Staff Positions

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp...
Founded in 1966, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp is a summer community of the fine arts serving more than 5,400 elementary, junior high, and high school students each season through its varied programs. Blue Lake annually employs more than 700 faculty and staff, who work together to provide a diverse and enriching learning experience for campers. Although Blue Lake is a fine arts training center, it strives to maintain a "camp" atmosphere in as many ways as possible through the natural environment, rustic facilities, and camper activities.

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp is situated on Little Blue Lake in West Michigan's Manistee National Forest. The camp consists of 275 rustic cabins, structures, and shelters spread throughout 1,600 acres of wilderness. Located 12 miles north of Muskegon and an hour northwest of Grand Rapids, Blue Lake is within minutes of Lake Michigan beaches and parks.

Camp Philosophy
Blue Lake's primary goal is to motivate campers with two weeks of intensive instruction, sending them home with an incentive to pursue their art with new enthusiasm. A well balanced set of values -- maturity, citizenship, and appreciation of formal study -- are encouraged by all faculty and staff. Members of the Blue Lake staff strive to make the campers' stay meaningful by teaching them how to become good artists and citizens. Enthusiasm is contagious at Blue Lake as campers discover, learn, experience, progress, and succeed.

Musical & Other Artistic Opportunities
Staff members are encouraged to audition for positions in Blue Lake's Festival Band, Festival Orchestra, Staff Symphonic Band, Staff Choir, Staff Vocal Ensemble, and Jazz Ensembles. These groups rehearse and perform regularly scheduled concerts in Blue Lake's Summer Arts Festival. With a recorded audition, staff members may be eligible participate in faculty-coached ensembles, such as string quartets, brass quintets, woodwind quintets, euphonium-tuba ensemble, and other chamber groups. Those who qualify may also teach sectionals and technique classes with Blue Lake's junior campers. Blue Lake also offers a solo competition to staff during the summer.

Those with backgrounds in art, drama, and dance have opportunities to assist faculty and students in those areas, as well as explore their own artistic growth through individual studio time and/or participation in staff groups (such as theater improv, etc). Those who qualify may also teach minor classes in art, drama, jazz studies, history of music, nature studies, or beginning instruments with Blue Lake's junior or central camp students.

Counselors & Unit Directors
Applicants for counseling positions must meet the following criteria: 1) at least 18 years of age, 2) at least one year of college after completing high school, 3) interest and aptitude in working with young people. Prospective Unit Directors must have previous camp counseling experience.

2018 Work Dates:
Applicants must be available for the full work season listed below. Extended work dates for some positions are available to cover pre- and post-camp duties. Please inquire on application.
Counselors: June 17 - August 19. This includes 9 days of paid orientation.
Unit Directors: May 18 - 20 and June 11 - August 19. This includes 15 days of paid orientation.

Salary for Blue Lake Counseling Staff:
$1,625 - $2,550 plus room and board. Salary is based on years of college study and/or degree(s) earned.

Non-Counseling Positions
For work dates and salaries offered to health staff, camp nurses, production staff, international staff, and other
non-counseling positions, please see enclosed or call the Blue Lake Personnel Department at 800-221-3796.

Proof of Certification
Those applying for jobs which require proof of certification (Recreation Director, Camp Nurse, etc.) must have a photocopy of the certificate on file with the personnel department before an applicant will be considered for the position. The date of expiration must be visible.

Employee Health History
All employees of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp are required to have a health history form on file with Health Services before arriving on camp. All information is required and kept confidential, and a blank form is sent with your contract.

Employee Background Checks
All employees of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp are required to complete two background checks during the employment process: a criminal records clearance and a central registry clearance (both through home state). Any fees associated with clearances are the responsibility of the applicant. More information will be presented during the interview.

Conduct Policies
In an effort to provide our campers with a safe, pleasant, professional, and nurturing environment, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp has developed extensive regulations regarding proper and professional conduct. Counseling Staff and Faculty members serve as role models and mentors for our campers, and are therefore expected to support and follow these Blue Lake policies. All Blue Lake employees must sign a Code of Conduct upon receipt of their contract. Failure to comply with conduct policies is grounds for dismissal.

Uniform and Appearance Standards
Employees at Blue Lake are expected to demonstrate professionalism and good judgment at all times related to personal appearance. No matter where you work or what your title is, anytime you are in a public area at camp, you are “in the classroom” and around our campers. Your attitude, performance, and appearance are direct reflections on the quality of our program. Please review the following Uniform and Appearance Standards before submitting your application.

