Employers Overview

Opportunities for People Around the World

IENA is owned and operated by experience ex Summer Camp Directors and Hospitality professionals. We have been providing opportunities for people from around the world since 1995.  Our vision is to be a mission driven, more affordable international staffing partner, offering high quality and professional service.

Every member of the IENA camp team has prior experience with camp and cultural exchange. Based out of our NJ office, the camp team is here to help both camp directors and exchange visitors throughout the J-1 Visa process.

Our Summer Work and Travel team is comprised of industry professionals who have over 60 years of combined experience in the Summer Work and Travel program and hospitality industry.

Camp Directors

Spend Your Summer Vacations Living and Working at Camps

The International Camp Staff J-1 Visa Program is a great opportunity for qualified internationals to spend their summer vacations living, working at camps, and experiencing life and culture in the United States. American Camps can staff their summer camp with students from over 35 countries. Qualified Exchange Visitors are issued a J-1 visa, which allows them to work a maximum of four months between the dates of May 1 and September 30th, and then travel for up to 30 days to experience American culture, improve their English language skills and explore the United States.

IENA and its recruiting partners match camps with highly motivated young people from around the world and provides them with the authorization and support they need to be a valuable member of your team while earning money to support their stay in the US. All applicants are fully screened through a detailed application process and are evaluated on their language ability, if English is not their native language. Their eagerness to work and to experience life in the United States makes them some of the best employees you’ll ever hire. While here they are also required to participate (with employer’s support and encouragement) in cultural activities, as a requirement of the Program.


IENA handles their insurance, paperwork, and we make sure they’re ready on arrival. We’re available for support 24/7 throughout the duration of the program.

Upon creation of an account and agreement to our Program Terms & Conditions, Camps may access our searchable database to select qualified individuals to interview for positions at camp. We strongly recommend that you interview each person for a position at your camp to fully determine if the applicantmatches your available job and culture of camp. IENA can also make recommendations of our staff directly to you in addition to you independently searching our database.

In addition to our thorough screening process, we partner with Expert Online Training. Each of our applicants takes 8-10 quizzes on subjects they will encounter in their jobs at camps. Topics staff will learn about include homesickness, conflict resolution, active lifeguarding and more.

For more information, please contact us at camp@iena.org.

“IENA are directed by Camp Pros and it shows.  They guided me through the process much more than I would have expected.  The really understood my needs and workload!” – Dan Weir, Frost Valley YMCA.  ACA Tri State Chair  

Learn More About Our 2024 Program Fees

2024 Fees
Visa Regulations

Understanding the J-1 Visa

Exchange Visitors on IENA’s program work at camp through the J-1 Cultural Exchange Visitor Visa program. The maximum length of time this visa is valid for is 4 months plus a 30 day grace period to travel, before AND after the dates on their camp contract. Participants are not allowed to work during this 30- day grace period. All participants on the J-1 visa must depart the U.S. within 30 days of their visa expiration date.

IENA administers two different types of J-1 visas, depending on whether the participant has selected to apply as Support Staff or as a Camp Counselor. Please be advised that participants may only work in the position for which their visa was issued. It is a violation of J-1 visa regulations if this is not the case.

  • Camp Counselors are part of the J-1 Camp Counselor program
  • Support Staff are part of the J-1 Summer Work and Travel program

The major difference in these programs from an eligibility point of view is that you MUST be a full time student to be considered for the Summer Work and Travel program.  J-1 Visa regulations were updated in May 2012 and we expect several further updates in the coming years. We will keep you informed here of these updates.  When administering a J-1 Visa program, IENA are responsible for monitoring participants and their working environments.

We  work closely with the American Camp Association, and the Department of State. The regulations are intended to take the spirit of cultural diplomacy and put it into action. The intent of the J-1 visa is to make working at a camp this summer more than a job. It should embrace cultural exchange. The J1 participants must be working alongside Americans and people from diverse cultures as well as experiencing American culture during time off from work.

IENA is required to obtain these documents from every camp prior to finalizing placements:

  • A copy of your business license. Depending on the type of camp this can take a variety of forms. Normally it is from the Secretary of State and authorizes the camp to function in their state. It can be called an operating permit or even be a long letter. A copy of your county or city license will also suffice.
  • A copy of your Workers’ Compensation certificate showing current coverage
  • A signed copy of the IENA agreement

In Addition, in order to comply with Department of State regulations, we require the following:

More information on the J-1 Visa can be found on the Department of States website

Apply Now

Child Protection

Our Policy

IENA understands that the individuals that are participants on our program will work directly with children in a residential setting.  Child protection and Safeguarding of children is something IENA are strongly committed to.

