Staff FAQ

Program and Support Staff are housed in our staff cabins. We offer dorm-style rooms, equipped with 2 or 4 twin beds, or communal living in our Timberframe cabins with 8-12 bunk-style twin beds. Counseling staff will stay in our camper cabins equipped with extra-long twin bunk beds. All cabins are equipped with a dresser or space for personal storage, electricity, fans, clotheslines, and communal outdoor firepits.

Yes, staff can bring their own vehicle, though there is limited space for parking. Many staff carpool or take advantage of hopping on our bus that has multiple pickup spots throughout MN each week (prior notice required)! We offer staff parking and strongly suggest you keep vehicles locked at all times. Camp is not responsible for any theft or damage while at Camp Olson. NO campers are allowed in staff vehicles, and they should only be used during designated time-off.

View the recommended Staff Packing List.

During the first and last days of each session, you are required to wear your staff shirt (preferably clean and laundered). You’ll also need to make sure your appearance reflects your position as a role model to parents. Every other day, you can wear whatever feels comfortable, as long as it’s “camp appropriate” (i.e., you’d wear it in front of a camper’s mom).

All staff receive a 24-hour off period between camper sessions: 12:00 pm Saturday until 12:00ph Sunday. All staff also receive one night off per week, 6:00 pm-midnight. Counselors also get an extra break sometime during the week in the afternoon to take a nap or relax. Staff curfew is at midnight. Common time off activities includes dinner out at a local restaurant, mini-golf, a movie, a trip to Target, soaking up the sun at Leech Lake Beach, or a night in at the Staff Lounge.

Yes, Camp Olson has Staff Lounge (staff-only space)! The Staff Lounge has air conditioning, TVs, computers, desks, wifi, a full kitchen, storage lockers, a grill, games, a fire ring, and couches to relax and take some time for yourself!

Camp does not offer staff laundry as we do not have the facilities. There is a laundromat 5 minutes from camp in Longville!  They are quarter machines, so make sure you have some spare change when doing laundry.

Camp allows visitors on weekends when campers have left. To have a visitor, you need to get permission from the Camp Director. Visitors must abide by all of Camp Olson’s policies when on camp property.
No prior training is required, though it is helpful to have experience working with children and certification in CPR, First Aid, or Lifeguarding. Camp Olson does offer these training sessions during our staff training but with limited space. Camp also requires all new and returning staff to attend our one-week training (we have additional sessions for specialty staff).
Before the arrival of campers, we host a mandatory staff orientation for both new and returning staff, which is designed to teach you everything you need to know to be successful in your role. The most important part of orientation is creating a sense of community and teamwork within the staff team, and our goal is for you to emerge with 125 new friends you know you can count on. You’ll also learn youth development strategies, facilitation skills, and leadership techniques. Plus, you’ll learn all the hands-on skills needed to lead a cabin and facilitate camp activities, along with the policies and procedures we use to keep everyone safe. Even when orientation is over, and your campers arrive, you’ll have veteran staff by your side to help with anything that comes up.

Your two most important roles at camp are keeping campers safe and being a positive role model. As such, drugs and alcohol are forbidden on camp property. Any staff member possessing these items at camp will be dismissed immediately. There is a designated smoking area for tobacco use in our staff parking lot away from all campers. Tobacco products, alcohol, drugs, and any paraphernalia must be kept out of cabins at all times. Any alcohol or drug use by any staff on-site while on contract, or any alcohol or drug use by minor staff while on contract (either on or off camp property) will result in immediate dismissal. Camp will also do random drug testing throughout the summer.

Yes! We seek staff members with warm personalities, good ethics, positive attitudes, good character, and a sincere desire to work with children. If you have these qualities and are willing to live by our responsible, caring, and respectful values, then Camp Olson is happy to have you. We offer excellent in-depth training to prepare you to be on staff.

Our long-time mission of “For All” encourages and welcomes campers and staff from all backgrounds. Our purpose is not to change or instill any particular faith or belief upon campers or staff. Our goal is to make every person feel comfortable while still including the traditions and values of the YMCA: caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.

Grace is sung before each meal, and we start and end the day with an inspirational word or phrase. Anyone is welcome to opt-out of participation in these activities.

Yes! Staff have used their work at camp as part of internships in the past, and we’re happy to help you in any way we can. If you have questions about making an internship work at camp, please contact us at or 218-363-2207.