Be a Junior Educator
Learn the skills of teaching, mentoring, and caring for children in nature. No experience required, but teens should enjoy nature and being with children.
The Junior Educator Application is open! CLICK HERE TO APPLY!
The deadline for this application is April 28 at 11:59pm, but teens are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. We do not encourage you to wait until the deadline, as we review applications as they come in.
Note: Teens are expected to fill out the questions "Teen Questions" section on their own and without the help of an adult, as this shows that they are excited and eager to participate!
Teens should apply first, and if they are accepted into the program, we will schedule a short phone call with parents/guardians AND teens to get registered.
Teens who are accepted into the program must participate for two weeks of camp (A third week is possible if space allows. Teens interested in a third week should note that on their application.)
There is no cost for this program.
- Must be between 13 and 17 years old by June 1, 2024.
- No experience required.
- Must be able to attend one day of training. Training days take place during Week 1 of Nature Day Camp: Dates and location TBD.
Teens who apply should be the following:
- Curious about nature
- Interested in teaching or view their science teachers as role models
Roles and Responsibilities
Teens who become Junior Educators will have numerous roles:
- Play and explore in nature with the campers.
- Model how to make observations and ask questions about nature.
- Help staff organize campers and keep them as safe as possible.
- Help campers do crafts and play games.
- Help lead and organize nature activities.
- Join campers as they walk to new locations in the park.
- Take care of themselves during the day and let staff know if they have needs.
- Listen to lead staff and coordinators.
- Practice kindness and be respectful to campers, parents, and staff.
- Learn about our parks and our natural world.
In order for campers, participants and staff to have a successful and safe summer, the Nature Day Camp program follows clear behavior expectations policies.
Hours of Commitment
Each week, campers are on site from 9:00 am - 3:30 pm each day (Monday through Friday).
Junior Educators arrive on Monday at 8:15 am for a kick-off meeting, and Tuesday through Friday between 8:15 and 8:30 am. The day ends at 3:30 pm. Teens should get picked up or head home at that time.
Junior Educators spend most of each day with their assigned group. The day is spent hiking and exploring as a group. Staff may stop at various spots in the park to do activities or play games. Everyone stops to eat lunch, and the group visits the bathroom as needed.
Every day the Junior Educator Lead Staff will meet with teens to check-in. This is a chance for teens to talk about anything that is challenging or going well for them. Staff will either intervene or guide Junior Educators as needed.
Required Training Days
Junior Educators must be able to attend one FULL day of training for both new and returning participants.
Training dates and location are TBD.
We also have two training days later in the summer for teens who cannot attend the earlier dates and cannot attend camp until later in the summer. Please contact the Coordinator for more information.
Junior Educators are an important part of Nature Day Camp
The goal of Nature Day Camp is to nurture and guide children as they attempt to understand the world. Questions, observations, and sensory learning help this process take place. We hope that Nature Day Camp is a springboard for growth, not just with campers, but with Junior Educators and staff as well.
Time in nature impacts each person differently. Staff act as guides to help children construct information based on actual observations. We allow them to explore and discover new things and ideas. We hope that all of this helps them create new and more meaningful connections with nature. Junior Educators are role models to campers in a way similar to staff, but act as a bridge between children and adults that otherwise would not exist.
Nature Day Camp Approach
- We give children the chance to spend time in nature with role models and friends.
- We offer activities that meet different types of needs. Games and hiking offer movement and team-building. Cheers and songs offer music and rhythm. Unstructured play allows for creativity and imagination. Crafts and art let children express themselves through shape and color. Structured activities allow us to learn about nature by doing.
- We try to give children choices and let them vocalize how the day should unfold.
- We are careful to pick up our trash, to protect sensitive spaces, and show gratitude toward nature.
- We build friendships with each other and with nature throughout the week. This helps us understand where each camper is coming from.
- We find creative ways to say "yes" to campers. This allows everyone to have a unique experience in nature and keeps everyone safe.
- We make space for pauses in the day. This allows for children to think and ask questions.
- We believe that children teach us. They often notice more, ask better questions, and care about plants and animals in ways that are different than adults.