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Why Work at a Midwest Summer Camp?

Sick of working the same meaningless job every summer? You’re in luck! Working at camp in the Midwest is one of the most rewarding summer jobs imaginable. The impact you have on campers reflects on you and your character and the friends you make will last a lifetime.

When you work at Camp Kupugani, you’ll have the best summer of your life! Each summer, we ask potential summer staff, “Why do you want to work at camp?” The answers are generally focused on “impacting the lives of kids” or “I want to do something different this summer.” No one says, “Because I need to make a lot of money.”

Although we have a very competitive payscale (and are very transparent about our pay policies) camp isn’t about what you put in your bank account at the end of the summer; it’s about what you put into your mind and your soul. Working at camp is about personal growth and development, quality relationships, camp community, excellence in a job well done, and most of all, the most fun you can have in a summer! No matter what camp you choose, you should feel that the camp is a good “fit” for you (and consider working at a camp that is accredited by the American Camp Association).

If you love being with children, being a mentor, acting goofy most of the time yet knowing when to be serious, enjoying the outdoors, making amazing friendships, and most of all being able to walk away at the end of summer saying, “How do I get to be on staff again next year?” camp is for you!

Pyramid of Camp Kupugani counselors

Job Descriptions

Click on a job listed below to see its short description. For full job descriptions, please check our employment opportunities page or e-mail kupugani@gmail.com.

Why Work at Camp Kupugani?

The relationships that you make at camp are amazing. Not only will you meet fantastic, diverse campers, but you’ll meet fun, vibrant, spirited staff also. After working at camp, you’ll walk away with a deeper sense of self and appreciate the impact that you had on a young child’s life. Once you work at camp, you’ll never want to go back to anything else. The magic of camp is contagious!

Personal Development and Empowerment: The Benefits

Staff members receive a competitive salary, plus room and board. While at camp, you gain experience in working with a varied group of children and adults. Living and working in a supportive camp environment will leave you with an irreplaceable sense of community.

Staff members take part in a skill-enhancing training period. During this time, you are educated about child issues, coached on conflict resolution and team building techniques, and taught time-management and communication skills. Camp provides many opportunities to develop leadership skills. All of these skills can be used outside of camp and make you more marketable no matter what career you choose.  Here’s a link with more on the empowerment and resume building that camp enables!

Community: Who We Are

Since 1951, Camp White Eagle has provided for children a secure summer camp environment that encourages the discovery of self and a sense of wonder in the natural world. We continue to help children build a sound foundation in the art of harmonious living, skill training, and enjoying rewarding, educational, and fun experiences. As part of the camp community, staff members establish quality relationships with each other during camp, and are also able to spend limited time-off together (occasional evenings, when not on duty, or on designated time off). On their time off, groups of staff sometimes organize trips to Freeport, Rockford, Chicago, and Madison, Wisconsin, to enjoy shopping, restaurants, outdoor activities, and movie theaters.

Excellence: Who We Hire

We receive a large number of applications and are very selective in our hiring process; even more selective than Ivy League universities! Our staff members must have a strong desire to work with children. They should also be willing and able to spend months away from home in an outdoor environment, and be prepared to live with little privacy. The majority of our staff members are certified in CPR and First Aid.

Overall, we are looking for energetic people who are willing to challenge themselves while supporting our mission of empowering varied groups of people via enhancing their communication skills and engaging in community building. Staff members serve as positive role models for children of all ages and must take that responsibility seriously.

Fun: Camp Life

Working at camp is a blast! Our program is based on helping campers maximize their potential and having a great time while doing it. The emphasis is on providing an environment full of positive, fun energy. You also get a chance to unplug! Because the whole point of our camp is to enjoy nature, facilitate communication, and empower both staff and children by developing those skills.

You get to put away your smart phones, iPads, and iPods (except for days off), since they greatly diminish interpersonal interaction. A recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that children today are plugged into some kind of electronic medium almost eight hours a day–“more than many full-time jobs, and more time than they spend doing anything else besides sleeping.” Recent research suggests that limiting electronics can improve cognitive abilities, social skills, and resistance to negative stresses and depression.


Safety is our top priority for everyone in our camp family; campers and staff alike. As an ACA-accredited camp, we comply with ACA standards for certification, as well as state and county health and safety regulations. We ensure the physical and psychological safety of campers and staff by providing safe and health-promoting facilities, and practices that increase safe peer group interaction and decrease confrontational peer interactions. Beginning with our Camp Directors, Natasha and Kevin, we model behaviors that accept and affirm all.


The camp is located in Illinois’s beautiful northwestern country, just over 100 miles west of Chicago. The camp borders the Leaf River, which winds through the camp, supplying a peaceful soundtrack to camp life. The 5-acre lake is surrounded by gorgeous cedar, red oak, hickory and walnut trees. The city of Rockford is a mere 30 miles away, offering conveniences such as shopping malls, movie theaters, and numerous restaurants. Check out our Interactive Camp Map to get an overview of camp.

Kupugani touches on all the core values and enrichment that we hope to instill in our [child]. My husband and I absolutely love Camp Kupugani. Our [child] gained immensely from camp.

Lisa G.

Everyone…was just so, so personable, kind, and the kind of person I want
my [child] looking up to and spending time with.

Laura V.

[My daughter’s] face lights up when she speaks about camp, it’s a priceless experience.

Kenya P.

I have never come in contact with such a wonderful group of people at a camp before. Everyone did an outstanding job, the camp was so organized, it was unbelievable.

Joe M.

She absolutely loves the camp, the staff, and all the friends she makes there. I consider Kupugani to be a big influence in helping her grow and expand her mind each summer.

Luci A.


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