Our staff enjoy living life on top of the mountain. We have a small staff team, about 45 people, and because of this, counselors generally become very close with one another by the end of the summer.
Watia’s staff team works hard every day to make sure that children have the opportunity to have great experience and are cared for and attended to while at camp. This experience is for people who deeply care about the experience as well as health and safety of campers.
Working at camp is a Sunday-Friday job and in some cases, Sunday to Sunday. These days can be physically and emotionally demanding of counselors, so the ability to handle these situations is a must.
Despite this, the work you do will be some of the most fun you’ve ever had and will be infinitely rewarding. Each counselor is paired with at least one other counselor to work with in the same cabin for the majority of the summer. Together you’ll lead campers through activities like archery, swimming, arts and crafts, and more.
|A day in the life
|Wake up for Morning Mayhem time
|Flag raising: Attendance for cabins
|Cabin activities 1-3: Traditional activities led by counselors for their cabin
|Rest period called “Feet on Bunks” or FOB
|Choice activities 1-2: Activities that campers sign up for on the first night of the week, these groups are coed and based on the interests of the campers. You as a counselor have the chance to lead activities that interest you.
|Flag lowering: Attendance after choice activities
|Free time: Chance to hang out around together and have unstructured play with your campers and others. You’ll play some games, and kids can come to and from activities.
|Evening activity: An activity that gets the whole camp involved. You’ll have a different role with each day and each week. This will bring everyone together to have fun at the same time.
|Snack to hold us over until morning.
|Shower and Embers: From youngest to oldest cabins, the shower houses are used before bed each night. While cabins wait for the showers or return from them, counselors will take time to hear about each camper’s day, talk with the cabinmates, and guide them through a reflection of the day or week.
“Embers” refers to the late-night time when a fire might be left with just coals. We find that on camping trips this is when people feel compelled to have heart-to-hearts, so we dedicate a time in our day to reflect and share with each other.
If not scheduled to work the weekend, camp staff will have Friday night, Saturday, and early Sunday morning off. During off days counselors can leave camp. They will still have access to their cabins and camp facilities.
Additionally, while campers are on-site, staff will have two nights off per week and one rest period off. We require these times to be taken while remaining at camp.
Typically, you can find counselors exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or other natural features nearby. Staff sometimes spend time in the nearby cities of Asheville, Knoxville, Charlotte, and Atlanta.
Camp Staff FAQ
YMCA Camp Watia is near Bryson City, North Carolina.
This will depend on your camp role, but anywhere from May 22-31.
Pay varies based on what position you're in and what certifications you have.
Graduated from high school or age 18, whatever comes first.
Late May to mid-August.
If not scheduled to work the weekend, camp staff will have Friday night, Saturday, and early Sunday morning off. During off days counselors can leave camp though they will still have access to their cabins, and camp facilities. Additionally, while campers are on-site, staff will have two nights off per week and one rest period off. We require these times to be taken while remaining at camp.
We've been known to have great food over the years. Our cooks are great at any dietary needs. Staff are also allowed to buy their own snacks for their off time, but cannot eat it in front of campers.
The YMCA of Western North Carolina and YMCA Camp Watia are committed to strengthening the foundations of community through programs that support youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Our programs nurture the greatness in every child, promote well-being throughout the community, and give back to our neighbors in need. All of this work is rooted in our four core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.
We personify our Christian principles through our core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. We are an open and affirming association respectful of all people. We are striving to become an anti-racist, multicultural organization and are creating safe and welcoming environments where everyone feels welcomed.
Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. It guides us in all we do and compels us to embrace, reflect, and celebrate the richness of diversity within each other and our community. We invite, welcome and involve everyone to work side by side with us to further our cause.
You are allowed to have your phone on you during work hours, but you can only use it for emergencies. We ask our campers to leave all technology at home, and it’s only fair that we not use it in front of them. You are allowed to use it as much as you want during your scheduled off time or on the weekends.
We hire about 30-40 program staff and additional staff for kitchen and maintenance.