Financial Information for Summer Staff
Learn more about summer staff wages, paychecks, and the Bless the Staff program that can add up to $150 to your weekly wages.
- Salary FAQs
- Hourly FAQs
- Taxes and Withholding FAQs
- Bless the Staff program
- Bless the Staff program resources
Summer Staff Wage Information
Most summer camp jobs require the staff members to stay at Highland as part of the staff team from Sunday to Friday each week. These are ‘salary’ positions; housing and meals are provided, and a weekly salary is paid. Salaried staff will be paid based on the number of days they work in a 2-week pay period. A few jobs can be ‘hourly’ positions in certain circumstances if the staff member commutes in. Housing and meals are not included for hourly workers, and they will need to keep a record of their hours each pay period.
How is my salary calculated? Can I get a raise?
Each year there will be a standard salary for each different job. Your salary will be named in your work agreement at the beginning of the summer, and will stay constant through the end of that camp season. Returning staff will get a $5 increase to the standard weekly salary each year they return. (For example, if a first-year staff member has a weekly salary of $255, a third-year staff member serving in that same role would have a weekly salary of $255+5+5, or $265.)
What will I see on my paychecks?
The weekly salary assumes a full week of camp, Sunday to Friday, with campers. Because not every week is exactly the same, the actual pay gets calculated as ‘salary days’, with the daily rate being the weekly salary divided by 6. During pre-camp training, the daily rate is reduced by a third. (For example, if your weekly salary is $270, you will be paid $270/6, or $45, for each day you work with campers, and $45 x 2/3, or $30, for each training day.) Each paycheck will reflect the number of full salary days and 2/3 salary days you worked in the previous 2 weeks.
So what will I actually earn this summer?
This chart can help you estimate your summer earnings (before taxes). Find your role and number of years on staff, and follow that across to see your weekly salary and estimated total wages for the summer (if you work the full summer). The last 3 columns refer to the Bless the Staff (BTS) program, described below.
What will my hourly wage be? Can I earn overtime?
Hourly wages will be determined based on your experience and level of responsibility. Your hourly rate will be named in your work agreement at the beginning of the summer, and will stay constant through the end of that camp season. Generally speaking, hourly workers will be part time only, but we do ask hourly workers to be careful to avoid working more than 40 hours in one week (Sunday to Saturday). If your supervisor does approve a few hours of overtime in a special circumstance, you will be paid 1.5 times your regular rate for those hours.
How do I report my hours in order to get paid?
Timesheets will be distributed to all hourly workers for each 2-week pay period. You’ll need to record when you start and end work, and note where you were working. You’ll add up your hours at the end of the two weeks and turn in your timesheet. Your supervisor will review your timesheet before your paycheck is prepared.
Can I eat with summer camp even though meals aren’t included in my compensation?
Yes, you can, but you will be asked to pay a small amount to help cover the cost of the food ($2.50 per meal). You’ll report how many meals you eat on your regular timesheets, and at the end of summer you’ll get a notice of how much you owe back to camp for those meals.
Taxes and Withholding FAQs
Why is my paycheck less than the amount I earned in the pay period?
All paychecks will have some taxes taken out. Your pay stub will show your current earnings and hours (which adds up to your gross pay), and below that the taxes that are withheld. You may be exempt from income tax withholding (Federal Withholding and SWHVA on your pay stub), but everyone pays a percentage of their earnings into Medicare and Social Security. Your net pay (the amount on your paycheck) is your gross pay minus these taxes.
How do I know if I’m exempt from income tax withholding?
If your total income in one year is low enough, you don’t have to pay income taxes. Summer staff are often exempt, especially if they don’t have other regular income in the rest of the year. The income threshold changes somewhat each year. Learn more about the current threshold and exemption on the Employment Forms & Paperwork page.
Bless the Staff Program
Because Highland Summer Camp is a ministry, we try to keep costs low to allow many campers to come and grow in their faith. That ministry focus is a great thing, but it unfortunately also means that summer staff wages are going to be lower than some other summer jobs, and we need to get a bit creative to help meet the financial needs of our dedicated summer staff. That’s where Highland's Bless the Staff (BTS) program comes in, giving summer staff members the opportunity to add $150 to your weekly salary by fundraising additional support.
Who is eligible to participate in the Bless the Staff program?
All seasonal, salaried staff who complete pre-camp training and serve at least 4 weeks with campers during one camp season may supplement their regular compensation (room, board, and salary) through participation in the BTS program.
How do I sign up for the Bless the Staff program?
As long as you are eligible to participate, all you need to do is start fundraising! You may ask friends, relatives, and church family for financial support, much as you would ask for support for a mission trip. Their donations can be made to the BTS program online or by check, and we will issue receipts to the donors for their tax-deductible gifts. We'll also keep track of the donations that are made in your name.
For some suggestions on how to fundraise, see the informational letters in the resources below.
How do I get money from the Bless the Staff program?
When your relatives or friends make a donation to the BTS program, they can list your name as the person they wish to support. 80% of every donation that is designated for you will be added to your final summer camp paycheck, up to a maximum of $150 per week worked. The remaining 20% and any surplus donations will be added to the general BTS fund, to be used for expenses associated with the program (about 7% helps cover the cost of payroll taxes on BTS distributions) or to help out other staff members.
NOTE: If you're setting a fundraising goal for yourself, make sure you consider the 20% that doesn't come to you. To calculate the actual amount you'd need to raise, divide the amount you want to receive by 80%. (For example, perhaps your goal is to receive an additional $100. If you do raise exactly $100, $20 will go to the general BTS fund and only $80 will go to you. To actually receive your goal amount, think about raising $100/0.80, or $125. In that case, $25 would go to the general BTS fund and $100 to you.) This chart can help you determine what your max BTS amount will be if you work every week possible, and what your fundraising goal should be to receive that amount. If you know you'll be taking some time off this summer, you'll need to adjust the math to reflect the number of weeks you will actually work.
We recognize that each staff member comes from their own unique situation. If you have an unusual financial need – whether it’s extra-large travel expenses to get to camp or a support base that’s stretched thin for some reason – talk to Dean Williams about it. He can help you evaluate your options, including the possibility of receiving a gift from the general BTS fund. 20% of all BTS donations go to the general BTS fund precisely so that it is possible for staff to receive a financial blessing even if they are unable to fundraise.
Bless the Staff program resources
Staff members will receive copies of the following letters when they are hired. Use these digital versions as reference or to print additional copies.
Informational Letter for Staff
This letter tells staff what to expect as their summer earnings and how much they can raise through the Bless the Staff program, and also provides suggestions on how to fundraise. The digital letter will not be personalized with your specific summer earnings, but this chart can help you fill in that blank.
Sample Personal Letter Template (a Word doc, so you can adapt the text)
Use this template as a starting point as you plan how to approach your family and friends to ask for prayer and financial support.
This is Highland’s fundraising letter to BTS donors, describing the Bless the Staff program and explaining how to donate. You can mail this letter to potential supporters, or have copies on hand when you approach people in person or share in your church.
Online donation page
If you’re contacting supporters by email, you can include a link to this page (highlandretreat.org/BTS) in place of the donor letter. It includes the same info as in the donor letter, and gives directions for donating online.