Staff and Faculty members are required to wear the Blue Lake uniform at all times except when within the housing area. (The official uniform shirt and sweater are available at a discounted price. The remainder of the uniform is supplied by the employee). Staff and Faculty members are also expected to maintain a professional, neat, and clean personal appearance. Extreme piercings, hair styles, or hair colorings that are considered distracting, or contrary to serving as a role model for youth, are not permitted. Additionally, all tattoos must be discreetly and completely covered at all times.

Intentional body alteration or modification for the purpose of achieving a visible, physical effect that disfigures, deforms or similarly detracts from a professional image is prohibited. Examples include, but are not limited to: tattoos, brands, body piercing (other than traditional ear piercing), tongue piercing or splitting, tooth filing, earlobe expansion and disfiguring skin implants. Jewelry, spacers, retainers, or plugs are not permitted in body piercings while working.

If you are ever in doubt about the appropriateness of your appearance, please keep in mind that anything that could be considered distracting or not in the best interest of serving as a role model will not be permitted.

Camp Counselors (162 full-summer positions available, room & board included)

Central Camp Counselors serve as role models for campers by demonstrating respect and discipline, and by living by the established camp policies. Duties include: live with 10 - 11 campers, eat with your assigned cabin, supervise clean-up details, plan recreational and social activities, launder the campers' uniform clothes every other day, work 15 - 20 hours a week at a specific work assignment (including performing and artistic assignments), and consistently evaluate and act on all campers' special needs, problems, and concerns. Camp Counselors are role models, leaders, supervisors, problem solvers, motivators, friends, and guardians for Blue Lake campers.

Central Camp Counselors/Lifeguards have the same responsibilities as central camp counselors, except that their work assignment is that of a Lifeguard. These counselors also have opportunities to perform with various camp music ensembles or complete other job assignments. Blue Lake will certify candidates with Red Cross certifications prior to staff orientation. Candidates for Lifeguard positions must be physically fit, competent swimmers, and available to arrive at camp by JUNE 10 for American Red Cross Life Guard training.

Junior Camp (Camp Bernstein) Counselors have the same responsibilities as Central Camp staff. Work assignments may include teaching sectional and/or technique classes for the Camp Bernstein students. For those interested in these limited sectional/technique teaching positions, a recorded audition is required and teaching experience is preferred. Some counselors may also teach elective classes of art, choir, theater, jazz studies, or history of music, or nature studies. For those interested in these limited elective teaching positions, a resume is required and teaching experience is preferred.

Unit Counselors have the same responsibilities as central camp cabin counselors, except that they are not assigned a specific group of campers. Instead, unit counselors work with a team of other staff members to provide support and supervision to the larger camper group and living area, as well as fill in for cabin counselors who are ill or are called away from camp on emergencies.

Unit Directors (18 full-summer positions available, room & board included)

Each unit of six cabins is supervised by one Unit Director. Duties include: supervising the counselors of your designated unit, organizing all required paperwork, planning unit activities, delivering important announcements and information to campers and counselors, assisting campers that need special attention, communicating with camper parents, and any other duties designated by the Director of Student Services. Previous camp leadership experience and good communication skills are a must.

(positions open only to Counseling Staff: Counselors and Unit Directors)

All counseling staff members will be assigned two or more of the following duties as a portion of their job at Blue Lake. Please rank you top six choices in order of preference (1 - 6) on your application.

Art: Assist art faculty by guiding students with projects and aiding teachers with class materials. Focus areas include drawing, painting, print making, ceramics, sculpture, and fiber arts. Background in studio art preferred.

Band or Orchestra: Assist conductor of assigned ensemble with attendance, set-up, tear-down, music folders, rehearsal discipline, and other tasks. Experience in instrumental ensembles preferred.

Piano: Assist piano teachers with music, class materials, attendance, practice schedules, and monitoring practice rooms. Background in piano required.

Choir: Assist choral conductor with attendance, set-up & tear-down, music distribution, rehearsal discipline, and other tasks. Participate in ensemble rehearsals if desired.

Dance: Assist dance faculty with attendance, preparation for classes, class discipline, and maintaining studio. Experience in ballet preferred. Performance opportunities may be available to those with significant dance training.

Jazz: Assist Jazz Band conductors with rehearsal needs, including music, set-up, equipment, attendance. Jazz experience and improvisational skills preferred.

Theater: Assist theater faculty with class preparation and materials, set and prop needs, attendance, and class discipline. Theatrical experience preferred.