We operate a safe recruitment policy and always require police checks, medical checks and other documents to support all applications.  Our screening policy includes:

  • All applicants are required to complete a detailed application form.
  • All applicants must submit a minimum of two professional references.
  • All applicants are required to submit a police background check using the relevant authority in their home country.
  • All applicants are interviewed in order to ascertain their suitability for our program and working with children.

American Camp Association

The American Camp Association (ACA) is an organization that exists to improve standards of summer camps in the USA. The association is made up of full time staff on volunteers who host many annual conferences as well as produce training materials.  In order to be accredited by the ACA, camps are visited and scored to ensure certain high standards are being met.  It is quite a vigorous process and is the gold standard for summer camps in the USA.  IENA have several ACA Standards Visitors on its staff.

IENA only work with camps that are accredited with the American Camp Association and are a proud business partner.

Begin your application today!

Apply Now

Expert Online Training

Expert Online Training

IENA have made a commitment to excellence by partnering with Expert Online Training.  This provides a rigorous pre-camp training with the front runner in e-learning for youth leaders.

The syllabus for this internet classroom includes a variety of online video training modules, quizzes and handouts that teach new and experienced staff how to better lead, discipline and support the development of boys and girls at camp and also prepares them for camp culture in a way that we believe a few hours orientation cannot. The hosts of the videos include psychologists, physicians, attorneys and camp directors, such as Scott Arizala, Steve Maguire and “Dr Deb”, Deb Gilboa.

Videos will cover a variety of topics including Bully Prevention, Active Life-guarding, Alcohol Policies, Safe Touch & Safe Talk, Behavior Management, etc…
All fees associated with this are covered by IENA.

IENA will continue to go above and beyond when selecting staff and preparing them to have a positive impact at camps this summer.

Program Dates

2023 Summer Work and Travel program dates

The dates which participants are permitted to work during the summer follows the following guidelines:

  1. It may not be for a period longer than 4 months
  2. It must be within their University or College’s official summer break from school, and participants must show proof of these dates
  3. The dates fall between the start and end date permitted by the department of state which varies from country to country

All three of these conditions must be met when offering or accepting a contract to work at camp

The dates permitted by the US Dept of State (point 3) for this season can be found in the PDF download HERE.

Cultural Component

Partake in American Culture and History

As a sponsor IENA, we will always keep you up to date on all J-1 visa regulations.

The regulations regarding the cultural component are very clear that the applicants must not only receive work based cultural exposure, but also partake in activities that introduces American culture and history outside the work place (on time off).

Some examples and suggestions provided by the Department of State are visits to national parks, historic or government sites, scenic areas, museums, local sporting events, participating in meals with Americans, local community events and nature outings.

Here is what the regulations currently say:

  1. Offer or make available to exchange visitors a variety or appropriate cross-cultural activities…Department of State encourages sponsors to give their exchange visitors the broadest exposure to American society, culture and institutions; and
  2. Encourage exchange visitors to voluntarily participate in activities which are for the purpose of sharing the language, culture, or history of their home country with Americans,…”

What is American Culture?

Keep in mind that American Culture is a vast, diverse melting pot which differs from state to state. Many of our participants even comment that visiting some states are like visiting totally different countries!

A visit to Wal Mart is certainly an immersion into American culture and there is nothing more American than taking in a baseball game.

If you need any guidance or ideas for cultural exchange for your staff, contact us!

Employer Verification Process

Employer Verification Process

As per visa regulations, IENA may only place Support Staff at camps that pass an employer verification process.

It’s a fairly simple process.  All we need is the following information:

  • EIN (Federal Employer Identification) number
  • Current Business License or State Equivalent (if exempt)
  • Workers’ Compensation Cover Letter showing adequate coverage for the dates of the program or documentation showing exemption from needed coverage
  • A signed copy of the IENA agreement

Camps must provide a safe working environment for all staff. All employers must pay wages and overtime in accordance with state and federal laws or be able to provide proof of exemption if requested. All labor laws apply to international staff.

We must verify that your business is legitimate and reputable through an online search of your physical address as the site of activity for the participant, website and by reviewing recent OSHA violations. The final step in the employer verification process is to have a personal phone conversation with you.

Thank you for your assistance in meeting the regulations and for your support of cultural exchange programs.

