Camp DeSoto Staff

Basic Facts for Summer Employment

About Camp DeSoto

Camp DeSoto is a privately-owned, Christian summer camp for girls 8 to 16. Camp DeSoto was established in 1925 and has been operating the Camp program we enjoy today since 1945.

Camp DeSoto is owned and operated by the Hurt family. Phil and Marsha Hurt are the owners and Executive Directors of Camp DeSoto and have been part of Camp’s leadership for the over 30 years. They share the leadership of Camp with their daughter Sarah, who became the Camp Director in 2020. She has been helping lead Camp since graduating from Wake Forest University in 2010, and she served as the Assistant Director for five years.

The Hurts feel called to love girls and help them grow through Camp DeSoto. It is their deepest joy to provide a wholesome, playful, Christian environment in which both campers and staff can experience God’s deep love, build lasting friendships, and discover the gifts they have with which to love and serve others.


Mentone, Alabama, is located on Lookout Mountain, 45 miles southwest of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and 100 miles northeast of Birmingham, Alabama.

Requirements for Staff Applicants

Camp DeSoto seeks to hire distinctly loving, Christian college women to serve on our summer staff. Applicants for a staff position must have completed their first year of college (unless they have received special permission from the Directors.) Program Staff applicants must be available for the entire summer season, as well as any additional training dates required for their specific activity assignment. SERVE Staff applicants must be available for the entirety of Staff Training and the term for which they are applying. DeSoto staff members are role models for young girls, and applicants should be mindful of living with integrity in all areas of life, both within the Camp context as well as in their college lives.

Program Staff Responsibilities

The Program Staff is made up of cabin/activity counselors and the leadership team. Program Staff generally teach four 50-minute activity periods per day. This involves teaching specific skills, managing groups of children, and providing for their safety and well-being. Essential functions include timeliness, preparation, moderate physical activity, ability to communicate verbally, and enthusiasm.

Program Staff who are also cabin counselors (i.e. anyone not on the leadership team) live in cabins with campers, providing leadership, encouragement, and help. Any time not spent teaching an activity is time to spend with campers, getting to know and enjoy them both as individuals and as a group. Cabin counselors conduct cabin devotions nightly, plan Sunday cabin time, and oversee cabin life in general.

Members of the leadership team serve as activity heads and small group leaders for cabin counselors and SERVE staff. These staff members live in a staff cabin, and in addition to teaching and planning for activities, they are responsible to help execute and lead various Night Activities, Special Events and Out of Camp Trips. (Positions on the leadership team are offered by the Directors to Program Staff applicants with the desired qualifications.)

SERVE Staff Responsibilities

SERVE Staff is for individuals who feel called to be a part of the overall ministry and work of Camp DeSoto by serving in the Dining Hall. SERVE staff consists of approximately 10-12 staff members who work under the leadership of the Head of SERVE Staff. These women live together in Dogwood, the SERVE Staff cabin. SERVE staff members also teach one activity period and participate in a Small Group study with Marsha. Essential functions for SERVE Staff include timeliness, physical exhertion, repetitive tasks and attention to detail, ability to communicate verbally, and enthusiasm.

SERVE Staff is a position of service and hard work. It is also a position of high satisfaction and plenty of Camp fun. While all of Camp is focused on helping campers experience the fullness of Christian community, it is our hope that through the work of the SERVE Staff, girls will see new dimensions of the love of Christ and gain a deeper understanding of Christian service.

Time Off

Program Staff have one activity period off each day and at least one night off each week. SERVE Staff members have time off in-between each meal and at least one night off each week. On a night off you are free from your responsibilities from 5:30 p.m. until 12:00 midnight. Your daily free period will be assigned by the Program Office. You can count on this time off for your own personal refreshment and enjoyment. Your night out is your choice, to the extent that it works with Camp’s schedule and that of your co-counselor or fellow SERVE Staff members. Nights out should not be taken consecutively without prior permission from the Directors. Nights out cannot be taken on Sunday nights and certain Special Event nights. Both Program Staff and SERVE staff are also assigned one half day off per term, as well as a short break between Camp terms.


We employ a laundry service to handle camper laundry, and Staff are welcome to use this service (one bundle/week) at no cost.

Wedding Leave

Camp DeSoto allows a staff member to have one wedding leave during her time of employment if she is in the wedding party, provided the dates are workable with the Camp schedule. Any wedding leave needs to be approved before signing your contract. If granted a wedding leave, you will be allowed two nights away from Camp. This leave replaces your nights out for the week. If you can attend in less time, we would appreciate your doing so. This plan is for those in a wedding. This does not include leaves for debutante activities, family reunions, or weddings you would like to attend. No wedding leaves are granted during Pre-Camp Training for first-time staff members, heads of activities, or other staff essential to that week of preparation for the summer.

