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Camp Counselor


Type/Department: Direct Care/Island Staff

Reporting: Reports to Island Stewards and Camp Director



Penikese Island School hosts a series of week-long residential Science + Nature Camps for middle-school girls on Penikese Island’s 75-acre preserve. Staff orientation will be June 24-28. Camp sessions will run Monday-Friday, from July 1 - August 2. The goal of these camp sessions is to empower girls in the sciences by providing them with role models of women in STEM in an effort to help end gender imbalance in the sciences. Campers will learn about the ecology and natural history of the Elizabeth Islands, and the varied history of Penikese Island. The cornerstone of this experience is the opportunity to engage with female scientists from nearby, world-renowned Woods Hole scientific institutions. Each week visiting scientists and artists will share hands-on activities and artistic endeavors with campers.


Each 5-day/4-night session is focused on STEAM activities and outdoor educational programming for 12 middle school-aged girls (entering 7th and 8th grade). Campers and staff reside together on a remotely located island/wildlife sanctuary 15 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. During camp sessions, the 2 Island Stewards and 3 Camp Counselors live together with 12 female campers in rustic accommodations on Penikese Island.


Counselors will assist guest scientist and guest artist activities on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and run additional science, art, and recreational activities on Wednesdays and Fridays. On Mondays, Counselors will help campers to become acquainted with the island and settle into their accommodations. On Fridays after lunch, Counselors will assist campers in preparing to leave the island. Counselors will participate in a rotation of chores as coordinated by the Stewards, which may include helping with meals and dishes as well as overseeing camper chores. Counselors are responsible for running recreational games. On a rotating basis, counselors serve as chaperones and proctors during camper free time. Together with the Stewards, Counselors will assist in monitoring the wellbeing of campers. The program is reliant on all staff working and living together in a community. There is a daily staff meeting as well as a daily community meeting at the end of day. 


Counselors serve as leaders and role models for campers. We seek counselors who are fun, creative, and energetic, with a proven interest in youth education & STEAM programming. 



  • Carry out all policies and procedures related to the overall care of the campers, camp program, the island and its facilities. 

  • Teach and lead campers through STEAM activities on Wednesdays and Fridays, with guidance from the camp programming team. 

  • Lead other daily activities, games, and recreation that emphasize inclusion and support the values of the program.

  • Participate in a rotation of chores as coordinated by the Island Stewards.

  • Assist the Stewards in the management and execution of camper chores.

  • Interact personally with each camper every day. 

  • Assist guest instructors as needed with STEAM lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays, ensuring spaces and materials are ready for all instructors/activities. 

  • Serve as “classroom managers” during activities that scientists/artists/counselors are leading - keeping campers focused, making sure everyone is listening and following directions.

  • Participate in the daily staff meetings with Stewards.

  • Participate (and potentially lead) the daily community meeting with campers at the end of the day. This is an integral part of our programming and it has tremendous value for the camper experience.

  • Additional duties may be assigned by the Camp Director or Island Stewards.

  • Awake overnight duty may be required in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

  • Complete all mandated training sessions prior to the start of camp. (CPR, First Aid, ServSafe, etc.)

  • Be knowledgeable about camp policies and procedures, particularly emergency situations, as well as health and safety matters. 

  • Be knowledgeable about policies and procedures described in the Employee Handbook and Camper/Parent Handbook. 

  • Be knowledgeable about the broad mission of the Penikese Island School. 

  • Model exemplary behavior and attitudes consistent with the philosophy and integrity of the Penikese Island School. 



Our summer residential camp is located off-shore on 75-acre Penikese Island, an undeveloped “off-the-grid” environment featuring rocky, uneven terrain and tidal beaches. Travel is provided on the school’s 35’ power boat. The island itself is a wildlife sanctuary that is host to a large gull colony that creates a loud bird presence. Camp work requires physically demanding activities including, but not limited to, stairs, hiking, lifting, and carrying. Counselors serve as members of adult staff teams working in a series of 5-day/4-night sessions. Together, with the Island Stewards, this staff team of five will meet incoming campers Monday morning at the shore-based office, traveling to and living on Penikese Island together until Friday afternoon, returning with the campers around 4:00pm on Friday. Each staff member will have Saturdays and Sundays off. Weekend housing is available at our Shore Office if needed. Living conditions on the island are rustic and in close-quarters: electricity is limited to a few solar powered LED lights and charging cables, nighttime lighting is provided mainly by oil lanterns, bathrooms are shared CLIVUS composting toilets, campers and counselors share one indoor and one outdoor shower. Although Penikese Island is fully connected with WiFi, we have intentionally created a device-free environment for campers.  Staff will have use of their devices during their down-time, out of view of campers. Daily work schedules can be unpredictable due to the nature and location of the program. Penikese offers “at-will” employment, providing no specified contract to employees.


Minimum Education/Skills/Experience: 

  • Must be at least 18 years of age and eligible for legal employment in the United States. 

  • High school diploma or equivalent required; undergraduate degree preferred. 

  • Must enjoy spending time outdoors and be comfortable living in rustic conditions in a remote setting.

  • Must be able to work outside daily and in a variety of weather conditions.

  • Must enjoy working flexibly and collaboratively with others.

  • Must enjoy interacting with middle-school age youth.

  • Previous experience in youth education and/or outdoor programming required (at least four weeks previous experience as a counselor or junior counselor, have participated in structured group camping, or have at least four weeks experience in a supervisory role with children).

  • Current CPR and First Aid certification required (may be acquired after applying for the job, but before camp begins).

  • Acceptable CORI report (criminal record check) & SORI (sex offender record check) is required and will be submitted by Penikese Island School.

  • Must be available to participate fully in all weeks of camp sessions offered (July 1 - August 2) as well as complete all necessary pre-Camp online certifications and participate in the pre-Camp orientation and training week, June 24-28.


Other desirable attributes: 

  • STEAM background or outdoor education background preferred.

  • Previous experience working with middle school-aged students is highly desirable.

  • Previous residential camp experience preferred.

  • Wilderness First-Responder certification is desirable. 

  • Lifeguard certification is desirable.



At Penikese Island School, we celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We hire people based on an evaluation of their capabilities, competence and merit. We do not discriminate on the basis of any other personal characteristic, identification or classification. Penikese is a proud Equal Opportunity workplace and an Affirmative Action employer.


1.00 Seasonal



$900-1200/week, based on experience and certifications

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