Harp: Assist harp faculty with class preparation, including teaching materials, music, attendance, harp tuning, and maintenance. Harp experience preferred but not required. Advanced harpists who qualify may have chamber music and large ensemble performing opportunities based upon repertoire and other needs. Please inquire during interview.

Junior Camp (Camp Bernstein) Sectional Teacher: Teach daily sectionals and/or technique classes to Junior Camp students. Emphasis is on basic techniques, repertoire, and motivation. Previous teaching experience and/or degree in music preferred. Recorded audition required. Specific positions available for String, Brass, Woodwind, or Percussion. Please list specific interest on your application.

Junior Camp (Camp Bernstein) Minor Teacher: Teach daily enrichment classes to Junior Camp students. Emphasis is on creativity, building self-esteem, and learning basic techniques. Previous teaching experience and/or degree preferred. Specific positions for Nature Studies, Art, Choir, Jazz Studies, Music History, and Theater. Please list specific interest on your application.

Junior Camp (Camp Bernstein) Minor Assistant: Assist Bernstein Minor teachers with daily enrichment classes for Junior Campers, including Nature Studies, Art, Choir, Jazz, Music History, and Theater. Please list specific interest on your application.

Central Camp Minor Teacher: Please list specific interest on your application.

Campfire Guitar: Teach daily enrichment class in a casual setting, providing students a forum for learning and sharing traditional campfire songs.

Nature Studies: Teach a daily class in Nature Studies by using the camp’s trails and curriculum based upon natural features inventory completed by local Nature Conservancy.

Health & Fitness: Working with Dance faculty, lead a daily class in personal maintenance for young artists, focusing on techniques such as pilates, yoga, aerobics, stretching and conditioning, time and stress management, and healthy lifestyle. Experience in fitness or phys. ed. preferred.

Camp Crafts: Work with other staff and Art faculty to lead campers in constructing traditional summer camp crafts.

Creative Writing: Lead the Creative Writing minor by implementing daily lesson plans for the creative writing. Prepare class materials as necessary, and work with students individually as needed. Background in English and/or Creative Writing preferred.

Central Camp Minor Assistant: Please list specific interest on your application.

Try a New Instrument: Assist faculty with instructing instrumental students in learning instruments from different groups. Assignment includes Woodwind, Brass, or String.

Conducting: Assist faculty in introducing students to the basic elements of instrumental conducting through observation, score analysis, and practice.

Composition: Assist instrumental faculty in introducing students to the basic elements of musical composition through listening, analysis, and practice in composing.

Music Theory: Assist faculty in guiding and tutoring students in basic music theory. Background in theory preferred.

Fiddling: Assist faculty in introducing students to the fun of various styles of fiddling. All string instrumentalists welcome.

World Music: Assist faculty in introducing students to a wide range of ethnic, cultural, and folk music genres through listening, analysis, and discussion.

Radio Broadcasting: Assist radio personnel in introductory class in broadcasting taught at Blue Lake’s public radio station. Background in broadcast coursework or experience preferred.

Recreation Assistant: Coach students in organized team sports, such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, football, ultimate frisbee, water polo, water volleyball, and other non-traditional team building games. Supervise campers in a wide range of daily recreational activities. Experience preferred but not required.

Brass, Woodwind, String, or Percussion Performer: Rehearse daily with Festival ensemble, receive professional coaching by faculty, and perform regularly in a staff chamber ensemble. Recorded audition required.

Vocal Performer: Rehearse regularly with staff ensembles, receive regular coaching by faculty, and perform throughout the summer season in recitals and larger performances. Recorded audition required.

Central Park Monitors: Work with a team of staff members to help supervise Blue Lake's central park area, including maintaining a pleasant atmosphere for campers, meeting students, addressing any concerns and promoting environmental awareness.

Life Guard: Guard at pools during camper and faculty swimming hours and assist Recreation Director with pool maintenance. Must be physically fit and a competent swimmer. Blue Lake will certify candidates.

Administrative Assistant: Assist Program Coordinator with camper attendance, clerical tasks, and other daily operation in the Administration Building. Clerical experience preferred.

Attendance Assistant: Work with the Attendance Coordinator and a team of other staff to process camper attendance throughout the morning or afternoon.

Please inquire directly with the Blue Lake Personnel Department (800) 221-3796 or for more details on these positions, including availability, salary, room & board, and application procedure. Please note that these positions require residency on the campus of Blue Lake.

Associate Staff Director: Work directly with administrative leadership to assist counseling staff with needs and concerns, and assist with administrative duties as requested. Supervise all session breaks, stay-over and early-arrival campers, and camper transportation. Extensive experience with Blue Lake counseling and administration required.

