Counselor in Training (CIT) Jobs

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • Due to the pandemic, Camp Edmo and Steve & Kate's are not offering their CIT programs (summer of 2021).  Does anyone know of another camp that might be offering this for 14-16 year olds?

    Alternatively, I'd love to hear any paid work or internship opportunities for 14 year olds (rising 9th graders).


    Try Sees the Day camp which runs in Tilden Park.

  • Camp Counselor job search

    (6 replies)

    My daughter is a freshman in college in the midwest and is interested in being a counselor at an overnight camp next summer. She feels she needs to cast a fairly wide net at this point, but doesn't want to fill out tons and tons of separate applications, and (more important) doesn't want to ask her references to complete lots of different forms.  Sites like "campgig" and "campstaff" seem to offer a streamlined "clearinghouse" approach -- does anyone have familiarity with these sites or others, or advice on how to best approach the job search?  (Of course she'll be checking with her college & career center.)  

    A little background ... She has tons of experience being a camper (day and overnight), as well as two summers working part time with kids as an activity leader.  The overnight camps she attended were mostly skill-building (e.g. horseback riding, soccer), and she's not interested in applying to those.  She loves silly group games, low-level sports, arts and crafts, getting messy, singalongs, etc.  She's open to California, Pacific Northwest, Minnesota, Wisconsin & possibly the East Coast.  She was a Girl Scout so will apply to their camps and that may be her best opportunity, since at many camps the counselors are people who started as campers and return year after year.  

    Have her check out  She sounds like a good match for the camp!

    She should contact Bar 717 Camp and ask them how they find their counselors.   It sounds perfect for her. It’s outdoorsy, crafty, old-fashioned and not competitive.  Another idea is Ohana Family Camp in Vermont.  It’s a family camp, not a kids camp per se, but they hire young counselors to do exactly the kinds of things your daughter is good at.  Our family loves it, and although many counselors return, they are  always bringing on a few new people each summer.   If she talks to the directors at a few ideal camps, she can find out their process for hiring, and then shape her approach around that. Also, she should make sure she has her lifeguard certification.  Seems like camps want all their counselors to have that and to take lifeguard shifts.  

    I would like to recommend that your daughter look at the American Youth Foundation’s programs at Camp Miniwanca (in Michigan) or Merrowvista (in New Hampshire) as an option. I went to Minnewanca as a camper for four years and was a leader as well. It is a great all-around camp with all of the features you describe, with a motto of “My own self, at my very best, all the time.”

    I asked my sibling who is the Director of a sleepaway camp on the East Coast if there was any advice to offer your daughter, and got this reply:

    She should research a handful of camps that seem like they would be a good match for her (i.e., non competitive, artsy, Farm animals, free choice, cabins or tents, electricity or not, uniforms or not, location, etc) - and then email them specifically - most camps these days have a link on their sites to apply directly. She should do that but then follow up with an email. Some good sites for her to start the research-,, She could also check the American Camp Association - they will have a link for camp searches. They should also have a link for job seekers, and some camps will even post their jobs on the ACA site. Most of the sites are geared for prospective campers, but she can narrow down her search by putting in the specific criteria that is important to her. And after she finds camp(s) that are interesting to her she should check out their marketing video on their website. Most camps have a short video and plenty of photos.There are camps everywhere!!! So ideally to make it less overwhelming she should focus on the geographic location of her choice. And then start narrowing it down. Good luck to her!!  

    Also, as far as her desire to not have ask references to complete lots of different forms, I don't think you need to protect her from that. It can be really difficult to ask people to act as references but it is a great skill to acquire, and this will be a nice opportunity for her to figure out how to do it gracefully and graciously when the stakes are comparatively low.

    Your daughter may want to consider applying for a counselor job at Camp Trinity.  Camp Trinity is a sleep away camp for boys and girls on a 400+ acre wooded ranch in Trinity County.  It has an emphasis on outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking, river walking and horseback riding and crafts like ceramics, cooking, art, photography.  Every night there is a sing a long before bedtime and the Camp emphasizes a sense of community and love of nature in it's activities.  It's pretty wholesome and fun.  The counselors are all college aged kids, most from different parts of the US but many are International students. The counselors all become fast friends during the 8 weeks of camp, and these friendships seem to extend beyond the camp experience which would leave your daughter with friends from across the US as well as friends in other parts of the world when camp was over.  It's an old, well established, and well run camp in a lovely setting to spend a summer in, and again, super wholesome and fun.  Both my kids are camper returnees, and I have done volunteer work at Camp Trinity as a Camp Nurse, and I would highly recommend a counselor position for a college aged kid.

