By early June you will receive information as to exactly when you are expected at camp. Orientation is a very important part of your job. Typically, orientation lasts for one week and covers all aspects of your job at camp. You’ll also be given a tour of the camp. Equally important is the opportunity to get acquainted with the people with whom you will be working. Orientation is a good way to build a working team for the summer.

When you arrive at camp, you will be given a temporary cabin assignment. Permanent assignments await an in-camp conversation with the Head Counselor and Director. We want to be sure that each counselor will work best with his or her assigned group. In any event, linens will be distributed and you will have plenty of time to get comfortably settled in.


The staff is under contract through the day the campers depart. This is to ensure that camp is closed down in an orderly and complete fashion. Before staff members may leave, they must be checked out. Check out involves completing all closing assignments. Specialists must see to it that their areas are completely clean and organized. All cabins and living quarters must be thoroughly cleaned and inspected. Inventories must be handed into the office.

For the most part, counselors are generally checked out by 2:00 PM on the camper’s departure day. Book flights home for the evening on the day your contract ends. Give yourself time to get to the airport. We are 3-4 hours from the local airports. A good number of counselors are selected, at their request, to ride the camper buses to the NY Metropolitan Area. You should request that assignment from your head counselor.

Maintenance, housekeeping, security, office and kitchen staff should plan on leaving camp by 2:00 PM on closing day unless contracted for post camp work. Staff members may stay over one additional night if they have a flight at a later time.


If you must leave early for school commitments, you must inform the Director either prior to camp or within the first week. Please bring along notification from your school indicating the date that you are required to be there. Our policy is to grant requests for early departure when we have fair notification and the date reasonably requires a staff member’s early departure. If you depart early, there is a pro-rata reduction of compensation for days lost.

Understand, however, that depending upon the travel requirements, generally two full days prior to your required arrival at school is acceptable for early departure. The need to shop, "mentally prepare" and spend time with family and friends, is not acceptable as a reason to leave earlier than necessary to get to school. Camp is our business. To us, it’s important. We need to staff it until the campers go home. If you have a problem or questions, feel free to ask and we will do the best we can to work things out for you.


American staff members are covered under the New York Workman’s Compensation Law for injuries sustained while on the job or in the performance of one’s duties. Any activity not sanctioned by the camp, which causes injury, will be at the expense of the employee. Staff members should carry their own comprehensive accident and health insurance for any non-work related injuries or illnesses. International staff are covered by private insurance provided by the sponsoring agency.


All staff members must complete a Health Form and undergo a physical exam prior to camp. Staff members are entitled to use the services of the camp’s Health Center at no charge. Prescription medications will be charged to the employee. The camp maintains a full time health services staff including a licensed physician and licensed nurses.


Counselors sit with their campers and are expected to supervise while in the Dining Hall. We serve our food family style and have a salad bar with a wide variety of choices. While the menu has been developed to satisfy children, there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and considerations are made for those on vegetarian and other diets. No food may be taken out of the Dining Hall without the permission of the DH Manager. You are not permitted to bring your own food to camp.


Fresh linens are distributed weekly. Clean towels are distributed daily. There are towels for your use at the pools as well. Laundry can be done with camp or at the local Laundromat. All belongings should be properly marked. Cabin counselors can include their laundry in the weekly bunk laundry.

You do not need to bring sheets, towels, pillowcases or pillows. We supply them. We also supply sleeping bags for overnights.


We have several computers for staff in the Girls’ Head Counselor Office, the Boys’ Head Counselor Office and the Dorm which houses our support staff. Internet access is available to you all day and evening until curfew at 12:30 AM. You do not have to bring your laptops.


All counselors should receive one period off during the day. This may vary depending on activity schedule, weather etc. Counselors who are not on duty, are off after evening activity, around 9:30 PM. Two nights per week and two additional Saturday nights per summer, every counselor will have OD (on-duty), typically with your own bunk. That lasts from the end of evening activity until counselor curfew.

