Tips and FAQ’s

Do I have healthcare in America?

As you may be aware, health care is not free in the USA. You must have medical insurance. We have that covered for you. There are however some terminology and procedures it is handy to know:

Co-payment: This is like your car insurance excess. Its an amount you always have to pay when you have treatment. Luckily for you, we have you covered. We are the only Sponsor to have ZERO co-pays.
Workers Compensation: Whilst you are at work and carrying out your duties at camp, you are covered by this insurance. This means if you have an injury caused by or related to your work at camp you are covered by this insurance which is held by your employer. Our insurance is for non-work related cases, such as days off and while you are traveling.
Emergency Room: It’s the same thing as the A & E and is for serious injury or illness that requires immediate attention. There is no co-pay or deductible for this
Pre-Existing Conditions: If you have a condition that has been treated, or you take regular medication for, in the past 6 months, it will NOT be covered by this insurance.

More details on your insurance policy can be found here

How does social media work at camp?

When it comes to social media, summer camp and American culture, there are a few things you need to be aware of.
Camps have withdrawn job offers to participants before they have even arrived in the USA due to things they have found on a staff members social media. Please be aware of how you portray yourself. You are going to America to be professional providers of child care and your public presence should reflect that. We highly recommend you make all your social media private. Remember, even something someone else tags you in or photos someone else posts of you can have an impact on someone’s impression of you. As a general rule of thumb, think “Would I want my parents or grandparents to see this?”

Each camp will have their own set of rules with regard to social media once you arrive at camp. IENA highly recommends you NOT accepting friend requests from campers.

Can I leave early?

IENA recognizes there are several reasons why you may leave camp early.

Getting Fired by the Camp

Break the camp rules and you may be fired. This is a job working with kids. The most common reason people are fired at camp is returning drunk after time off. When you are in camp you are expected to be in a condition to take care of children. As with any job you take, there are rules that need to be followed. In most cases you will be asked to leave camp immediately. There will be no chance to say goodbye to the children or co-workers. You will be escorted to pack your belongings and taken out of camp. This may seem drastic but your camp will want to avoid any disruption to camp.

If you have been fired, the first thing you must do is call IENA. We have a 24hr emergency line (888) 724 4292 ext 4. Camps are also instructed to call us before taking you out of camp.  Our goal is:

  • For you to understand why you have been fired
  • Get your version of events
  • Ensure you are paid up to date
  • To make a plan with you as to where you will go and how you will get home

Just because you have been terminated from employment does not mean you are not part of our program. We want to make sure you are safe and have arranged flights home.  This does not mean that we will pay for flights or hotels.  There are consequences to being fired from camp.  One of those is going to be costs of transport, hotels and flight changes.  That is your responsibility.  If your don’t have the money, we will suggest you call home and get help.

You Decide to Leave

We understand there are a few reasons why you may decide to leave. All we ask is that you give camp time. At least a week of having campers therewith you. Camp is very different during staff training which is when our participants tend to fee home sick.

If you do decide to leave early, you MUST call IENA before you leave on (888) 724 4292 ext 4. We will want to help you make a plan to get home.

After being fired or deciding to leave early, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to take advantage of your 30 day travel period at the end of your program. Typically you have 5 days to leave the USA.
If you fail to complete your contract it is likely you will owe IENA money if you are a first time placement. This is because IENA has spent a great deal of money to get you to camp. Please look at your program agreement for further information.

What sort of Paperwork do I need to complete?

You are going to hear several terms for different forms etc. during the process. Here is our IENAipedia to those forms:

The J-1 Visa: The J-1 Visa is a government program that allows post-secondary students, youth workers and teachers to share their cultures and ideas with the people of the United States, in a camp setting.
It runs from the start of your contract to the end of your contract. It also allows for 30 days pre camp travel and 30 days post camp travel around the United States, to experience its culture and seeing all that it has to offer. The actual Visa is attached inside your passport and is given to you after a successful interview at your local US Embassy. You are only permitted to work as a Counselor or Support Staff at the camp outlined on your original DS2019 Form (we will get to that in a minute). You are not permitted to get the visa and then go and work where you please. You must arrive at camp on the designated day on your camp contract or your program may be cancelled.

DS-2019 Form: This form can only be issued by a US Department of State designated visa sponsor. IENA is one of those. It certifies that you are eligible to take part in the cultural exchange program and is a vital part of the application process. In essence, it is evidence that you have a bona-fide job offer in the USA. You will need it for your embassy appointment AND you will need it when you enter into the USA. Guard it as you would guard your passport.

SEVIS Receipt (or SEVIS I-901 Receipt): SEVIS stands for “Student Exchange Visitor Information System”. It is a system by which the US Department of State keeps track of you on the program. You will need this form when you visit the embassy for your interview

What paperwork will the camp require?

Social Security: The US Government requires all employees to apply for a Social Security Number. Camp will help you do this during your first few weeks at camp and will involve a visit to the local Social Security office.
During the summer you must obtain a Social Security Card. If you already have one, then that’s yours for life.
Form I-9: All employees, foreign and domestic, are required to complete this form for each employer. It is a straightforward form and you will need your passport (including J-1 Visa) and your DS-2019. Camp will help you complete this.
Form I-94: This is your arrival and departure record. It is a good idea to print this when you get to camp and keep it with you. You cannot print it until after you have arrived in the USA. It can be printed here
W-4: This form is for tax purposes. Your camp May withhold a small amount of taxes from your salary. You ARE entitled to claim this back because you are not a resident of the USA. IENA partners with taxback.com to make claiming back the taxes as simple as possible

What should I pack?

So this may be your first time at camp. It may be your first time in America. You’ve thought about starting to pack about fifty times and you leave tomorrow. Here is a quick list of what we consider essentials
Take a carry-on backpack (like your backpack when you were in school). In it put:

  • A Phone Charger
  • An American Plug Adapter
  • Important paperwork
  • One or two pens for immigration forms on the plane

In your suitcase:

  • A pair of jeans
  • A Pair of Trainers
  • A Pair of Walking/hiking Shoes
  • A couple of bathing suits
  • 7 T-Shirts
  • A rain jacket (lightweight)
  • 7 pairs of underwear and socks
  • A warm hoodie or sweater
  • Flip Flops
  • Photocopies of all documents (Visa, Passport, DS-2019, Insurance, Flights, Camp Contract)
  • Toiletries
  • A toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant

That’s all we suggest. You can also check with your camp and you can buy more easily and inexpensively in America and save space!