Camp Bernstein Director: Work directly with the administrative leadership to plan the Junior Camp's schedule and activities and maintain its ideals. Supervise a staff of 22 counselors in a variety of duties. Extensive experience with Blue Lake counseling and administration required.

Health Lodge Director: Work together with Director of Health Services to supervise health staff, maintain work schedule, communicate with camper parents, and complete other duties as assigned. Previous experience at Blue Lake required, experience at Health Lodge preferred. Minimum certification: American Red Cross Emergency Medical Responder.

Recreation Director: Supervise, coordinate, and promote all camper recreation offerings. Maintain and supervise use of all camp pools. Train and supervise staff of 15 - 20 life guards and eight recreation assistants. Serve as Health Officer and provide leadership to Health Lodge. Supervisory and training experience preferred. Minimum certification required: American Red Cross Life Guard; Life guard Management; CPR-PR and Standard First Aid.

Festival Band or Orchestra - comprised of professional musicians, music educators, and select staff, these ensembles perform regularly throughout the Summer Arts Festival and rehearse on a daily basis during performance weeks.

Staff Symphonic Band - comprised of graduate and undergraduate music majors, minors, and other staff members who qualify, this ensemble performs four times during the summer season and rehearses five times per two-week session.

Faculty Jazz Ensemble - comprised primarily of professional jazz musicians and educators, this ensemble performs several times throughout Blue Lake's Jazz Festival. Staff positions are based on instrumentation needs and are extremely limited.

Staff Jazz Ensemble - comprised of graduate and undergraduate music majors, minors, and other staff who qualify, this ensemble will rehearse regularly throughout the summer and will perform as a part of Blue Lake's jazz festival, as well as other performances.

Staff Choir - comprised of music majors, minors, and other staff with interest, this ensemble will rehearse regularly throughout the summer and will perform regularly in chapel services and staff recitals.

Staff Chamber Ensembles (vocal ensemble, brass quintet, string quartet, woodwind quintet, etc.) - comprised of staff members who qualify, these groups receive regular coaching from faculty.  They rehearse regularly throughout the summer and may audition to perform in the Staff Recital and/or Showcase.  Select ensembles may also be requested to perform for junior campers, throughout Blue Lake's Summer Arts Festival, and during chapel services.

Staff Solo Competition - Instrumentalists and vocalists are given the opportunity to audition for Blue Lake's staff solo competition during the beginning of the summer.  The selected winner will solo during a staff recital for the camp community, and will receive a professional recording session at Blue Lake Public Radio.

Sectional and Technique Teacher at Junior Camp (Camp Bernstein) -  Teach daily sectional/technique classes to Junior Camp students, working with conducting staff to emphasize basic techniques, repertoire, and motivation.  Candidates for these limited positions are typically instrumental music education majors in their later, more advanced years of study.  Teaching or student teaching experience, and/or music degree preferred. 

Camp Bernstein Cabin Counselors are involved with students' instruction as well as recreation and basic camp supervision in order to advocate a close relationship of student to teacher. Counselors and conductors both help to promote a friendly and fun atmosphere for learning about music and the other fine arts.

Recorded Audition Preparation

A recorded audition is required for Blue Lake staff candidates who wish to audition to perform in ensembles or teach at the Junior Camp.  It is in your interest as an applicant to submit a recorded audition along with your completed staff application.  If it is necessary to submit a recording separately, we strongly recommend that it arrive in our office as soon as possible. While we can speak in general terms about employment and performance/teaching opportunities without your audition, applicants cannot be considered for specific positions until materials are complete, including the recorded audition and three recommendations.  Audition recordings may be submitted electronically or through the mail via audio CD.  For details on audition requirements and audition recordings submissions, visit




“I had a wonderful experience this summer. It was so nice to be in such a positive atmosphere surrounded by people who are fully invested in their work and the campers. I was impressed by the support network that exists, and it helped reassure me to know that there was always someone to turn to when I had a question or concern about a situation at camp. Having never been to Blue Lake previously, I enjoyed seeing the variety of opportunities that campers have during the course of just one session. I also appreciate the emphasis that Blue Lake places on the character development of both campers and staff; it is a great learning experience.”

“I had a wonderful time.  I learned a lot about myself, and communicating with others.”

“It was amazing and lifechanging. I learned so much about myself and others.”

“The people who work at this place make it everything that is so great. Having that constant support system mixed with people who are genuinely your friends creates an atmosphere that I personally thrived upon.”