During time off, counselors and other staff may use camp facilities (except water skiing) as long as that use does not interfere with ongoing activities. Waterfront facilities are available only when a qualified lifeguard is on duty.

The canteen is open for purchases between 9:30 – 11:15 PM.

The camp does its best to provide transportation to town for the staff several nights each week. In addition, on days off, we will do our best to reasonably accommodate staff needs for rides into and from town. Information regarding camp transportation will be provided when you get to camp.


While camp is not a military academy, we do expect the cabins and surrounding area to be reasonable clean and neat and presentable for visitors. One of the things that we teach at camp is independence and a large part of that is learning how to care for one’s self. We expect that staff quarters and belongings will also be kept to the required standard.

Beds are to be properly made. Campers may not sleep in sleeping bags. Cubby shelves are to be neat with clothing properly stored and stacked. Floors must be swept, wastebaskets emptied and the outside area cleaned. Remember, food is not permitted in the bunks. Bunk showers and toilets are cleaned daily by our housekeeping staff.

Each bunk will use a job-wheel rotation system to fairly distribute the general bunk clean-up assignments. Campers must be at their beds during inspection. Each week the best bunks are rewarded for their achievement.


Phone messages for staff are received by our Office from 8:30 AM through 8:30 PM daily. Messages are given to staff at the meal following receipt of the call. We will do our best to help coordinate callbacks for staff where possible. We cannot page staff to the phone for calls. The camp phone number is 845-688-2266.

Credit card phones are available in our Office during designated hours. Please note that staff cannot make calls during camper calling time which is 6:00 PM through 8:30 PM Sunday through Thursday.


Mail is collected daily from the mailbox at the HC’s and from the office. Incoming mail is brought to the campuses usually before lunch for distribution during Rest Hour. Staff in private rooms can pick up their mail after lunch, at the Office.

Mail should be addressed as follows with the following staff designation in the lower left-hand corner of the envelope:

Staff Member’s Name, Timber Lake Camp, 354 Timber Lake Road, XXX Shandaken, NY 12480

The appropriate staff designations (XXX) are as follows:


Packages addressed to staff can be picked up at the HC’s. Please understand that all packages to counselors (and campers) must be opened by the Head Counselors. We understand that this is an intrusion. We ask that you open your packages in front of our "customs agents" to ensure that food is not entering the campus. Please realize that our experience has shown that campers’ parents send packages to their children’s bunk counselors stuffed with food. It is a way to "beat the rules". Counselors unwittingly accept the package unaware of its contents. We don’t want to put counselors in that position and we don’t want food in the bunk.


Staff will be paid every other week and the money will be put on your debit card. If you opt to be paid by check (and we don’t recommend that) you will not be able to receive cash advances. Any travel allowance and the completion bonus are payable only with your final pay at the end of the summer.

Payoneer Card - Each staffer may sign up for a mastercard/ATM card before camp which we strongly recommend. You will receive an email from us which will explain how to do this. Camp will pay the $7.00 activation fee. There will be no other salary advances.


  • Can be used at any location worldwide that accepts MasterCard
  • Can be used at most ATM machines worldwide
  • If the card is lost or stolen, it can be replaced at the camp office
  • Secure online account information which you can check at anytime
  • Online and Phone Customer Service
  • International Staff can return home after camp and withdraw their entire pay in their own currency with no waiting period
  • Ability for 3rd party (family) to add money to your account at anytime


Please avoid bringing jewelry or other valuables to camp. All valuables are your own responsibility and are covered by your own insurance. Money and passports may be turned in at our Office and will be kept in an envelope with your name on it. The "vault" is open only during designated times during the day. Camp is not a hotel, and while we will safeguard your money and passport as best possible, we cannot offer you unlimited access to your envelope.


