Skip to content

Join Our Staff

Want to be on staff?

Grace says: “One day long ago, an advisor walked into our evening staff meeting and said, ‘A camper just asked me, ‘What do you have to do in order to be on staff? What are the qualifications?’ And I realized I didn’t know the answer. So, what is the answer?’ Without hesitation, I responded, ‘Well. First and foremost, you have to live your lives in such a way that I think you are great role models for our campers. It’s a full-time career.’ I’d never thought of it exactly that way before, but it made sense to all of us once I’d said it.”

When we hire, we also think about these things:

1) First, we hire mostly repeat staff from previous years. Continuity is good in our intense, fast-paced, high energy setting.

2) We also bring in new staff each year. Freshness and outside perspective is very good for our tight, close community.

3) Diversity is important in many ways. We don’t have quotas of anything, but we like to have people who are younger and people who are older, people who used to be campers and people who did not, people who embody a variety of ethnicities, people who are parents and people who are not, people who grew up unschooling and people who are educated and socially competent even though they didn’t, people who are good at connecting with campers one-on-one and people who are good at leading a group of 120 in a wild game, people who can sing and dance and people who can lead a night hike, people who love to chase balls and people who love to read books, people who are male and people who are female and people who consider themselves not precisely either, and etc.

4) Each staff person needs to be someone we trust to
*take a sincere interest in working with, getting to know, learning from, enjoying, and offering support and respectful leadership to campers.
*come to camp with a cooperative, friendly, willing attitude toward campers, staff, and directors.
*take responsibility for their own happiness and well-being.
*look for ways to be helpful beyond their official job description.

5) Each staff person also needs to have some particular quality, skill, or expertise that makes them uniquely valuable at camp–whether that is world class pizza talent, the ability to empathize with but not indulge an angry kid, a series of inspiring workshops up their sleeve, or magic hands that make sick people well.

The original 1996 staff in Grace’s garden, back: Josanna, Reeva, Ned, Sarahjoy, Skip, Chuck, Kyla, Billy. Front: Colleen, Grace, Janet. (That’s right: 90 campers, 11 staff, no junior staff; and all of us, even the cooks, advised. What were we thinking?!)
Ted Joblin, night watchperson 2002 West Virginia, photo by Alex Davis

If you’re interested in joining us

Send an email to our staff liaison.

  • Describe yourself and explain your interest in NBTSC.
  • Include a resume if you’ve got one (but don’t make one just for us!).
  • Say what position(s) you’re interested in and for what session(s).
  • We would love to better support our campers of color, so we are especially eager to hear from potential staffers of color. (Currently we are focusing these efforts especially on our Vermont session – but regardless of session availability, we want to hear from you!)

We make an attempt to acknowledge all emails, but if you haven’t heard back within a couple weeks please prompt us. (We usually have to say “thanks so much but we’re full up,” but you never know, and we are always thrilled to hear from prospective staff.) We make most of our staff decisions between January and April of each year, but sometimes are still hiring later than that.

If it’s been a year or more since you reached out and you’re still interested, please let us know (and remind us that you got in touch earlier). We do take your interest in NBTSC seriously and we are grateful for it and we will make a spot for you if we can!

Junior staff applications are posted annually on our website.

About volunteering: we often hear from talented people who want to come donate their services. We greatly appreciate these offers, but we only have room for occasional volunteers. One issue is just that–room. We sometimes overfill our retreat centers, taxing the water systems, crowding the dining halls, and using every available bed. We cannot necessarily invite more bodies into the mix, no matter how helpful. Also, we do have direct costs associated with each volunteer, ranging from about $225 to $600 per week, and we can’t always afford to make room in our budget for that. Don’t hesitate to ask, but please don’t take it personally if we can’t use you.

If you have worked at camp in the past and are interested in coming again, just fire off an email and we’ll add you to our list of potentials.

If you have attended NBTSC as a camper, and are now interested in working on staff, please send an email (and resume if you have one) as described above. If you are pretty young (19-22 range) then we’d probably hire you first as a junior staffer, so you’d best fill out a junior staff application.

Please don’t take it personally if we don’t hire you. We continually hear from fascinating people who want to join us. Many have amazing resumes, and yet we can usually only take about 2-4 new staffers each year.   (That doesn’t mean nobody gets in without an amazing resume, though, so don’t give up before you try!)

positions (sometimes) available

Advisor–teach workshops, act as a mentor and support person to a group of 11 campers with whom you meet daily. For new folks, these are often volunteer positions.  (But not if you can help us fill important needs such as bringing more racial diversity to NBTSC.) If you can be available on short notice, your chances increase, because we occasionally have last-minute staff cancellations.

Cook–cook yummy vegetarian and vegan meals, having the pleasure of working with fresh, beautiful, organic ingredients. A big job. We rarely take folks without previous large group vegetarian cooking experience.

Kitchen coordinator–we are blessed with a few amazing and longtime kitchen coordinators, so these positions are rarely vacant. Since this role is so important, though, we are always interested in hearing from people who could run our kitchen in Oregon or Vermont if one of our current KCs was unavailable.  The work includes: plan the menu (can be based on our previous menus, but must accommodate our many campers with dietary restrictions), order food, set up the kitchen, plan the cooking schedule, supervise cooks and kitchen assistants, and cook, thus providing 3 delicious and nutritious meals, plus snacks, for 9-14 days, for up to 130 people.

Junior staff–we almost always fill these volunteer* positions with former campers, usually 19-or 20-year-olds. On occasion, we’ll take someone else. Involves logistical/support work of all kinds–running errands, waking campers in the mornings, scrubbing pots, assisting the cooks, etc. The annual application deadline is usually the end of February–go here for more information and an application. (*Small travel stipend available for junior staff who both 1) can help us become a more racially diverse community and 2) would have a hard time joining us otherwise.)