In anticipation of Levi’s last day of camp tomorrow, I posted this status update yesterday to my personal Facebook account:
Ok, moms. Levi’s first summer at day camp ends on Friday (nooooo!). What’s an appropriate amount/method to tip his counselor, JR counselor, and 2 CITs? Cash? Gift cards? How much?
My naivety sparked a heated discussion about tipping camp counselors among my friends. Interestingly, about half the responses fell into the “I didn’t know tipping camp staff was a thing!” category.
Of my friends who replied that they will tip their children’s camp counselors, almost all live in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. So maybe it’s a regional thing?
One of the NJ moms wrote that her daughters’ camp recommends $45-55 for Senior Counselors, $35-45 for Junior Counselors, $25-35 for Counselors-in-Training, and $10-20 for Bus Counselors for the full eight weeks. The camp also suggest prorating the amount if your child doesn’t attend for the whole summer.
In response, a mom from NY wrote that the tipping guidelines from her sons’ day camp are almost double that amount.
What nearly everyone agreed on, however, was that tips should be given in cash — not gift cards.
A quick Google search on the topic pulled up an article from Real Simple that suggests tipping counselors up to $10 a week if the camp permits tipping. Gratuity isn’t mentioned in our camp’s Parent Handbook, so my mom recommended I simply call the camp office and — wait for it — ask about the tipping policy. I don’t know why, but I feel weird doing that. Like, I should be savvy enough to not have to ask.
Obviously, I’m not.
I’d love to know what you think. How much should you tip camp counselors? Or is tipping counselors not a thing where you live?
PS – What a 4th of July celebration looks like at day camp.
(photo by Hannah Josovitz)