  • CIT programs for teens

    (3 replies)

    Hi, My son and I are a little late figuring out the summer (he'll be 15 and a rising sophomore), and I'm wondering about counselor or leader in training programs. I think he's too young/inexperienced to get a paid position at a summer camp, so it seems like a CIT/LIT program where we pay a smallish fee and he gets experience is the way to go. I'm looking at Camp Edmo, particularly the Tech LIT (maybe all the Minecraft will pay off!) and the city of El Cerrito's leadership camp. Does anyone have experience with either of these programs? Any other great leadership/training programs that we should consider? At 15 is he too old and should he be looking at other types of activities? Thanks.

    Hi there - I think CIT'ing at age 15 is perfect.  Our son was a CIT at Full Belly Farm (sleep away) camp last summer at age 14, and will do so again this summer.  He enjoyed it, and I think it gives kids that age the right combo of supervision and responsibility.  If it had fit our schedule (they require 2 consecutive weeks), we would have had him CIT at Berkeley Day Camp, run by the City of Berkeley, which he and his sister both attended from K-6th grade and loved.  It's a very traditional camp - hiking, games, arts/crafts, etc. at either Tilden or Berkeley Marina, so no "tech focus" or anything, but really a great outdoorsy experience with a lot of kids.  And we liked the counselors there very much.  Good luck!

    We’re jn the same boat with our 15 year old daughter. We used someone who does camp and summer program referral. It’s a free service. She gets paid by the placement. Happy to connect you. 

    My son, now 16, will be an LIT at Camp Edmo for the third time this summer (2-3 weeks each summer). It’s been a great experience for him and he’s gotten nice recommendation letters from the camp. It was hard to fit it into our summer schedule this year, but it was a priority for him, so we did. 

  • Teen camp/job for summer

    (1 reply)

    Looking for camps/jobs/CIT  for my 15year old dtr for the summer. Suggestions? She needs structure, is interested in dance, likes to be in leadership role, Also looking for helper to help with teen transportation supervision etc,Thanks

    I know that Camp Edmo has a Leader in Training program. My twins were in the program for a few years and had fun and learned a lot. I'd recommend going to their website and taking a look.

  • I have a rising 9th grader who is interested in being a CIT at a summer camp for disabled kids (with ASD, physical, intellectual disabilities or medical issues) .  Does anyone know of opportunities for a young teen to be an aide or CIT at such a camp?  He has functioned already as a "buddy" for kids on the autism spectrum in adaptive PE and is very effective and empathetic with kids who have special needs.

    My daughter has volunteered for public school Extended School Year for disabled students. 

    ESY runs 2 weeks end of June and 2 weeks beginniing of August. Have him reach out to school districts, they usually love the extra help  He will need a TB test clearance.

    Such a wonderful thing for your child to do! I highly recommend Camping Unlimited/Camp Krem in Boulder Creek. In addition to their summer camp program, they do many events in the Bay Area throughout the year. I did some volunteering with them while in high school and loved it.

    I'm sorry for the late reply.  Your son sounds like an awesome kid to want to help others!  In addition to looking at camps themselves, your son might want to look for positions as an aide to individual kids. There are many children who need additional support to attend camp with neuro-typical kids. I have a child who needs this kind of summer support and so am familiar with the process. Often the aide is a high school or college age young adult who is hired directly by parents, not the camp.  The aide attends camp with the child and act as a buddy who provides support as needed, blending in with the other CITs at camp as much as possible.  Aides need to be reliable and able to spot when support is needed - as well as a good communicator with adults.  Not dissimilar from what is needed in a typical summer camp counselor.  Most parents will start looking in early March for support aides and often use local online hiring sites such as Localwise and BPN - I will be starting my own search soon.  Feel free to contact me if you would like more information on how this works.  


    I am also seeing this a bit late, but my HS daughter helped out at a special needs camp in Lafayette called Camp We-Go for the past 2 summers. They have two 2-week sessions and ask CIT types to commit to at least a 2-week session (usually they are run in July).

