Competition for summer counselor and parks maintenance jobs should be fierce again this year, officials in the county's Department of Recreation and Parks predict.
Applications for jobs at the county's 52 summer playgrounds have come in at a rate of about four or five forevery available position, said Kathy Kremer, the department's recreation supervisor.
"It's a sign of the times, that everyone is looking," Kremer said. "Most of these are low-paying, but some people are willing to take them just to have income in the summer."
The department is seekingplayground directors, assistant directors, senior counselors, juniorcounselors and activity specialists to work with children between 5 1/2 and 12 years old at county elementary schools.
High school andcollege students typically account for more than half of the 200 positions, some of which start at minimum wage.
The program, which runs for six weeks each summer from the end of June, started 15 years ago with 20 children at one playground and has grown to 52 sites serving 3,200 children.
The department will also hire summer workers tostaff day camps, county parks and other recreation facilities such as the Arundel Olympic Swim Center on Riva Road, said Christine Coffin, department spokeswoman.
Field maintenance jobs open at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans, at Randazzo Softball Park in Severn and at eachcounty park. Officials hire more than 75 counselors for summer day camps at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis and Downs Park in Pasadena; for the science camp at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian; for the living history camp at Londontown Publik House Park in Edgewater; andfor the special-needs camp at Mayo Beach Park.
But in many cases,employees from the previous summer return, including teachers who fill director jobs, leaving precious few openings, Kremer said.
Lastyear, the department got more applications than ever.
Applicants for summer playgrounds, who should have some experience with children, will be required to take a test, and the last one is scheduled for May 9. Officials will then start interviewing and hire by the end of May.
If they're unable to land a recreation and parks job, students might have better luck in fast food, especially during the summer, when sales increase.
"Fast food has traditionally had a problem with crew turnover," said Polly Albright, a marketing director for the Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers franchise in Maryland, Washington and Northern Virginia. "It's a constant. We're hiring."