Skip to content


NBTSC Worktrades 2020

2022 updates coming in later January or in February. To be notified when updates are finished for 2022, scroll down and sign up for our email newsletter. 

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 most positions are actually a blend of scholarship and worktrade – the work commitment doesn’t typically 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!

In order to apply for any kind of worktrade, you must also register for camp and send in a deposit, by 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.)

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

Everyone’s situation is different and we don’t have a specific income level that determines  “eligible for NBTSC worktrade.” That said, when setting our budget and our tuition, we already take into account the reality that many (perhaps most) of our campers come from lower-income families. We fully understand that many homeschooling parents choose to take lower 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 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” territory. 

People planning to attend more than one session of camp 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 them to one individual for more than one session per year. (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”? Because we have a chronic need for lifeguards (in Vermont) 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.

Notes on filling out the application

In most cases, the camper and parents should collaborate. If an application describes the parents’ financial situation (most should), then parents must at the very least read it over and sign it.

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.”

Make sure that both your application and your online account has your accurate, current email addresses (for the camper and at least one parent). Unless you tell us you don’t have email, 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 for us 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. (The exact amount will depend on whether you mail a paper check or pay online through CampDoc.)

  • Deposits: All worktrade applicants — including full worktrade applicants — pay the $150 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.)
  • Campers with half-or-greater worktrades (including easy worktrades) are not eligible for the multiple session $100 discount. That is, if you register for two sessions and are given a half worktrade for one session, you pay full price for the additional session. (Why? Because your worktrade already includes a scholarship component greater than $100. We credit work at approximately $12 per hour.) But if you have only a light worktrade, you remain eligible for the $100 multiple session discount. (These worktrades also include a scholarship component, but don’t usually exceed $100.)

Specific discounts and work requirements

Oregon  (Camp Myrtlewood, 14 nights)

  • full worktrade, $1280, 80 hours
  • half worktrade,  $660, 42 hours
  • easy worktrade, $660, 16 hours
  • light worktrade, $375, 24 hours

Vermont (9 nights)

  • full worktrade, $900, 58 hours
  • half worktrade, $465, 30 hours
  • easy worktrade, $465, 10 hours
  • light worktrade, $240, 16 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. (Vermont only.)

General Worktrade Application ~ This is the main worktrade application. It includes lifeguarding as well as all our other types of worktrades.

Note that we also offer diversity scholarships for our Vermont session. These are for campers of color 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.)