Position Type: Volunteer
Support staff are staff members designated to address the social and emotional needs of campers, especially in situations where activity or cabin counselors are unable to provide individualized attention and support. The primary focus of support staff is on individual campers and their needs, although they are also encouraged to offer support to fellow staff when appropriate (and within reason). Support staff are the “first point of contact” for sensory issues, overwhelm, anxiety, and other occasions when a camper must exit a structured activity or setting they are expected to be in, and provide alternatives such as a quiet space, conversation partner, or fidget toy. Support staff may also be asked to sub in for cabin counselors or activity staff who need unexpected breaks outside of their usual times.
Support staff are compassionate individuals who can tune in to the needs of the campers, communicate the needs of campers externally (to the Health Center, Mental Health Support, Support Team Lead, or Directors), and provide ongoing follow up with campers to ensure they feel heard and accommodated.
Support staff are not mental health professionals or social workers. Support staff will not be expected to perform in the capacity of such professionals, and must act as a conduit to camp nursing or mental health staff when camper needs extend beyond their skills, expertise, education, and licensure. This includes diagnosis (including suggestion of diagnosis or drawing parallels between campers and individuals with a diagnosis), and treatment (including managing a mental health crisis or discussing significant trauma).
In most cases, support staff will be in a cabin helping build the cabin community, but may also have a stronger focus on support during activities.
This is a volunteer position.
A non-exhaustive list of responsibilities includes:
Operate in shifts of being “on call” for support needs during the day.
Identify campers in need of additional support, and communicate with cabin counselors and campers themselves to address their needs or connect them to the most appropriate professional.
Provide campers with alternatives to structured activities when necessary to address emotional and sensory needs, such as finding a quiet space or providing a fidget toy.
Document interactions and follow up with relevant staff members, including cabin counselors, mental health staff, support team lead, and nursing staff.
Support or rotate between activities to identify campers who may benefit from a support team member.
Advocate for the needs of the camper/s and follow up to make sure camper needs are being met.
Serve as an additional adult in a cabin, helping build the cabin community and assisting the cabin counselors.
For example, your day might look something like this:
Time Campers Cabin Staff
7:30 Wake Up Wake up
7:30 – 8:30 Getting Ready Get ready, check in with campers (as requested by cabin staff)
8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast Eating with campers
9:45 – 11:15 Activity 1 Present at activity, “on call” for support needs
11:30 – 1:00 Activity 2 Present at activity, “on call” for support needs
1:00 – 2:00 Lunch Eating with campers
2:00 – 3:30 Activity 3 BREAK
3:30 – 5:00 Free time BREAK
5:00 – 6:00 Cabin time In cabin with campers (as requested by cabin staff)
6:00 – 7:00 Dinner Eating with campers
7:00 – 7:30 Chores Monitoring chores
7:30 – 9:30 All camp activity Present at activity, “on call” for support needs
9:30 – 10:30 Cabin time In cabin with campers (as requested by cabin staff)
11:00 Lights out Getting campers to bed
The Support Team will operate in shifts of being “on call” for support needs during the day. Support staff may sign up to lead activities, but note that activity blocks will primarily be for breaks, or for conducting rounds of activities providing support as needed. All staff must keep at least 1 activity block free as a break.
Things you’re likely to encounter as a Camp Staff Member in a typical camp week
muddy or uneven ground
inclement weather including high temps or humidity/thunderstorms
unexpected situations like power outages
wildlife such as frogs/raccoons/deer/bats
Campers with sensory needs
As staff, you will provide a good example for interacting with the environment of camp. The listed items, while may be stressful, uncomfortable, or unfamiliar, are not inherently unsafe. Being in new situations can be an opportunity for growth and learning for both you and our campers and you are expected to provide a role model for campers in experiencing new situations with a positive attitude.
Traversing up to half a mile at a time (with or without reasonable accommodation), likely multiple times a day
Navigating uneven terrain (with or without reasonable accommodation) such as muddy trails with tree roots, gravel paths, inclines, stairs
Accurately exchanging information with other staff members and campers in a timely way
Remaining present for all assigned shifts
Exceptions to these requirements can be made with permission from the director, and as long as all camper and staff needs are met.