Camp Counselor Program Benefits Participants and U.S. Economy

Rockville, MD, August 29, 2019  EurekaFacts, an independent research firm that specializes in social science and policy research, conducted a comprehensive study of the Camp Counselor Program, a category within the State Department’s Exchange Visitor Program (EVP). The Camp Counselor Program offers international participants a way to interact directly with American campers by overseeing and leading group activities at camps during the U.S. summer season. 

The Alliance for International Exchange, an association of nearly 90 international exchange-implementing organizations, commissioned EurekaFacts to conduct a thorough review of the Camp Counselor Program. The assessment included a thorough review of the program, a survey of over 2,500 program alumni, and interviews and a survey of over 350 host camps. 


Public Diplomacy Benefits

Camp Counselor program participants leave the program with greater regard for the U.S., the American people, and the American culture. Key findings show that the program conveys significant benefits to the U.S. in terms of public diplomacy.

  • Almost seven-tenths (69.4%) of participants developed a much more positive or somewhat positive opinion about the United States in general based on their experiences. 
  • Nearly three-quarters (71.0%) describe a much more positive or somewhat positive opinion about American culture, while 76.1% express similar positivity regarding the American people they encountered. 
  • Almost all camp counselor participants (96.6%) report either having very good or good experiences when participating in the Camp Counselor Program. Likewise, 95.3% express being extremely satisfied or somewhat satisfied with these experiences. 
  • Most camp counselor participants (97.1%) either strongly agree or agree that they gained skills during their time in the program that will help them in their futures. 

“For me, the most important thing I took away from camp was friends for life. I met some of the
most amazing people (other counsellors) from all over the world and have met up with some of them
already and am planning on travelling to see more of them soon. They’re family now!”
-International Camp Counselor

Benefits to U.S. Host Camps

The Camp Counselor program allows host camps to expose other American campers and counselors to international culture, meets the needs and goals of the camps, and provides life-changing experiences for young people to take back to their home countries. Key findings show that the program conveyed significant benefits to U.S. host camps.

  • The vast majority of host camps (98.9%) are either extremely satisfied or satisfied with the Camp Counselor program. 
  • Almost all host camps (99.8%) believe their experiences in the program meets the needs and goals of their organization overall, with 90.9% expressing their willingness to participate in the program again. 
  • Nearly all host camps (98.9%) strongly agree or agree that the program is achieving its main purpose as a cultural exchange program. 
  • The vast majority of host camps (95.5%) feel that exposing American campers and counselors to international culture is of high importance when deciding to participate. After engaging in the program, host camps believe that providing life-changing experiences for young people to take back to their home countries (92.8%) was a top benefit when participating. 
  • A majority of host camps (90.7%) believe their organization would be negatively impacted if the Camp Counselor program ceased to exist. 

“[The program] meets the needs of our camp. It definitely gives opportunities where we
typically would not have them here. It really opens some doors for everyone to experience
different cultures even for our campers who may or may not ever make it out of this area. But it
also, I think, gives the international staff [a chance] to see a different side of the United States.”
-Outdoor Program and Trainee Manager/Camp Director in Statesville, North Carolina

Benefits to U.S. Economy

The analysis suggests that Camp Counselor program participants supplement the existing American workforce rather than compete with American workers for existing jobs. In addition to their 2-3 months working at camp, participants have a 30-day grace period to travel the U.S., contributing more than $59.1 million to the U.S. economy. 


The study was led by EurekaFacts staff including Research Analyst Andrea Ton, MA, and Chief Business Officer Paul Schroeder, MA. EurekaFacts researchers follow the international quality for market, public opinion and social research, ISO 20252, to which EurekaFacts is certified. View the Camp Counselor Fact Sheet and blog post by the Alliance Executive Direct Ilir Zherka. Read Opinion/Commetary: International connections, lasting local impact in The Daily Progress by Selena Coles. Read the Camp Counselor Program Review Report.

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About EurekaFacts 
EurekaFacts is a full-service market and social research firm in the Washington, D.C. area. We help leaders understand and shape successful programs, communications, and brands through data collection and advanced analytics. Since 2003, we have collaborated with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations to answer their research questions and business objectives. EurekaFacts is ISO 20252 certified, the highest quality standard in market and social research.

About the Alliance for International Exchange
The Alliance for International Exchange (formerly Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange) is an association of 90 nongovernmental organizations comprising the international educational and cultural exchange community in the United States. Founded in 1993 after a merger of the International Exchange Association and the Liaison Group for International Educational Exchange, the Alliance serves as the only collective public policy voice of the exchange community.