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Suggestions for good camps/CIT for middle schoolers

Feb 2015

My kids attend summer camps full time and have outgrown all the standard east bay/Oakland camps. Any suggestions on good ones for middle schoolers. Prefer ones that are targeted towards that age group that are not SUPER expensive. Also ones that have a variety of themes. Would also love any suggestions on camps with Counselor in Training programs that are for 12+ year olds. Middle School Camper

I have two thoughts about middle school camps. My 7th grader has attended and enjoyed Monkey Business Camp in Tilden Park for years, and was excited to be old enough to be a CIT. She enjoys the responsibility and working with younger kids, and we feel very confident about and happy with the counseling staff and program their. I also like the fact that she spends all day outdoors. The downside is the haul up to Tilden.

Another possibility is sleep-away camp. We love Camp Jack Hazard in the Sierras near Sonora Pass, and it is very reasonable at only $625 for a week of camp. The ''Leaders In Training'' have to be 15, but the younger teens have their own cabin groups and go on a back-packing trip with the other kid their age. They learn a lot of responsibility and gain confidence just from that outing, and the camp is fun in a traditional summer camp way. You can find more information here:

Stephanie B


Great sleep-away camp jobs

Jan 2013

My son (now 20) has been working at a local camp over the summers and now wants to find a similar job next summer at a sleep-away camp. Any suggestions for a great working and social environment? Looking for a job where the owners/bosses are positive people. Thanks! mom

There are lots of great sleep-away camps that would be great for your son, including a few local ones. I recomend starting with the American Camp Association (which certifies camps) as a great place to start: Past Summer Camp Assistant Director

Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp is accepting applications now from ages 16-26, for jobs like maintenance, kitchen, kiddie camp, lifeguard and recreational leaders. There are other City of Berkeley sleep-away camps for kids. Fifteen-year-olds can apply to be counselor-in-training (CIT) for two weeks (they pay like guests but work six days a week to try out for a summer job next year). Need not be Berkeley resident to apply. My offspring has worked Tuolumne Camp for three summers and made good money and good friends. I'm not a Berkeley parent

I would encourage your son to look at Camp Tawonga. It is an extremely positive work environment. The staff training is excellent and the staff forms a tight-knit community. The camp is located right outside Yosemite in a beautiful natural setting. He can read about the available positions and apply online by visiting Becca

Volunteer and/or Social Opportunity for Foreign Teen

June 2012

We have a 16-year-old girl from Spain staying with us this summer for six weeks, mid June to end of July. She is very interested in volunteering, both to have something constructive to do with her time, as well to get a chance to meet other people while she is here. She is fluent in English and skilled in sports. She applied to be a volunteer with Cal summer camps but was not accepted. Any other ideas for volunteer experiences, especially ones where she might meet kids her age? Or any classes or other activities that aren't too expensive? Thanks so much! Suzy

I just yesterday enrolled my 14 yo daughter to be a Counselor in training for Berkeley Day Camp. I think they may be online, or stop by their office on Center I think (across from where you pay for paring tickets/permits and birth certificates, in that building, downtown). Also, they may still be looking for counselors in training at the oakland Zoo, you can google them and check on 'teen programs.', i think it is. Berkeley Mom

14 year old daughter eager to be a CIT

Feb 2010

My soon-to-be 14-year-old daughter has been babysitting for a little more than a year now and is very eager to spend part of this coming summer working as a Counselor in Training at a camp with young children in the Oakland/Berkeley area. We're fairly new to the area and I'm not sure where to help her look for such opportunities. Any suggestions welcome!

Hello! At the Downtown Berkeley YMCA we offer a Leadership in Training program - it's called LIT. We have two separate 2-week sessions. One from July 12-23 and another from July 26-August 6th. These programs are a great balance of vocational & leadership training, hands-on helping out with the youngest children, and a couple of field trips because teens are teens and they still need their own time for social interaction and fun. The sessions are $225. If you would like more information you can find it at our website at or please call or email me. 665-3238. Eden O'Brien-Brenner

Monkey Business Camp has an Extensive Youth Leadership program for Ages 11-15 and opportunities to CIT at Summer Camp and then at subsequent Winter, February & Spring Break Camps. We are a locally run camp in our 12th year based in Berkeley with Summer Programs at Berkeley's Tilden Park.

The Youth Leadership Program is for 11-15 year olds who have experience in a camp setting, enjoy the outdoors, and love working with younger kids. Youth leaders have opportunities to teach a special skill they may have, to join in some exciting activities during a day at camp, and to receive training.