Staff Visitors

Due to your activity schedule and cabin responsibilities, staff are not allowed to have visitors at Camp. The best way for you to enjoy visitors is on a night off. If you have out-of-town visitors during the summer, you may take two consecutive nights out with special permission from the Directors.

Telephone and Email

Staff members may use their cell phones during off periods or any other free time. However, cell phones are to be used in the C-Hut only (or outside of Camp entirely.) Please note that not all cellular services receive a strong signal at Camp, but most people can get a strong signal by driving to Brow Park (about 3 minutes from Camp.) Because staying in touch is important and phone access is so limited at Camp, please give Camp’s mailing address to your friends and family: Your name, Camp DeSoto, P.O. Box 432, Mentone, AL 35984.

Internet access is not available at Camp; however, several local establishments provide wireless service that you can access during a free period or night off. Laptops, tablets, and any other technological devices should be kept in the C-Hut at all times; they may be used in the C-Hut or outside of Camp.

Personal Belongings

Camp DeSoto is not responsible for personal belongings you bring to Camp that might be damaged or stolen. You may bring such items (e.g. computer, phone, guitar, bicycle, tennis racquet, etc.), but you will need to take responsibility for their safekeeping. Computers, cell phones, tablets, and any other technological devices, including smart watches and fitness trackers, should be used and stored in the C-Hut only.

Most staff members will bring a car to Camp. There will be a place to park your car on the campgrounds, but you will be responsible for the valuables left in your vehicle.


The base pay for a Program staff member who has completed her first year of college is $2,150.00, before taxes. The base pay for a SERVE Staff member is $1,250.00 for a one-month term and pre-camp or $2,300.00 for both terms and pre-camp. There is an increase of $75.00 for each additional year of school completed. Anyone bringing significant experience or certified expertise will receive additional pay, which will be stated on her contract. A former DeSoto staff member will receive an additional $100.00 for her expertise. Staff members will be able to draw salary advances during the summer for spending-money. You will receive the balance of your salary in one paycheck at the end of the summer.

Staff Behavior

Camp DeSoto is a Christian community and our counselors serve as role models to young girls. We expect a great deal from our staff because of the significant impact and influence Camp DeSoto counselors have on campers. We ask each staff member to exhibit careful behavior in every aspect of her life: in her cabin at Camp as well as at football tailgates, in face to face interactions as well as in her social media presence. As a Staff member, your behavior, both at college and at Camp, will be noticed by campers from the time you are hired forward. Part of Camp’s mission is to provide girls with a safe, protected place that allows them to enjoy childhood and encourages them not to grow up too quickly. Joining Camp DeSoto Staff means you are willing to take on the responsibility that comes with being a role model to these campers.

  1. Use of alcohol and illegal drugs is prohibited during your time of employment at Camp DeSoto, both during your time in Camp and your time off.
  2. Possession or use of weapons, including firearms, is prohibited on Camp property except in organized and supervised camp activities using camp equipment under the supervision of trained supervisors.
  3. Camp DeSoto is a non-smoking facility. If you are in the habit of smoking, this needs to be discussed with the Directors prior to signing your contract.
  4. All counselors are required to sign out when leaving Camp and to sign in when returning to Camp. Your night-out curfew is 12:00 midnight.
  5. If you have dealt with an eating disorder at any time during your life, we ask that you discuss this with one of us before coming to Camp. This conversation is for your protection and success as a staff member. The rhythms and routines of Camp can be helpful in your recovery, or the group meals and lack of control over your own schedule can be triggering, depending on your specific experiences. We want to be able to speak candidly with you about that so that you can take good care of both campers and yourself.
  6. Your social networking profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc may be reviewed by Camp staff. Language and photographs on these sites should be G-rated and viewable by campers, parents, other staff, Camp’s administration, and even the most prim and proper grandmothers. Please be mindful of what you post, and be aware that you may be asked to remove posts that do not reflect the values of Camp DeSoto.
  7. At Camp we take a break from many of the things we normally enjoy in order to fully enjoy the Camp setting and all it offers. Restrictions on music, technology, clothing, personal belongings, and time are made in light of what is good for campers and for the community as a whole. These limitations can enhance your summer experience and provide you with a wonderful removal only found at Camp.
Camp Closing

First Term ends on Tuesday, July 4th. First Term SERVE Staff members will be able to leave by 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4th. Second Term ends on Tuesday, August 1st. All Staff will be able to leave Camp no later than 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1st.