All injuries and illnesses must be brought to the attention of the Health Center staff. Regular sick call occurs twice daily. Emergencies that cannot wait, obviously, are to be brought immediately to the Health Center. A counselor must accompany the camper. Campers who complain about an injury or illness must always be taken seriously. Campers who complain that they are not receiving adequate attention from the Health Center should be brought to the director. They may be right!

All staff members are responsible for reporting any unsafe condition or, in your opinion, any unsafe activity in camp to the director. We’d rather know than not know and you’re in the best position to let us know.


All campers are to be treated alike whether their parents work at camp or not. Staff parents are not to visit their children’s bunks and should not disturb them at activity. Counselors may not give preferential treatment to staff children and none should be sought. Problems with staff regarding their children should be brought to the attention of the head counselor and/or the director. Staff parents should not seek to solve problems directly with the counselor staff.

Staff children are entitled to one visiting day, as are all campers, and may leave camp with their parents on one of their days off. Arrangements should be made through the HC.


Timber Lake attracts staff from all over the world. Most of our counselors come from all across the United States, with several specialists joining us from England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

We employ about 150 in-bunk counselors and specialists and about 40 "campower" maintenance, grounds, housekeeping, dining hall, security and office staff. In addition, we have approximately 20-30 adults in camp.

The camp population (and staff population) is evenly divided between males and females. Counselor staff age range extends from a few 17 year old "Junior Counselors" to the bulk of

the counselors who are between 18 and 24 years old. The average age is about 20.


Well, the general rule of traveling is to pack half the clothes and twice the cash. According to our counselors, that rule should be amended to bring the same amount of clothing and double the cash!

We receive many emails from our new staff asking what they should bring to camp. Obviously we expect you to be neat and clean and casual attire is the rule. Mornings and evenings may be cool while the daytime temperatures are usually in the 70’s and 80’s. The following list is a guideline. Please feel free to contact us is you have any questions.

  • Short Sleeved Shirts - 12
  • Blow Dryer (optional)
  • Swimsuits (1 piece or tankini) - 3
  • Toiletries
  • Sweatshirts - 4
  • Flashlight
  • Shorts - 8
  • Laundry Bag
  • Pool Shoes - 1
  • Tennis Racquet (optional)
  • Sweatpants - 3
  • Bathrobe (optional)
  • Jeans/Pants - 5
  • Softball Glove
  • Medium Weight Jacket - 1
  • Wash Cloths - 3
  • Poncho/Raincoat - 1
  • Sneakers - 3
  • Underwear - 12
  • Sleepwear - 3
  • Socks - 15
  • Blankets (optional)

Things to remember:

We will provide you with 6 staff shirts which are to be worn every day from Clean-up through Dinner. Staff shirts can be cleaned with your regular bunk laundry.

The weather can change dramatically from warm and sunny one day to cold and rainy the next. Please bring clothing that will cover a variety of weather conditions.

Throughout “Color War” (a four day field day type of event) you will be on either the green team or the white team and be required to wear your team colors. It is a good idea to pack a couple of green and white items of clothing. (Your staff shirts can be utilized for this purpose).

You may want to bring items that are a little dressier as there is a prom at the end of the summer. You may also want different clothing for days and nights off, depending upon what you decide to do.

Bring enough clothing to last up to 10 days, as laundry will not be your top priority. You need enough clothing to keep you clean and fresh until you get around to doing your laundry!

During orientation you will have a chance to pick up any necessary items you were unable to bring with you. There is generally a trip to the Mall. You may want to bring smaller sizes of toiletries to reduce your luggage weight and buy more during camp. Other items you may want to purchase once you’ve settled into camp are:

  • Bedding – sheets and blankets – we do provide sheets, blankets, pillows and towels, however, our blankets are the itchy wool type and our towels are the small, health club size towels!
  • Flashlights
  • Water


CAMP MISSION: We teach children the skills of making and keeping friends, while building their self-esteem, self confidence and resilience.

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