YMCA Camp Pepin/Red Wing YMCA

About YMCA Camp Pepin/Red Wing YMCA

We are searching for young adults who have a passion for improving the lives of those around them, and would work to make each summer the BEST SUMMER EVER for each individual camper. Our counselors work as a team to teach, mentor, entertain, and supervise our campers to make sure that all campers leave safe, exhausted, and educated. That being said, we know that you have many options when it comes to summer jobs. With all of those opportunities available, why should you work with Camp Pepin? Well, I’m glad you asked!

At first glance, working as a camp counselor may not seem like a rewarding or worthwhile job. However, anyone who has worked as a counselor will tell you that it can be a life changing experience, and provides some serious experience building practical, real-world skills.

Regardless of the field you are looking to get into, working as a camp counselor can help to prepare you, and provides experiences you will draw on throughout your career. As a staff member, you will gain valuable experiences with:
• Teamwork and collaboration
• Time management and organization
• Leadership, mentorship, and coaching
• Communication skills
• Youth development and instruction
• Risk management and safety protocols
• Customer service
• Critical thinking and problem solving
• Artistic expression and creativity
• First Aid/CPR and Lifeguarding certifications
• Sailing and/or climbing instructor certification
• And MUCH more!

Additionally, we are eager to work to develop and create internship opportunities for our staff, which can result in work experience or credit hours. These internships can fall under many different areas of study - from education and youth development, to business and marketing, or engineering and construction, and more. We are more than willing to work with you and your campus advisor to develop a plan for an internship here at Camp Pepin.

Working as a camp counselor is different than other jobs, because of its positive impact on your personal life, as well.
• Learn to be more comfortable in your own skin, as you are accepted for who you truly are – away from all of the influences from the outside world.
• Gain confidence in yourself by being able to identify your strengths, and grow as you identify your weaknesses and grow in those areas.
• Make some of the greatest friends you’ll ever have. As a staff, you support each other each and every day, and quickly become close -
and in many ways, a family.
• Experience leadership and what it’s like to be relied on and looked up to by others.
• Experience independence and what it’s like to live on your own among your peers - a perfect practice run before heading to college or moving out.
• Although it can be hard and exhausting work, it will also be the most fun you’ve ever had at a job.
• There are proven mental health benefits of spending time in a beautiful, natural setting.

• Be prepared and supported by your leadership team - before, during, and after the summer.
• Work closely with 1-2 other co-counselors to lead a cabin of 8-12 campers.
• Plan and lead all-camp activities like songs, games, and camp-fires.
• Teach Skill Classes on topics you are interested in, experienced with and passionate about.
• Wear silly costumes, sing goofy songs, and perform corny skits - and have it be the norm.
• Try new activities, challenge yourself in countless ways, and discover new interests.
• Exemplify the core values of the YMCA – respect, responsibility, care for others, and honesty – in all you do.
• Be sleep deprived, sweaty, dirty - while having the time of your life.

LOCATION: YMCA Camp Pepin is located in between the small towns of Stockholm and Pepin, Wisconsin – on the shore of Lake Pepin. Despite its name, Lake Pepin is actually a widening of the Mississippi River. Camp is nestled among the bluffs of the Upper Mississippi corridor, and is the perfect place to spend the summer. The town of Red Wing is only about 35 minutes away, and has more than enough stores and businesses to fill any needs during the summer. With a 1.5- hour drive, you can get to many large cities, including Minneapolis/St. Paul, Rochester, Eau Claire, Winona, and more. At camp, we have 8 cabin buildings, a dining hall, a large 2 story lodge, a recreation hall, and an office building. In addition, we have a large athletic field, a sport court, a huge backwoods area with a high ropes course, zipline course, target range, and disc golf course, as well a 200-foot waterfront.

ROOM AND BOARD: All staff live at camp for the duration of the summer. There is not a designated staff cabin for the whole summer. Because counselors supervise their campers through the night, they stay in their assigned cabins for the week. The beds are bunk beds with brand new mattresses, so they aren’t luxury sleeping accommodations. That being said, there are lots of tricks past counselors have learned to maximize comfort. We encourage staff not to bring their entire wardrobe to camp – there simply isn’t endless space for it. Staff will have storage they can move from one cabin to another. In addition, counselors will have space to store things in the staff lounge areas.
There is WIFI available across most of camp for counselors to use when not working. Although the cabins are not air conditioned, they stay relatively cool. Combined with the use of fans and the lake breeze, sleeping temperatures are comfortable. There are some buildings on camp that are airconditioned, including the building where the staff lounge is located. In the same building, there are
two staff-only restrooms with showers.
Staff are provided meals whenever camp is in session. Counselors will have space to store food for snacks and meals when camp is not running. However, there are always leftovers from the camp week, so there is no chance for people to go hungry.

TIME OFF: As a camp counselor, time off is somewhat rare during the camp week. While camp is in session, we make sure that all counselors get at least two hours a day for them to use on their own. In addition, counselors will rotate nights with their co-counselors between on duty, off duty, and cleaning duties. This means that out of the five nights each week, a counselor would have two nights “off duty” until midnight, when they are expected to return to their cabins. While staff are off during the week, they need to stay on site during that time, as all counselors have specific roles in camp’s emergency procedures. It is important for staff to find their own ways to unwind, relax, and recharge during these off times, as it can be hard to do when “on.” These times often lend to quality bonding between staff, as well as rejuvenating self-care and reflection. Our camp sessions typically run from Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon, which means that counselors are off from Friday around 5:30 PM to Sunday at 10:00 AM. Although we know that people have other commitments throughout the summer, we encourage staff to stay at camp for the majority of the weekends. These times are some of the most cherished and memorable by past staff, as they are able to connect and bond with their fellow counselors.

RECREATION: Working at Camp Pepin as a counselor isn’t just fun while camp is in session. Often times, counselors find themselves having just as much fun during their time off. In the past, people have travelled to the Mall of America, Minnesota Twins or St. Paul Saints baseball games, participated in escape rooms, and more. Staff often go out to dinner Friday nights together, and grow closer as friends and family. Even at camp, counselors create new ways to have fun – whether it’s midnight rock climbing lit by spotlights, 4th of July firework celebrations, spontaneous dance parties, or ruthless games of Mafia, Werewolf, and other games. Camp has access to two 16-passenger vans that can be used for transportation throughout the summer, so don’t worry if you don’t have your own car – we’ll get you there!


Camp Counselor

June 2021 - August 2021 Pepin, WI
“I loved everything about working at Camp Pepin. The people, the kids, and the activities were all amazing. The job itself is a lot of time and work, but it also is the best job I have ever had. The experience was extremely rewarding and I had so much fun. My favorite part of the day was when we taught skill classes to the kids - I taught a karate class, and also got to help with the high ropes course one week. I can tell these classes are going to have a lasting impact on the kids. They had a lasting impact on me as well. I got the chance to face my fears this summer; before camp I was completely terrified of heights. While teaching the high ropes course, I had to also be in the air with the kids (while staying completely calm). It was such a great thing to overcome, and that experience will stay with me. What really changed my life were the people I met. I built great connections with so many different people - at the end of the summer the staff felt like a family to me. ”

Camp Director

May 2018 - August 2018 Red Wing, MN
See All