KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Summer is right around the corner, and summer program directors are in search of employees.​

“We provide camp to about 500 to 600 kids here in the Knox County community,” said Bekah Grace the Cansler YMCA Executive Director.

The YMCA in Knox County has a summer packed full of activities for their kids.

“They get to do field trips once a week, they swim once a week. Of course, there are arts and crafts and games and recreations. The cool thing about them is that we build in social and emotional learning,” said Grace.

Their camps run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. but they need more people to help.

“One of the big things we need is staff,” Grace explained. “So everybody right now it seems like is hiring, but we need to be able to provide care and we can’t do that without more staff.”

The YMCA’s starting pay is $12.50 an hour and employees must have a high school degree or be at least 18 years old.

“Anybody who’s thinking about joining the YMCA staff team in the summer, right now for our childcare councilors for day camp, we have a $500 sign-on bonus. So if you may not be eligible or this isn’t the job for you but you know someone, we even have a $250 referral bonus,” said Grace.

Over at the Pigeon Forge Community Center, Austin Mccarter, the City Of Pigeon Forge Recreation Program Manager said, “we’re struggling with staff.” 

“Usually we have about 7 part-time counselors. Right now I have two,” said Mccarter.

They have around 50-55 kids signed up for their program but need more people to sign up as counselors.

“Counselors are $14 an hour Monday through Friday, guaranteed forty hours a week, and then overtime it needs be,” McCarter adds.

Both the community center and YMCA directors are hoping a fun summer calendar is just another reason people will apply for the job.

“It’s really just a job to have fun and just hang out with the kids, and just make memories and be that staff or be those counselors that the kids look up to,” said McCarter. 

To apply to be a counselor in Pigeon Forge, the city requires a valid driver’s license and for applicants to be at least 18 years old.

The YMCA said after their summer camps, employees will have an opportunity to join their childcare team where they work with various Knox County Schools. They add that if they are able to hire more counselors, that could allow for more kids to sign up.

You can sign up to be a YMCA summer camp counselor here. To find out about summer opportunities with the City Of Pigeon Forge, click here