CITs play board games, read books to kids, help set-up and play a field game, like tag, or monkey ball, during free play. They give campers a friendly welcome upon arrival. They help with playshop set- up and clean up. They might do a funny skit, it all depends on the particular CIT. It is great when CITs register for specific weeks with themes they enjoy and/or have some skill.

We have many parent references and would be happy to connect you.

Please visit our website, give us a call or send us an email! 510-540-6025 Monkey Business Camp

2004 - 2007 Reviews

18 year old looking for a summer job

April 2005

My 18 year old daughter is looking for a summer job working outdoors with children. She had one counselor in training job a couple of years ago, and lots of babysitting experience. Thanks for any referrals/advice for her job search. Mary

My son and others have had a WONDERFUL time working at Tuolumne Berkeley Family camp in yosemite. (See Working at Camp Tuolumne for the full review.)

You could also try the Downtown Berkeley YMCA, which seems always to be looking for teens to work with their children's day camp program. They're probably more likely to take volunteers, but it's also a good experience and your teen wouldn't be gone for week(s) at a time in far away Yosemite.

I still vote for Tuolumne, the teens learn to be independant, to work hard, and to work together. They do tend to do some partying, I hear, but the teens are not allowed to visit the adult tent areas and are not allowed to have co-ed visitors in their tents so there is some supervision. loved having summer for myself!

April 2004

For info about CIT programs at Strawberry Canyon, see Strawberry Canyon Youth Programs

April 2004

Most city-run day camp programs have counselor in training programs for young teens. My step-son did this for the City of El Cerrito day camp last summer. He really enjoyed it and he received a lot of general career education as well. Now is the time to start the sign-up process. Liz

March 2004

My 14 year old has been a counselor in training for Touch The Earth camp sponsored my Oakland's Rotary Nature Center. This has been a good experience and can lead to a paid counselor job as they get older. I think the camp is looking for a two week commitment. mary in Oakland

2003 & Earlier

March 2001

My son was volunteering at the YMCA last fall, when he was involved with an eigth grade work project. He enjoyed it very much. I also worked at the Y all last summer at the ART CAMP in Albany. They have the counselors in training program where the kids sign up for a certain number of weeks (you pay) and they get credit for their time. Call the YMCA for info. 525-1130 in Albany nancy

March 2000

There are CIT (counselor in training programs) but many don't take kids until they are 14 or older, same is true for most summer jobs. I believe Albany Y offers the youngest CIT program for 13 year olds, but you need to apply early. The other idea I had before finding her the preschool job, was to have her volunteer at places like the senior centers. I know kids who have done this but never followed up on it myself. I would imagine many of the preschools would be interested in part-time volunteers. Good luck, it is not any easy task and usually incorporates a lot of pieces. The volunteer or CIT work will definetelty help them get jobs in the summers to come. -Lynn

January 2000

Re: Summer activity for 12-13 year-old

This is a great time for your child to get leadership training and pre-job experience through volunteer work or a counselor-in-training (CIT) program. Many summer camps also have CIT programs for pre-teens or early teens, although 12 yrs. may be a bit young for some programs. Try the YMCA, the city's Recreation Department programs, or UC's summer recreation programs targeted to this age group. The city libraries use student volunteers in the summer, and the library is a good resource for other volunteer opportunities. While children this age are generally eager for real work experience, volunteer experience may help them get a paid job in future years. -- Irene

re the Summer job for a twelve year old. Park Day summer Arts Camp has soem kind of CIT program. I'm not sure of the age limit or other restrictions. It is in North Oakland and would be a great program for a kid who likes art and working with younger kids. I'd call Park Day for who to contact for more info.

Strawberry Canyon has summer jobs and pre-employment programs for teens. Starting when they complete 8th grade they can enroll in the Leadership Camp and positions move up from there. The web site has all the information - click on Strawberry Canyon. -- Jennifer

In response to the person who wanted information about 12 year old summer jobs, try the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department's summer programs. Many of the camps have CIT (Counselor in Training) programs for 12-14 year olds. I know that Touch the Earth (in Roberts Park) and the Lake Merritt Boating Center both have programs in the works.

The Science Exploration Camp held at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (not the Hall of Science) is opening registration for LBNL and UC employees on 1 March. The camp will run from 24 July to 1 Sept (6 weeks). The camp is open to children entering 2nd through 6th grade. The camp provides a mixture of science-related and recreational activities. The camp is seeking Counselors and Counselors in Training. For more information: email sciencecamp at 510.486.6566