Summer camp is an unforgettable experience for many children, filled with outdoor adventures, lasting friendships, and valuable life lessons. Behind these memorable moments are the dedicated camp counselors who work tirelessly to create a safe, fun, and nurturing environment for your child.
The 2023 summer camp season hasn't even started yet, but it's once it arrives, it'll be gone in a flash. And when the camp season comes to an end, you may wonder if tipping your camp counselor is the right way to show your appreciation for their efforts.
Tipping Culture and Camp Counselors
Tipping is a common practice in many service industries, such as restaurants, hotels, and taxis. However, tipping camp counselors is generally not as customary. In fact, many camps have specific policies in place regarding staff compensation and gratuities. Before deciding whether to tip your camp counselor, it's important to consider these two factors:
In this blog post, we will discuss the tipping culture and explore alternative ways t
1. Camp Policies
Many camps have strict guidelines when it comes to tipping their staff. Some camps include a service charge in your camp fees, which is then distributed among the counselors. Others may prohibit tipping altogether to promote fairness among the entire staff. Before you consider tipping your camp counselor, make sure to consult the camp's policies and follow their guidelines. It never hurts to ask the camp director what the camp's tipping policy is. This way you can be sure you are following all the guidelines.
2. Job Expectations and Compensation
Camp counselors are typically paid a salary or stipend for their work. Although they may not usually receive tips like other service industry workers, camp counselors are generally aware of their financial arrangements before accepting their positions, as it's usually clearly spelled out in their employment agreement with the camp. Therefore, tipping may not be necessary or expected, however, many parents and families want to show their gratitude to their child's camp counselors!
Alternatives to Tipping Your Camp Counselor
If the camp's policies don't allow tipping -- or you'd rather show your appreciation in other ways -- here are some alternative ideas to consider.
Write a heartfelt letter or note
Expressing your gratitude through a thoughtful, handwritten letter is a powerful and lasting gesture. Share specific examples of how your camp counselor impacted your child's experience, and thank them for their dedication and hard work. You can even have your child write a note as well!
Create a personalized gift
Consider making or purchasing a small, meaningful gift that captures the spirit of the camp experience. Custom photos, friendship bracelets, or a framed collage of camp memories will make every counselor happy!
Organize a group gift
If other parents are also interested in showing their appreciation, consider pooling resources to purchase a group gift. This could be a gift card to a popular restaurant, tickets to a local event, or a spa day to help them unwind after a busy camp season.
Provide a recommendation
A strong recommendation can go a long way in furthering a camp counselor's career. Offer to write a testimonial for the camp's website, or provide a reference for future job opportunities. Sending a letter to the camp director praising your child's camp counselor would be much appreciated by them both.
Final Verdict? Tip, or Don't Tip?
While tipping your camp counselor may not be customary or necessary, there are many other ways to express your gratitude for their hard work and dedication. Remember that a heartfelt note or thoughtful gift can have a lasting impact, and the most important thing is to show your appreciation in a genuine and meaningful way. But if tipping is your primary way of saying thanks, just make sure it's appropriate and within camp rules before doing so.
Blog posts by Cora Carter of L.A. Summer Camps.com