The staff become so close-knit and within a week of camp you've got at least 60 new mates. That in itself is exciting.Karina B., Specialist, Australia
Hired Staff Info
Questions? We have answers!
We hope that you are as excited as we are about this summer. We hope this guide will help you plan for the summer. There is a lot of important information contained below. Please take the time to read through this. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, just send us an email.
Staff often ask us what they should do to prepare for camp. We suggest reading the following information, getting lots of sleep, thinking about fun things you can do with the kids at camp, and getting even more sleep. We’ll cover the rest during staff training.
We look forward to working with you this summer!
Staff arrive at camp on a variety of dates. By staggering start dates, we are able to tailor training specifically to your job responsibilities.
Supervisory Staff: June 2
Specialists, Kitchen Staff and Janitorial Staff: Please refer to your contract for exact starting date.
Aquatics, Horseback & Ropes Staff: June 5
All Other Specialists, Photographers, Office & Canteen Staff: June 9
Counselors: June 13
Support Staff: Various
Of course there are a lot of exceptions to these dates. Double-check your contract to find out when your work period begins.
We would like to know as soon as possible how you’ll be traveling to camp and when you’ll be arriving. Let us know your travel plans right away by completing either the Staff Travel Form or the Junior Staff Travel Form in CampInTouch. We need this form from all staff members even if you are sure that we know how you are getting to camp.
Most American staff drive to camp. Camp Chi is located just outside of the Wisconsin Dells. For safety reasons, we don’t post directions on our website. If you need driving directions, please email us. Do not trust Google maps or your GPS; these services do not give accurate directions to Camp Chi.
If you are taking the bus or train, there are some great deals out there, but some of the rides can be very long. There are two bus stations near camp. You can take Greyhound to the Wisconsin Dells Bus Stop or the Van Galder Lines to Madison’s Dutch Mill Park & Ride. For those who prefer to travel by train, you should take the train to the Wisconsin Dells Train Station. If you let us know what time you will be arriving, we will arrange for you to be picked up at any of these bus or train stations on the day your contract begins.
Many staff choose to fly to either Chicago’s O’Hare Airport or Madison/Dane County Airport. We ask that if you are flying to Chicago, please arrive by 2:00pm or to Madison by 5:00pm. This allows us to pick you up and get you to camp by dinner time. At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, please meet Chi staff at the baggage claim area of Terminal 3 near door 3A. If you are flying to Madison, we will make arrangements with you about a meeting place. If, for some reason, we are unable to pick you up at O’Hare because of unusual travel plans, we will help you arrange for a shuttle bus to Madison.
Some staff arrive in Chicago before their contracted start date. This is a great way to ditch your jet lag and do some sightseeing before camp begins. If you decide to do this, you will need to make your own overnight accommodations in Chicago. You will then follow the instructions above regarding meeting us at O’Hare on your contracted start date.
If you have any problems finding us, you can call us toll free on a staff arrival day at 866.239.5599.
Some staff coming from outside North America will have travel arrangements coordinated with your sponsoring agency.
If you have any questions about travel to camp, please email us.
Mail is delivered to camp on a daily basis and sorted by the Office Staff for you.
P.O. Box 104
Lake Delton, WI 53940
Lake Delton, WI 53940
Many staff will bring their own cell phones to camp for ease of communication with home. We do permit staff to have cell phones, but they can only be used during free time and are prohibited from being used in the presence of campers. We recommend that staff coming from outside the United States purchase a sim card or cell phone when they arrive at camp. Please plan on not having a phone for at least a week from the time of your arrival as it will take a few days to arrange for purchase.
Incoming calls are accepted by the Main Office at 847.763.3551 where staff will take messages for you to return during your free time. There are no payphones located at camp and our office does not provide a private place for returning calls. The best plan is to have your own cell phone.
We know how important it is for you to communicate with family and friends who are not at camp. Therefore, we have a computer room for staff to use to send and receive emails. Staff can use the computer room throughout the day during their free time. There is no charge for this service. We also have wireless access near the main office if you chose to bring a laptop or tablet to camp. Staff can use Skype, but, at times, access will be limited based upon our Internet bandwidth capability.
