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NBTSC Worktrades 2024

Important info for all worktrade applicants

It is important to us that NBTSC be accessible to a wide range of campers. For campers who love to help out and who couldn’t otherwise afford NBTSC, we offer a variety of worktrade positions. (We call them “worktrades” but these positions are actually a blend of scholarship and worktrade – the work commitment is not intended to correspond directly to the dollar value.)  Special skills are a plus but not a requirement. Here’s what you need to know before applying. Please read carefully to avoid misunderstandings!

The worktrade application deadline is April 7 this year. (Usually March 31.)

In order to apply for any kind of worktrade, you must also complete your camp registration by April 7.   (For future reference, usually March 31.) But, if your attendance depends on a worktrade and we don’t assign you one, you can cancel within two weeks and receive your deposit back. To complete your registration, after submitting your deposit you must also address all the “camper application questions” in the Health & Pre-Camp Info section of your online account.

Worktrades are (mostly*) for families who are having a difficult time with life’s basic expenses. 

Everyone’s situation is different, so we don’t have a hard and fast rule regarding specific income levels that determine  “eligible for NBTSC worktrade.” That said, our funds are limited. When we receive more applications than we can say “yes” to, we prioritize families who are willing to share evidence (such as a copy of their most recent tax return) that their gross income falls at or below 175% of Federal Poverty Guidelines.

When setting our budget and our tuition, we already take into account the reality that many of our campers come from lower-income families. We fully understand that many homeschooling parents choose to take low-paying jobs – and/or to have one parent forego an income altogether – to allow them to spend more time with their children or to be able to do more fulfilling or creative work. We already do our best to keep our tuition low enough that most families who truly value it can make it a priority, and pay for it. And so while your income might well qualify you for a scholarship at a fancy private school, at NBTSC we skew lower and for the most part we can’t justify giving worktrades to families whose income is in “average” or even “lowish” territory. 

People planning to attend more than one session of camp also receive lower priority, since our purpose is mainly to make it possible for those who can’t afford camp to be able to come to at least one session. We rarely give worktrades to individuals older than 18. (We focus our resources on people of regular camp age.) And, multiple worktrades are rare–we don’t normally assign worktrades for more than one session (per year) to a camper. There are exceptions, though.

We do take all applications seriously, and try to give worktrades to as many applicants as possible, sometimes even when we need to exceed our budget to do so. For this reason, we ask you also to take this process seriously, and to apply only if you both 1) really need financial assistance and 2) sincerely want to take on the responsibility of a worktrade. That said ~ if these things are true for you, please do apply! We look forward to hearing from you!

*Why did we say “mostly”? Two reasons:

  1. We have a chronic need for lifeguards and are happy to receive lifeguard applications from folks with any financial reality. Also because we do need truly excellent help in the kitchen, so occasionally we’ll grant a half or full worktrade (both very serious commitments) to a camper known to have a rockstar work ethic and mad kitchen skills, even if their financial need is not substantial.
  2. We also have a new “no discount” light work assignment category. That’s because we sometimes receive applications from campers who don’t actually need a financial break but do want a formal opportunity to serve and to be part of the awesome worktrade team. You’ll find additional details below.

Notes on filling out the application

In most cases, parents and campers should collaborate. Parents should take the lead on sharing financial information, and campers should speak for themselves regarding work skills and preferences.

Say enough

The application will instruct you: “Please explain your family’s financial situation, telling why it would be helpful for you to receive financial assistance. ” Sometimes people say not much more than “money is tight.” That doesn’t tell us much – maybe it’s tight because you’d rather spend it on clothes or a cruise. “Four of us are living on a public teacher’s salary” is a little better, but really not that helpful. Specific numbers can be useful if you’re willing to share them, and so can explanatory info such as:

“We are a single parent household: my brother, my mom, and me. My mom works part time so that we can unschool. Although my parents have been divorced for a long time, my dad has only recently stopped supporting my “extra” activities financially. Sometimes just paying for our regular monthly expenses is challenging, so saving up for extras can be difficult. I’m used to doing yardwork for neighbors and working to pay for a lot of my extras and I have a plan for paying for NBTSC, but without the worktrade, it will be extremely difficult for me to save the full tuition.”

(Also – if your family’s gross income falls at or below 175% of Federal Poverty Guidelines, and you are willing to share evidence–such as a current or recent tax return–that will give us a concrete reason to prioritize your application.)

Make sure that both your application and your online account have your accurate, current email addresses (for the camper and at least one parent). This is the only way we will notify you whether you received a worktrade. Make sure you check your email, and let us know if your email address changes.  Make extra-sure that your filter understands that we are not spam: while we keep your personal information private, we do send out our worktrade-response emails in batches. (Corollary: if a month or more has gone by since the application deadline and you don’t seem to have heard from us, check your spam folder.)

You’ll hear from us within a month after the deadline. It takes a while to carefully read all the applications and consider them in relation to each other and to our needs and our budget. We’ll get back to you, via email, by April 30. (Sooner if we can.)

more notes

NBTSC worktrade categories

Financial Details

Fine print

  • Worktrade amounts are discounts from camp tuition, not amounts-to-pay. You are responsible for paying the balance of the Tier 1 level tuition.

  • Deposits: All worktrade applicants — including full worktrade applicants — pay the $250 camp deposit, just like everyone else. For most worktraders it just goes toward the amount you still owe us. For full worktraders, it acts as collateral: come to camp and fulfill your worktrade agreement, and we refund that deposit right after camp. But if you cancel your registration after our cancellation deadline or simply don’t show up, you forfeit your deposit. If you come to camp and don’t satisfactorily complete your worktrade, you don’t get it back either. (Not to mislead–our full worktraders have almost never let us down;  quite the opposite.)
  • Worktraders are not eligible for the multiple session $100 discount. That is, if you register for two sessions and are given a worktrade for one session, you pay full price for the additional session. (Why? Because your worktrade already includes a scholarship component of at least $100, after crediting work at a little over minimum wage.)

Specific discounts and work requirements

Oregon  (Camp Myrtlewood, 14 nights)

  • full worktrade, $1695, 80 hours
  • half worktrade,  $848, 38 hours
  • easy worktrade, $848, 11 hours
  • light worktrade, $385, 20 hours

Vermont (9 nights)

  • full worktrade, $1185, 58 hours
  • half worktrade, $593, 27 hours
  • easy worktrade, $593, 7 hours
  • light worktrade, $290, 13 hours


Lifeguard Worktrade Application ~  Choose this application if you ONLY want to be considered for a lifeguard position AND don’t want us to consider your financial situation.

General Worktrade Application ~ This is the main worktrade application. It includes lifeguarding as well as all our other types of worktrades. We are no longer taking applications for 2024, so the link has been removed.  

Note that we also offer diversity scholarships for our Vermont session. These are for BIPOC campers who both 1) can help us with our goal of becoming a more racially diverse community and 2) would not otherwise be able to afford camp. If that sounds like you, please contact us. There is no specific deadline for these scholarships, but funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.