The closure of borders due to COVID-19 has drastically cut the number of New Zealanders heading to the US to work as camp counsellors at programmes such as Camp America.
But its organisers are hoping to turn the tide.
Vicki Kenny, the CEO of Camp America NZ, says only 70 young Kiwis have applied to work at the camps, down from at least 700 in previous years.
"The experience they have as camp counsellors is one which is hard to replicate in New Zealand," she says.
"The camp 'bubble' was a term coined well before COVID-19 bubbles and referred to the fact that being at camp was like being in a different world where everything was camp and you really have no idea what's going on in the real world.
"You teach kids a skill or sport and watch their confidence grow and their trust in you as a counsellor grows to a bond which means that they want you to come back and be their counsellor next season too."
The Kiwis are being missed by camp organisers in the US, too.
"Camps love Kiwis - they are hardworking and they speak English plus they have this can-do attitude. They also usually have strong water skills and nature skills like camping and tramping which we take for granted," Kenny says.
Normally as many as 10,000 Camp America counsellors travel to work at summer camp from the UK alone.
"Last year, Turkey and New Zealand were the only two countries to get staff to camp, and this year it looks like it's mainly Kiwis."
Some camps have even gone as far as offering to pay for all flights and MIQ costs just to get some counsellors from Aotearoa into the country, and they can get vaccinated upon arrival, or at any Walmart store.
Kenny says she's lucky as Camp America NZ has been around for 28 years so can withstand the pressure of COVID-19, but some of the smaller operators in the US don't have the same foundations.
"We work with some five star resorts, sending graduates to the USA on a 12 Month Visa for international working holidays, and most resorts are short by about 45-100 staff for this summer as they have not been able to find local staff to fill the gaps," Kenny says.
She says former counsellors often keep in touch with others they have met at the camp, with the camp bubble helping form lifelong bonds.
"Working as a tight team means you form really strong friendships, you learn about yourself and you grow in confidence due to the culture at camp, a long way from the tall poppy syndrome often experienced in New Zealand."