“I do appreciate all that I have learned and experienced over the summer. I highly value the relationships and lessons that I have gained in working at Blue Lake. I do intend to reapply for next summer, and am considering the International Program as well. I love working with others, teaching children, performing music, and challenging myself- Blue Lake was a good fit.”

“Overall my experience at Blue Lake was wonderful and even more than I had hoped for. The people I met were wonderful and the experience I gained working with children will be incredibly valuable as I continue working towards a degree in education. I really hope to come back again next summer.”

“This was probably the most beneficial experience of any that I've had for my chosen career of music education. The other staff and campers were great to work with, and the performing ensembles allowed me to keep playing and improving on my instrument. It was wonderful to be around so many like-minded people.”

“At Blue Lake I felt an incredible feeling of support from the administration, my fellow counselors, and especially my unit director. The philosophy of the camp was so deeply embedded in every rule and procedure that things just made sense. This allowed the campers to thrive and staff to celebrate the growth of the kids. I am extremely appreciative of my time at Blue Lake and the wonderful memories I made at camp.”

“This was an incredible experience for me as a future music educator- being able to lead sectionals, work as a rehearsal assistant, and perform in staff/faculty ensembles in addition to counseling duties/being with the campers was incredible. I feel I've taken so much from my work with Blue Lake that will be relevant in my career. I felt the staff had an excellent support network and that if I needed help, advice, etc. I would get it. THANK YOU!”

“Wonderful! I did not want to leave. I've never had such a hard time tearing myself away from a place.”

“I loved it here. It was never a job for me. This is the perfect place for the person that I am and I absolutely loved the feeling of gratification I got from making a difference in the lives of those campers.”

“I felt I learned so much about myself and how to work with children a lot better. I was unsure if I could really be a teacher and after this I feel more confident with my career path. Being able to share my art and help children grow in theirs was extremely rewarding.”

“Absolutely life changing. I have never been in an environment as enriching and encouraging as this one was. Everything that I did during my time at Blue Lake was able to teach me something.”

“The sense of community and safety that is really encouraged to all the campers is a strong point, as well as the chain of command for the counselors and staff. I also believe that the campers are learning a lot from the environment and schedule that we set up, so that they are more independent and prepared for life.”

“There is always a support system if something happens and a counselor isn't sure exactly how to deal with it. The warm atmosphere among the staff and administration makes cooperation very easy. Blue Lake as a whole is very philosophically consistent in its message and daily operation.”

“I have been working towards becoming a music teacher for a few years, and over the past year I was experiencing doubts about it. Getting to experience Blue Lake and be immersed in music and the arts and working with the campers gave me more than I ever expected. Of the MANY rewarding aspects, the most rewarding was fitting in. It was realizing that I'm in the right place, doing the right thing with my life, and that I can do it well (and if I can't, that I will figure out how to do it better). I was terrified that I would burn out, shut down, not make it through the summer, and although there were many days that felt like a slap in the face, I always felt like it was worth it to keep going. I've always known I am capable of working hard and doing things well, but I had never felt the inspiration that I found working with the campers, counselors, associates, directors, and everyone else at Blue Lake. There is nothing like being told you gave someone an amazing experience, inspired them, or taught them something they'll never forget. I experienced all of this over the summer, and it's given me direction and purpose for the upcoming years of my life.”

“I love seeing the joy that my campers have in camp. Getting letters throughout the summer from past campers and seeing the smiles my girls have when they return after their final concerts on Final Sunday to give me one last hug justify everything I do on a daily basis. Closing Activities on Saturday night always help me to realize how much camp is not MAINLY about growing as an artist or a musician but rather it is greatly about how these campers grow as humans. It always struck me when I was a camper here how much I came not just to grow as a musician but to meet others who are passionate in their arts in the same way I always have been. I love to see a cohesive cabin that I have created finish off a session and all talk about how they will keep in touch. I also find unclogging toilets to be rewarding. I just find my job to rewarding in general.”

  1. Complete the staff application and return it to the Director of Student Services.

  2. Request that all recommendation forms be mailed directly* to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp as soon as possible. *Forms will not be accepted unless they come directly from the evaluator.

    General Recommendation Form
    Music Recommendation Form

  3. Include with your application a photocopy of necessary certification, if applicable.

  4. Include with your application an audition recording, if applicable.

  5. Only applicants with all required information on file will be considered for an interview.

  6. Selected applicants with completed files will be contacted by a Blue Lake for an initial telephone interview.

For questions on the application procedure, please call 800-221-3796!