CLEVELAND — Tish Bowling, the vice president of Youth Development at the Greater Cleveland YMCA, said summer camps haven’t been full the last two years.

What You Need To Know

  • Cleveland-area YMCAs are offering incentives to attract camp counselors and lifeguards

  • Those incentives include higher pay and a $1,000 bonus.

  • The YMCA will also train and certify lifeguards 

But this year is different, and they’re expecting a full camp.

They need counselors. 

“The demand is very high," she said. "We’re not the only summer camp in the area, so there’s lots of summer camps. The competition is high, but we’re providing the best opportunity."

There will be bigger incentives than ever. The organization bumped the hourly pay to $14 an hour, with a $1,000 signing bonus. 

“This was to add a little bit more incentive for people to apply, as well as we want to raise the quality of individuals to apply," Bowling said. "You have to be 18 to hold a position in summer camp, and we’re reaching out to those in college who are interested in education because we’re providing intensive, comprehensive training."

That includes lifeguard training, which the YMCA will provide free to the applicant. Aquatics Coordinator James Mannion said participants just have to be 15-years-old by the end of the class and they can get certified. 

“One of my instructors down here, she didn’t have her certification more than a month ago, and she’s here in the water now with the kids," Mannion said. 

Bowling said they have plenty of openings, and that the $1,000 bonus is not paid up front. It’s broken up into increments. 

“Two-hundred and fifty after one month and the remaining at the end," she said. 

Bowling said this is a way to ensure the counselors and lifeguards stay for the full camp.