Resident Counselor
at Penikese Science + Nature Summer Camp

Position Type:  

Seasonal, Full-Time, Exempt


Direct Care/Island Staff


Reports to Head-of-Island while on-island; otherwise reports to Camp Director.


Penikese Science + Nature Camp, run by Penikese Island School, Inc. (PIS), provides a series of residential summer sessions on Penikese Island for Middle School aged youth. Each 5-day/4-night session is focused on STEAM and outdoor educational programming for 12 girls or boys. Campers and staff together reside on a remotely located island/wildlife sanctuary 15 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. During camp sessions, at least two Resident Counselors and one overseeing Head-of-Island live with campers on Penikese Island in rustic buildings. This adult staffing team guides campers through all activities and meals on-island, oversees their daily well-being, and brings the FUN to camp. Counselors teach daily core STEAM lessons and are encouraged to develop their own lessons for camp. As needed, Counselors also assist visiting Guest Instructors who make day-trips to the island to teach STEAM lessons. Counselors may have exclusive one-on-one responsibility for Penikese campers and must guarantee their safety while serving as leaders and role models for campers. We seek Counselors who are fun, creative, energetic and well-organized, with excellent communication, and leadership skills and 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. Help to select and develop high value, cohesive lessons and camp activities. Help design & prepare hands-on STEAM lessons covering an array of topics and subject areas with guidance from the camp programming management team. Teach and lead campers through daily STEM lessons and activities during camp. Assist with other daily activities including planning and preparation of meals, workshops, recreation and chores. Assist Head-of Island in management of the overall island household including preparation of group meals and light maintenance during camp sessions. Interact personally with each camper every day. Serve as hosts to visiting Guest Instructors, welcoming and assisting them as needed in their STEAM lessons. Adjust scheduled activities according to changing circumstances while minimizing disruptions. Assist with special projects as requested. Participate in daily staff “check-in” supervision meetings with Head-of Island. Complete all mandated training sessions prior to start of camp. Additional duties as assigned by the Head-of Island or Camp Director (e.g., Monday morning grocery shopping, tour guide duty in Woods Hole.) Awake overnight duty may be required. Be knowledgeable about camp policies and procedures, particularly emergency situations, 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 program. Be attentive to each camper’s personal goals; encourage and assist campers in the attainment of these goals. Model exemplary behavior and attitudes consistent with the philosophy and integrity of PIS. 


Acceptable CORI report (criminal record check) & SORI (sex offender record check) is required. 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. Camp work requires physically demanding activity 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, Monday morning-Friday afternoon on-island, followed by weekends off. Living conditions on the island are rustic and in close-quarters. Daily work schedules can be unpredictable due to the nature & location of the program. Penikese offers “at-will” employment, providing no specified contract to employees. Female-identifying counselors work on- island during girls’ camp sessions. Male-identifying or female-identifying counselors may work on island during boys’ camp sessions. Must be available to participate fully in all weeks of camp sessions offered.

Minimum Education/Skills/Experience:

High school diploma or equivalent required; rising sophomore in college or age equivalent preferred. Must have previous experience in youth education and/or outdoor programming (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); Must be at least 18 years of age and eligible for legal employment in the United States. 

Other desirable attributes:

Team player, “can-do” attitude, STEAM background preferred. We are looking for pro-active youth leaders who are problem solvers and who can think on their feet. Current Wilderness First-Responder and/or Lifeguard certification highly desirable.


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

FTE: 1.00 Seasonal

Last reviewed or updated: 03/10/2021