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IENA Camp Directors’ Fairs

Camp Directors Fairs

Stay tuned for information on IENA’s 2024 Recruitment Fairs!

Staff with campers.
Summer Work and Travel Employers

Spend Your Summer Living, Working, and Experiencing Life in the United States

The Work & Travel Bridge USA (formerly J-1 Visa) Cultural Exchange Program is a great opportunity for qualified international university students to spend their summer vacations living, working, and experiencing life in the United States. American host companies can supplement their American staff during the busy season with students from around the world. Qualified Exchange Visitors are issued a J-1 Work and Travel visa, which allows them to work during their summer break from school for a maximum of four months, and then travel for up to 30 days to experience American culture, improve their English language skills and explore the United States.

IENA and its recruiting partners match companies with highly motivated university students from around the world and provide them with the authorization and support they need to be a valuable member of your seasonal team while earning money to support their stay in the US. All applicants are fully screened through a detailed application process and are evaluated on their language ability, if English is not their native language. The types of employers that commonly benefit from this program include: amusement parks, food and beverage operations, retail concessions, retail stores/shops in tourist towns, hotels, resorts, national parks and more. IENA students fill a wide range of entry-level positions including cashiers, restaurant servers, kitchen workers, retail clerks, housekeepers, maintenance workers, office assistants, and more. Their eagerness to work, and to experience life in the United States, makes them some of the best employees you’ll ever hire. While here they are also required to participate (with employer’s support and encouragement) in cultural activities, as a requirement of the Program..

IENA handles their insurance, paperwork, and we make sure they’re ready on arrival. We’re available for support 24/7 throughout the duration of the program.

Coffee Shop.

Who We Work With

IENA works with employers in the following industries:

  • Hotel/Resort
  • Restaurant/Concessions
  • Retail/Concessions
  • Hospitality Management
  • Amusement Parks
  • Pool Management
  • ….and more

Group Photo in sunset.

Our Participant Countries

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Columbia
  • Ecuador
  • Jamaica
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Romania
  • Spain
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom

Trainee / Intern Program


IENA’s Trainee and Intern Program provides opportunities for young professionals and recent university graduates to experience American culture while learning new skills. Program participants train alongside their American counterparts, acquiring knowledge and skills directly related to their field of professional experience or academic background. Upon completing the program, participants can apply their experience and new skills to their careers in their home countries.

The maximum program length for trainees is 18 months. The maximum for interns is 12 months.

Participant Requirements

Trainees must:

  1. Be post-secondary graduates from an academic institution outside the US and have one year of related full-time professional work experience; or
  2. Have five years of related full-time professional work experience outside the US

Interns must:

  1. Be currently enrolled in a post-secondary academic program outside the US; or
  2. Have graduated within the past 12 months from a post-secondary institution outside the U.S

Host Site Responsibilities

Host sites provide young international professionals with opportunities to learn US techniques and methodologies, interact with U.S. citizens, experience U.S. culture, and share their own culture. Host sites will also provide advice on local cultural opportunities and/or directly provide such opportunities to participants. Host sites provide training that has been described in a training plan, which IENA helps develop.

Host sites provide compensation that meets all Federal, State, and Local Minimum Wage requirements including overtime and ensure that pay and benefits are commensurate with those offered to the participant’s similarly situated U.S. counterparts. They are also responsible for adhering to all Federal, State, and Local regulations regarding payroll taxes, insurance, and background screening.

Training Fields

  • Arts and Culture
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Information Media and Communications
  • Management, Business, Commerce and Finance
  • Public Administration and Law
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations
Two people in a canoe.
Australia and New Zealand 12 Month Program

Host an Aussie or Kiwi for up to 12 months!

This program is a special pilot program only for Australian and New Zealand students and recent graduate. Based on the Summer Work & Travel Program, exchange visitors can work and travel in the U.S. for up to 12 months. Past participants have worked in all sorts of jobs ranging from customer service positions to professional occupations.

Program participants are not required to have a pre-arranged job. Most opt to arrive in the US and travel while they look for a position, interacting with potential employers directly and in-person.
And the program is year-round. Program participants arrive throughout the year, not just in the summer months.

IENA takes care of all the paperwork for the J-1 visa and host employers provide a job agreement with details regarding the job. Host employers also complete a survey every 2 months about the program and their experiences.
And like all of our programs, IENA is available to assist anytime you need our assistance.

Get Started

For complete information, contact IENA

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