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Counselor In Training

Alumni counselors are integral to the magic of Wild Earth Summer Camp. This important step begins with our Counselor in Training (CIT) program. The job of a CIT is to learn–through observation and direct mentorship–everything counselors do to make camp successful. As members of the Wild Earth staff, CITs are not only present at camp itself but join in on all the behind-the-scenes trainings and daily planning/debrief meetings.  

If you’re thinking about making the switch from camper to Counselor in Training, it’s worth considering the following: Whereas campers can focus only on their own needs and experiences, Counselors in Training are expected to actively consider and care for the needs of campers. This can be a lot for anyone, and we at Wild Earth encourage teens to enjoy the carefree nature of being a camper for as long as they desire. Teens are welcome to participate in Red Tailed Hawk Teen Leadership Camp for as many years as they like and are not expected to move into a CIT role unless they feel both excited and ready to do so.

In addition to feeling personally prepared to be a CIT, applicants should meet these requirements:

    • 14 years old by the first day of camp and completed one of the following:
      • 1 summer of Red Tailed Hawk Teen Leadership Camp
      • 1 year of Ropes Year-Round Program


    • 15 years old by the first day of camp and completed one of the following:
      • 1 summer of Red Tailed Hawk Teen Leadership Camp
      • 1 year of Ropes Year-Round Program
      • Experience working with youth
      • Equivalent leadership experiences


    • Is available for:
      • A virtual interview
      • The entirety of a session of camp
      • Required training and orientation dates

How To Apply:

1. Complete Wild Earth’s Summer Camp Job Application by February 1st. Please make sure to look at the dates carefully with your guardian to make sure you have the availability to attend all the dates of the session you are applying for. Late applications will be reviewed, however, positions may already be filled.

2. Upon completing your application, you will receive an email from our staff for the next steps in the process. Interviews for new applicants will take place between February and March. Although we hope to let all applicants know of their acceptance by the end of March, specific camp placements may not be made until as late as May, shortly before the start of camp.

A note: We are excited to announce that, beginning this summer, both first- and second- year CITs will be paid for their participation in the CIT program! We offer this in recognition of the many contributions that CITs make to their camp teams, even as they are “in training” to become full counselors. In tandem with this switch to compensating first-year CITs, we will be limiting the number of positions available, prioritizing candidates who can attend all trainings and camp dates and who feel genuinely ready to take on the responsibilities of being a CIT (e.g., considering campers’ needs alongside their own, proactively communicating with their camp teams, participating in planning, etc.). Although this may mean that not all applicants will become CITs the first time they apply, it will also help us to ensure that we have staff and resources enough to fully support each CIT’s learning and development.

CIT Responsibilities:


    • Arrive to the program on time, with your gear and materials ready
    • Maintain a basic understanding of Wild Earth policies and Emergency procedures
    • Support your lead by offering to facilitate activities in your group, or by offering to take care of small group tasks such as: setting up tarps, collecting wood, or starting a fire
    • Provide your team with as much notice of any absences

Physical Safety

    • Know and understand the hazards of the land you are working on 
    • Read and review knife safety
    • Model safe behavior
    • Report anything questionable to your fellow staff to help you assess (ex. “Is it ok for them to be throwing rocks over there?” or “This camper asked to walk down to the water over there is that ok?”)
    • Report any injuries, falls, ticks or anything in need of first aid to the lead staff

Emotional Safety

    • Model and uphold the group culture of respect and inclusion
    • Look for kids not having the best time, feeling left out, or any behavioral issues and communicate this to your lead staff
    • Report to lead instructor (or Program Coordinator) when situations feel unusual, unsafe or confusing
    • Supporting Disruptive Behavior
    • If a child is exhibiting disruptive behaviors that compromise the safety and the well being of themselves or anyone else in the group, alert the lead most instructor of your group to de-escalate and bring everyone to a space of safety. During this time, assistants may support in a number of ways
    • Tend to those impacted by the incident, depending on the severity of the incident
    • Lead or assist a game or activity while coinstructors work with the student exhibiting challenging behaviors
    • Sit with the student who is exhibiting disruptive behaviors, as long as it is safe to do so, making sure to be in eye shot of the group
    • If you were there for the incident that needs reporting,meet with program coordinator, lead instructor and/or join a phone call with parent/guardian to provide any necessary details of the incident
    • Debrief the incident with the team

Planning & Activities

    • Join your co-staff for planning meetings
    • Stay engaged!
    • Ask your lead where you can be useful during an activity (ie. “Where will I be most helpful during hawks and robins?” or “What should I do while you are telling the story?”
    • Set goals that build up to leading an activity
    • Join in on games and activities when appropriate, sometimes it may be your job to just run and play with the campers

Communication and Feedback

    • Ask lots of questions and write down all non-urgent questions to be answered with your staff during debrief.
    • Communicate any needs or concerns with the lead staff
    • Set goals for yourself in areas you wish to improve-regularly check in on them
    • Seek Feedback from your co-instructors

Posted in: General Job FAQ

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