All staff working at camp must have a medical form signed by a licensed doctor. You can access the medical form in your CampInTouch account. For international staff, we will accept your sponsoring agency’s medical form. We need your medical forms before you start employment. You cannot start your job without us having this form.
Please remember to attach a copy of your health insurance card to this form. International staff members will have their insurance arranged through their sponsoring agency. All staff must have proof of medical insurance.
We need copies of all of your current certificates for CPR, First Aid, LGT, WSI, WFA, etc. Please make sure to bring copies of these certificates with you to camp (or you can email them to us before) so we can add them to your file. For those of you without certifications, we strongly suggest that you become certified in CPR before coming to camp. You will feel more confident working with children if you have this skill.
There is a lot of paperwork to complete before getting to camp. All the forms that you need to complete, except for your work agreement, are online in your CampInTouch account. Once you log on to CampInTouch, please select the “Forms and Documents” link to find the forms. Please pay close attention to which forms you need to complete based on where you live and if you are a new or returning staff member. We must receive your forms by May 1. Delay is turning in your paperwork could result in your paycheck being delayed. If you have any questions regarding forms, please email us.
Your housing depends on the job that you are doing. You will find out your housing for the first session when you arrive at camp. Camp Chi is very “campy” with traditional, rustic camp housing. Almost all staff share rooms with at least 2 other people. Counselors and most specialists share rooms inside camper cabins. Kitchen staff, housekeeping staff, and some specialists will stay in staff cabins with 10-12 other people. Most supervisory staff live in small huts near the camper cabins. Whether in a camper cabin, staff cabin, or a hut, all of the cabins are wooden buildings with electricity, bunk beds, and shelves for your belongings. Bathrooms with toilet stalls, sinks, and individual showers are located nearby. Most nurses, married staff, and some supervisory staff will live in Squirrel Hill, an area of camp designated for staff housing.
Camp Chi has a Health Center which is staffed by nurses and a visiting physician. The Health Center provides basic health care for staff, initial doses of over-the-counter medications, and can make referrals to local clinics and hospitals if a need arises. The Health Center stocks basic over-the-counter medications and also stores all personal prescription medication brought to camp by campers and staff. For the safety of our campers and staff, absolutely no medications can be kept in the cabins. All medications must be stored in the Health Center. This includes over-the-counter and prescription medications and vitamins. Exceptions can be made for certain topical ointments, Epi-pens, and inhalers. We will discuss the details of this policy with you during Staff Training.
Owned and operated by the Jewish Community Centers Chicago, Camp Chi is Jewish camp which serves mostly Jewish kids. Jewish values and ideals are incorporated into camp programming. We recognize that our staff are incredibly diverse and come from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds. We strive to make Camp Chi a place where everyone can feel comfortable and learn something new. We will spend time during staff training talking about Jewish life at camp, our core values of respect, kindness, and community, and our Israel engagement programs.
Social Security Numbers
We will assist all international staff with obtaining a social security number. DO NOT apply for your social security number when you are at CCUSA, Camp Leaders or InterExchange orientations or pre-camp meetings. This will cause problems, delay our ability to pay you, and possibly create employment conflicts. All international staff MUST complete their social security forms while at camp.
Medical Forms & Background Checks
International staff must bring their completed medical forms and background checks to camp (or provide them to us ahead of time). We must also obtain a copy of your visa. We need all of these documents in order to provide you with a paycheck. You will also need to bring to camp your passport, I-94 documentation, and DS-2019. If you do not have these items with you at camp, there will be employment problems that may result in your return home.
U.S. State Department Regulations
We expect international staff to comply with all requirements of their visas. This may include verifying arrival at camp and subsequent confirmations of employment within specified time periods. Please watch for announcements and information from CCUSA, Camp Leaders, InterExchange or the Jewish Agency about these requirements.
Working at Chi from an International Perspective
An Australian Tennis Specialist from 2007 wrote a great essay about what it is like to work at Camp Chi. Please take a few minutes and read it here.
