Why Work at Chewonki?

Why Work at a Summer Camp?

  • Have a lot of fun!
  • Make a lifelong impact on young people 
  • Develop your own lifelong friendships with staff from all over the world and be a part of a strong community
  • Build skills for your career. Camp provides the opportunity for significant leadership development in a job with more responsibility than other positions open to young adults. In a study that analyzed 5000+ job descriptions on LinkedIn, research found that the top skills employers are looking for perfectly match the skills gained as a camp counselor.
    • Hard skills: programming, planning, emergency preparedness, education, specialty training, inclusion and cultural competence
    • Soft skills: self awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making

How is working at Chewonki different from working at other camps?

  • We offer extensive staff training that prepares you for being the best leader possible. We cover all the topics listed as most important to camp staff in a large cross-camp staff survey.
  • Our leadership structures ensures high levels of support and attention and Chewonki maintains higher than standard staff to camper ratios 
  • You can explore magnificent Mid-Coast Maine and we help staff take advantage of our location on time off
  • Chewonki is a venerated educational institution with opportunities for growth and development within camp summer to summer or potential employment in other programs and access to an extensive and passionate alumni community. 
  • We offer high salaries and generous time off within the camping industry 
  • Chewonki’s year-round and summer teams include mental health professionals who help support campers and provide you with coaching and resources to do so.

What is Camp Chewonki?

Camp Chewonki began in 1915 as an all-boys saltwater adventure camp. Since then we have become an educational non-profit organization offering summer programs for all genders in the form of Camp Chewonki for Boys, Camp Chewonki for Girls, and Leadership Expeditions, and year-round school programs for local children, schools, and students from around the country. Every program focuses on personal growth, connection to the natural world, and developing community in small and large groups. Our summer camp programs range from 10 days to 5 weeks in length and serve children from just down the road and around the world.

Who works at Camp Chewonki?

Camp Chewonki staff members come from a variety of backgrounds:

  • Passionate educators, explorers, and artisans looking to share their craft with the next generation.
  • Former participants of a Chewonki program: Camp Chewonki, Maine Coast Semester, the Outdoor Classroom.
  • International staff employed through the J-1 visa program or those who are eligible to work in the U.S. with proper work authorization.

What are the dates of the camp program?

The employment period for Camp Chewonki is for up to nine weeks in the summer.

2024 Camp Season Dates:

  • Staff Training:
    • Trip Leaders: arrive & start June 7
    • Coordinators and Activity Counselors: arrive & start Saturday, June 8 
    • Cabin Counselors: arrive & start June 12
  • Session 1: Sunday, June 23 – Monday, July 15
  • Session 2: Friday, July 19 – Saturday, August 10
  • Staff may leave afternoon of August 11 or morning of August 12 once all end-of-season tasks are completed
  • Coordinator Team Debrief: August 12

What certifications do I need?

All of our activity staff and Coordinators are required to be certified in Wilderness First Aid (this includes basic first aid and CPR). Our Leadership Expedition trip leaders are required to be trained as Wilderness First Responders. Many of the Chewonki trip leaders are also Registered Maine Guides.

Courses are available at Chewonki before staff training begins for roles requiring those certifications. Some spaces may be available for other staff, but not guaranteed. 

Chewonki is offering the following certification courses prior to staff training in 2024:

  • Wilderness First Responder (minimum requirement for all trip leaders)
    • June 3 – June 7
  • WFR Recertification
    • June 5 – June 7
  • Lifeguard Training (minimum requirement for waterfront staff)
    • June 4 – June 5
  • Wilderness First Aid (minimum requirement for activity and coordinator staff)
    • June 6 – June 7

What are the advantages of trip leading with Chewonki? (position available to applicants 21+ with tripping experience)

  • Gain experience in a direct leadership role on trip
    • We will meet you where your skills/experience lie, not based on previous Chewonki experience
  • You work with a wide range of ages on different trips
  • We lead a 2 week summer staff training led by the administrative team and other experienced trip leaders. 
    • This includes a training trip to gain, improve and be assessed on skills in the field in a variety of disciplines:
      • Whitewater Canoeing
      • Flatwater Canoeing
      • Sea Kayaking
      • Whitewater Kayaking
      • Backpacking
    • Focus on learning of specific Chewonki systems in the backcountry
  • Summer employment can lead to 3 season employment with Chewonki’s Outdoor Classroom

Where will I be living?

Cabin counselors live in cabins or yurts with a group of 8-10 campers and a co-counselor. These cabins have no electricity or running water. Bathroom and shower facilities are located nearby.

Activity staff and coordinators live in yurts, small cabins, or dorm-style housing in our year-round buildings. Non-cabin staff are usually grouped by age and gender, with four to six staff members sharing a living space and occupying single or double accommodation rooms.

Trip leaders live in yurts with 6-8 other trip leaders before, after, and between sessions. Yurt accommodations are not equipped with electricity or running water; there are communal social spaces and restrooms located centrally on campus.

Will I have time off?

Yes! We all need time off in the summer to stay well-rested and healthy amidst a very busy schedule. Overnight camp staff have 2-3 days off per camp session while trip leaders take their time off between trips or sessions. There are a variety of fun and interesting things to do in Mid-Coast Maine in the summer: play a round of mini-golf in Boothbay, pack a lunch and take a hike in the nearby Camden Hills, or have a taste of fresh Maine lobster at Wiscasset’s world-famous Red’s Eats. 

We expect all staff to behave in a responsible and professional manner while on time off; though you may not be on campus, you are still a representative of Chewonki and are expected to follow all state and federal laws.

What is the salary?

Compensation is based upon position, experience, and qualifications. Benefits include room and board, laundry facilities and meals (dietary restrictions accommodated).

Are tobacco/marijuana/vaping products allowed on campus?

Chewonki has a non-smoking/tobacco-free campus; this includes vaping products and marijuana. These are expectations for both staff and campers while on campus or on scheduled trips.

How do I apply?

Visit the Employment Opportunities page to complete our online Camp staff application.

How do I keep in touch at the end of the summer?

Each staff member will have a check-out meeting at the end of the summer with the appropriate program director to debrief and discuss plans for the next summer. A great way to keep in touch during the year is to attend a Camp Gathering and Reunion in your area or participate in a staff gathering in the winter. (Keep your eyes peeled for invitations for bowling, pizza, and other fun events in your area!)

  • If you are interested in working for Camp Chewonki, contact Katie Goodman at kgoodman@chewonki.org.
  • If you are interested in working for Leadership Expeditions, contact Director of Outdoor Programs, Jen Adams at jadams@chewonki.org.
  • If you are a Chewonki alum, drop us a line and let us know what you are up to at alumni@chewonki.org.
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