Staff FAQs

girl looking at a crustacean with a staff member.

JCA staff not only make the difference in children’s lives by creating camp magic, they experience the camp magic! With a staff of over 100 fantastic people, we aim to bolster a jewish community where children are safe and encouraged to expand their horizons to all that camp has to offer. Our counselors one of our most important ingredients to a successful camp experience. At JCA, the staff experience is just as meaningful as the camper experience.

Where is the camp located?

Camp JCA Shalom has a beautiful, yet rustic setting on 220 acres in the Malibu Mountains.

In 2018 our Malibu property was destroyed by the Woolsey Fire. We are in the process of recovery and rebuild and hope to be in Malibu as soon as we can.

For Summer 2024, we are excited to return to our home away from home, the beautiful 270 acre campus in the Angeles National Forest, just minutes from Los Angeles.

What does the application process entail?

Applying to work at Camp JCA shalom includes an online application, interview, references, and a background check. You can find our application here.  After submitting your application, we will schedule an interview with you.  Applicants who have received summer positions, will have to fill out some forms, including health forms, tax forms and our Anti-Bullying agreement.

Where will I live?

With the exception of camp supervisors, some specialists, and other support staff almost all staff live in cabins with campers.  We are looking for staff people who want to spend time with campers and see this as a positive rather than a negative.

When will I get time off during the summer?

Each staff member usually receives one period off per day. Also, after the campers are safe and sound in their bunks, and you are not assigned shmira (evening supervision), staff may have some down time. Friday nights we have an all-staff oneg for Shabbat.  Staff will receive 1 day (24 hours) off every 7-11 days during the summer. Staff will have several days to choose from each month however, only so many people can sign up for each day off based upon the unit size and schedule. Staff must plan days off that do not conflict with the programmatic needs of the camp. Specialists, because of the nature of the program will be given specific days that must be taken off.

Will I have internet access at camp?

While we maintain a technology-free environment for the campers, during your time off you will have access to the staff lounge which has internet access.  This system is reliable but can be overwhelmed if too many people use it at once.

I have a special diet, can the camp accommodate that?

Camp can accommodate most diets.  It is important that you discuss your dietary needs before you arrive to camp.  Camp is a nut-free environment, that regularly provides vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free options.

What are the JCC Camps all about?

JCC camping is a defining experience for hundreds of thousands of kids all over the world. The day and resident camps affiliated with JCC Association represent the largest network of Jewish camps in North America. Serving thousands of Jewish children, teens and staff members on more than 150 sites, JCC camps share a commitment to provide the highest quality camping experiences within unique Jewish environments. JCC camps dot the landscape of North American Jewish communities, and their programs, size, specialties and facilities reflect the JCC Movement’s diversity and their own organization’s mission.

Who are the staff and where do they come from?

Among our staff of over 100, there is a high percentage of returning staff who cannot seem to get enough of Camp JCA Shalom. They are a valuable resource for the new staff members we hire every year. Our staff is very diverse — they are drawn from a variety of different areas across the United States and from around the world. You will work with some really great people who have a wide range of interests and personalities.

What can I do out of camp on my time off?

We are located just minutes away from Los Angeles. You will also find that many of our local staff members are happy to host our out-of-towners and will often visit our local beaches, or do outdoorsy things like hiking or biking.  You might even get a chance to try surfing or skydiving.

What is there to do in camp during my time off?

For those who prefer staying in camp, a Staff Lounge is available for day and evening use with recreational facilities, internet access, and sometimes refreshments. There are also frequent evening staff programs like barbecues, tournaments, crafts nights, and DJ parties. We recognize that we need to take care of you so you can be at your best when you take care of the campers.

What do you expect from the staff?

We expect a lot from every staff member.  Part of being a part of our staff team means having a strong work ethic, and being a positive role model to the campers.  Every staff person is expected to dedicate themselves to our core values.  Every job at Camp JCA Shalom is demanding.  While people with different jobs will have different responsibilities, everyone is considered an equal part of the staff team, with the ultimate goal of creating a rewarding and meaningful experience for the campers. The counselors and specialists live, eat, sleep, and play with kids all day long for seven full weeks. The support staff help make the daily camp operation run smoothly. Everyone is expected to work hard, have a good attitude, and make camp the best it can be.

What does staff orientation look like?

Staff orientation is an 8-day training that takes place immediately before the first campers arrive.  During that time period, staff members will learn the camp’s mission and philosophies, how the camp schedule works, and many of the basics necessary to succeed as a staff member.  There are several “bonding” programs as well including a hike to the beach from the camp and an overnight where we typically sleep on the beach in Malibu.  Rather than approaching our training in a formal educational setting, with lectures, speeches and demonstrations, we train our staff using experiential methods which are more engaging and participatory, and true to the camp spirit.  Our sessions are hands-on and include highlights such as our ropes course, and a parent panel where parents share what it’s like to send their child to camp.

When will I get paid?

Paydays are on the 15th and the last day of each month. But it depends on what session a person works and when their last day of working is.

Is tipping allowed?

Camp JCA Shalom has a strict no-tipping policy. This is because many of our children come on a scholarship and have limited financial means. We do not want one child to be given preferential treatment because of their ability to tip more than another. Instead, we encourage parents to recognize staff members by making a contribution to our scholarship fund in honor of those individuals.