If you are Canadian or an international staff member not hired through an agency, please submit your visa and background check forms as soon as possible. We must have this information to secure your visa. If you have questions about this, please email us.
Paychecks are distributed every two weeks by your supervisor. These checks can be cashed at the local bank in town for a small fee (assessed by the bank). We do not have cash at camp so we are unable to cash your checks or provide for payroll advances.
We believe that staff need sufficient breaks and time off to be able to perform at their best. There are many details about time off that we will review with you during staff training. In general, staff receive one day off each week when the campers are at camp. This amounts to 6 total days off for most staff during the typical Chi season. In addition, when staff are not on-duty at night and their responsibilities are finished for the day, they will receive additional evening time off. (The night-off policy is different for Junior Staff and those staff under 18 years-old.) Also, except on unusual days, all staff receive some free time during the day when they can take a break, go for a jog, check email, etc.
Your days off are assigned by your supervisor once you arrive at camp. DO NOT make arrangements to attend concerts, baseball games, or other commitments prior to day off assignments. There are no guarantees that you will be able to get these days off.
For staff needing to attend college orientation during the summer, please consult with Brad prior to committing to orientation dates.
Camp Chi is located in a great area in Wisconsin. Camp is about 40 minutes north of Madison, Wisconsin, one of the largest university towns in the United States and Wisconsin’s capitol. Just outside of camp is the Wisconsin Dells, a family tourist destination with water parks, movie theaters and restaurants. There will be plenty of ways for staff to relax during their time off. In addition, we will provide Staff Recreation opportunities in camp, such as basketball tournaments, movie nights, staff parties, staff intramurals, and more.
Camp Chi is a casual camp. We suggest bringing comfortable, summer clothing that can get dirty. Most staff will wear shorts and t-shirts every day. We do not have a dress code, but we will provide you with a staff shirt when you arrive at camp. In the beginning of the summer and sometimes at night, it can be quite chilly. We suggest making sure to have some warmer clothes as well. Staff do not need to bring a sleeping bag with them to camp. Please check out the Suggested Packing List for assistance.
Staff working in the kitchen, ropes course, athletics and horseback riding must have closed-toed shoes. We suggest that aquatics staff wear one-piece bathing suits, but it is okay for staff to wear two-piece suits as long as they are not revealing.
Staff from the United States and Canada must bring their own sheets, pillows, and blankets. Regular, twin-sized bedding will work for most camp beds except in Squirrel Hill housing. We will provide sheets, pillow cases, pillow and blanket to all staff coming from outside of North America.
There is a laundromat near camp where staff can do their laundry during their time off. Laundry service is not provided by camp or at camp.
Don’t worry if you forget something. There is a Super Walmart nearby.
To work at Camp Chi, all staff must agree to and sign the Camp Chi Code of Honor. This document outlines the behavior that is expected of all staff members. By following these guidelines and rules, Camp Chi is a safe community where children’s interests are put first. We will discuss these policies, rules, and guidelines in more detail during staff training.
Please note: Camp Chi is a non-smoking facility. Smoking is not allowed in camp or the area immediately surrounding camp; it is a bad habit to model for our campers, it harms other people, and is a hazard in the woods. We suggest that you quit smoking prior to arriving at camp as there will be no place for smoking or time given for smoking breaks.
We also want to be clear that alcohol and controlled substances must be totally absent from camp. We expect all of our staff to conduct themselves in a lawful manner. If you are unable to abide by these policies or anything described in the Code of Honor, please contact us immediately.
Managing Your Information
As soon as possible, we suggest that you evaluate your profiles on social network sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Considering the popularity of these types of websites, please assume that campers and campers’ parents are viewing them. (They will and we do, too.) Please make any changes necessary to portray an appropriate image to parents. This includes deleting or eliminating:
- Photos and any references that would not be deemed “wholesome” and camp-appropriate.
- Any mention or photography of Camp Chi that is not consistent with the philosophy or goals of camp.
