanied your Agreement of Employment and noted the section relating to tattoos and body piercing. If you have any question whatsoever about the acceptability of a tattoo, please contact Amanda Ryanimmediately at amanda@campmohawk.org

Do not arrive at camp with any body piercing other than ears, nose stud, and/or belly button. If you do arrive with a nose ring, tongue ring, eyebrow stud, or inappropriate tattoo, your relationship with Mohawk will be immediately terminated.

Alcohol: Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by any individual under the age of 21 is against the laws of the State of CT and the policies of YMCA Camp Mohawk. Please familiarize yourself with the section of the Staff Policy that explains our position at it relates to alcohol. We are aware that many of you are from countries where it is legal to consume alcohol younger than age 21. If you are under the age of 21, we ask that you conduct a personal evaluation and honestly determine if you can abide by our local laws and policies. Better to decide now that you will have difficulty with this issue and seek another place of employment than end up being prosecuted by authorities for underage drinking or having your visa revoked.

Cell Phones: We have excellent service on Verizon and ATT phones, but poor service on other networks including Sprint and T-Mobile. There are outlets in each cabin that will allow you to charge your phone.

Laptop Computers: We provide wireless internet service both inside the staff lounge and within 25 feet of the building so you can use your laptop at a nearby picnic table.

A personal note from Patrick: Many of you are traveling from overseas to experience the culture of the USA. You will discover that allegiance to a particular sports team is a large part of daily life for many folks. During the summer, the only sport that really matters is baseball – and Camp Mohawk is Red Sox territory. When you arrive in New York, you will be besieged with all sorts of New York Yankee images – signs, hats, t-shirts, etc. Don’t be taken in by this inferior team to our south. If you’re planning to buy a hat for the summer, why not support a true championship team – the Boston Red Sox.