We strongly suggest and encourage you to make your Facebook profile, Twitter feed and Snapchat account private so they cannot be viewed by campers and parents as soon as possible. In addition, we strongly discourage staff from being “friends” with campers on any of these sites. If you are friends with campers on Facebook, please arrange your preferences so campers cannot see your wall, post on your wall, view your photos, or view photos where you are tagged. (On Facebook, you may need to set them up as a list and the limit access to those on the list. If you need help with this, just email us for directions.) During staff training, we will review our policies regarding online profiles, posting pictures, and online communication with campers, but you should have your privacy settings arranged before then. Please understand that your behavior online reflects upon Camp Chi. Your online activity, if deemed inappropriate, could lead to the termination of your employment even before camp begins.
Connecting with Camp & Staff
We hope that you will stay up-to-date on the latest news by joining our social networks and reading our updates.
Winkle’s Blog: campchi.com/blog
All staff, except Junior Staff and those under 18 years-old, are permitted to bring cars to camp. These cars are the staff member’s responsibility and must be kept in the staff parking lot. Please be aware that we have limited space in the parking lot.
At times during the summer, you may want to have someone visit you at camp. Visitors are free to meet you at the Main Office, but are not allowed in camp without prior approval of one of the camp directors. If you are considering having family or friends visit you at camp, please schedule these visits during your days off.
Staff are permitted to leave camp on the day their contracts end AFTER all work has been completed. For staff leaving camp on the last day of camp or the last day of Koolanu Family Camp, we will provide a bus ride to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. This bus generally does not depart until after 2:00pm. If you are going to arrange a flight for either of those days, please DO NOT book a flight until after 8:00pm. We suggest spending the night in Chicago and flying the next day whenever possible.
We will be able to assist staff with rides to nearby bus terminals and train stations for other dates.
Staff, including Junior Counselors, should not assume that they will be able to get rides to Minneapolis, St. Paul, or Chicago on the camper buses. There is extremely limited space on these buses. We suggest making alternative travel arrangements.
JCC Chicago also operates a retreat center right next to camp called Perlstein. Perlstein is part of Camp Chi and we share staff and facilities. At times during the summer, your responsibilities may include helping out with programs at Perlstein or leading activities for guests there. We view this as part of your job responsibilities. If you have questions about Perlstein, please visit perlsteinresort.com.
There are a few great ways to earn extra money by adding additional time to your work at Camp Chi. After the campers go home in August, Camp Chi and Perlstein Retreat Center host August Family Camp and Koolanu Orthodox Family Camp. Staff are needed to work with children and families during this awesome family camp.
At the end of the summer, we also offer a special program for first time campers called “Try Chi”. Campers get to “try out” overnight camp for 4 days. We will need staff to work as counselors for this program. Even if you are working as a specialist during the regular camp season, you can be a cabin counselor at Try Chi.
Many of you have already indicated your interest to work Family Camps and Try Chi through your contracts. If you are interested in working any of these programs and have not notified us, please email us as soon as possible.
Blass Lake: The lake that camp is located on and where you can find the Cove and Bay activity areas.
Boker-Tov: Hebrew for good morning.
Cabin Time: Activity period during the day where campers and counselors participate in programs together. These activities may be run by specialists or implemented by counselors.
Canteen: Store open for campers and staff features snacks, Chi clothing, postage, stationary, etc.
Chi Burning: The closing program on the final night of camp.
Chi Winkle: A very old Camp Chi caretaker who lives in the woods. Visits us at Chi Burning. He also maintains Winkle’s Blog.
Cove: Location of camp’s waterfront and is home of boating program.
Franteen: Second canteen filled with snacks and drinks located by the tennis courts.
Havdallah: A closing service to Shabbat (Saturday night).
Laila-Tov: Hebrew for good night.
Lake Delton: Location where Camp Chi owns property for water-skiing.
Menucha: Hebrew for rest and the name of Rest Hour at camp.
Ravine: Runs between camp and Perlstein from Blass Lake to beyond camp property.
Shabbat: Sabbath which takes place Friday evening and lasts until Saturday night.
Specialty: Choice activities that campers attend for five days.
Staff Lounge: Space for staff to hang out and relax during free time. Features TV & DVD player, ping-pong, and pop machines.
Village: Refers to camper age groups and where they live.