Summer Staff Positions

Positions are paid and include housing for the duration of the summer and meals while camp is in session. Most positions start in late May or early June. Waterfront, Entertainment, Adventure and Leadership positions will start earlier to allow for training. All positions are required to live on camp. Cabin Counselors live in cabins, and Activity Counselors live in a dormitory style Staff Housing building.

Medical positions are also available for medical professionals licensed in California. To read more about these positions, please see our page for Medical Professionals.


Cabin Counselor

Cabin Counselors are responsible for working together with a staff and volunteer counselor team to lead assigned cabins throughout all summer sessions. They are responsible for supporting and encouraging each child to participate fully in all aspects of camp, allowing campers to gain maximum benefit from their experience. Cabin Counselors live in cabins with 8-10 campers and 4-5 adult counselors. Cabin counselors will work with children ages 7-16 and must have the physical and mental capability of caring for campers and have confidence in attending to the daily needs of children. Counselors should also maintain a positive cabin environment by encouraging group cohesion and self-esteem. Counselors are also responsible for orienting and integrating new volunteers into our staff team each week. Cabin Counselors work together as a team to ensure the safety and welfare of the children under their care and, above all, to make the experience fun!

Activity Counselor

Activity Counselors design, plan, and facilitate intentional programs in one or more of the following activity areas: Woodshop, Arts and Crafts, Adventure (High Ropes, Low Ropes, Rock Climbing, and Teambuilding), Creative Arts (Theatre & Moviemaking), Discovery (Science, Nature and Cooking), Entertainment, Music (Camp Musician), and Photography (Camp Photographer). Certified lifeguards are eligible to join our Waterfront Team (Boating and Fishing, Pool).

Activity Counselors are expected to execute engaging, inclusive programming that is age-appropriate, safe, and fun.  Activity Counselors also run All-Camp activities such as Stage Night, Campfire, Carnival, and other group activities. They are assigned to work with a specific cabin when they are not running activity areas or All Camp activities. They are also responsible for orienting and integrating new volunteers into our staff team each week. Each area has an assigned Activity Leader, a counselor with the additional responsibilities of managing the activity area budget, ordering supplies, and overseeing activity area planning and execution in collaboration with their co-activity counselor. Experience teaching or coaching children in a specialty activity area is preferred.

Entertainment Team

The Entertainment Team oversees creating, setting up, and leading All Camp activities. Beyond planning these events, they execute a creative vision for them, with the goal of entertaining up to 120 campers while ensuring safety standards are upheld. Major responsibilities include events such as campfires, dances, carnivals, banquets, camp games, and leading Dining Hall entertainment (announcements and songs). Experience in planning group special events or activities preferred. Ability to sing or play music is also a plus. Members of the Entertainment Team should be comfortable speaking and performing in front of a crowd and should be enthusiastic ambassadors of camp spirit!

Camp Musician

The Camp Musician plays a vital role in filling the musical needs of the Camp. Responsibilities include: working closely with the Entertainment Team, playing guitar or keyboards, singing at campfires, acting as DJ at camp dances, providing musical assistance for talent show performances, playing music and camp songs at meal times, and creating and leading music workshops for campers. The Camp Musician is also assigned to a cabin when not playing music. This person should have the ability to play guitar and/or keyboards in a wide variety of musical styles (singing a plus).  Candidates with experience performing and leading songs in large groups preferred.

Camp Photographer

The Camp Photographer captures the magic and spirit of each camp session. Photographs will be used in a variety of ways, which may include a slide show, camper newsletter, website scrap book, and promotional materials for The Painted Turtle. The Camp Photographer may also lead photography workshops for campers. The Camp Photographer will be assigned to a cabin to assist when not taking pictures. This person should have experience in photography (photographing children a plus), and must have the creative ability to assemble photographs and videos into engaging slideshows. Audio/visual experience a plus.


PFD (Personal Floatation Device or Floating Counselor)

The PFD is a leadership role for an individual who has exceptional skills working with children with special physical, emotional, or behavioral needs. The PFD will be assigned to a specific group of cabins to offer additional support. The PFD will act as part of our cabin teams and will provide all children in their cabin unit a safe and fun experience, with special focus on campers with more individual needs. PFDs will also work closely with the Bale (Unit) Leaders to communicate about behavioral needs of their cabin groups and oversee the bale.

PFDs must have the physical and mental capability of caring for campers with special challenges and confidence in attending to the daily needs of children. PFDs should also have the ability to maintain a positive cabin environment and skills in encouraging group cohesion and self-esteem. PFDs must have the skills needed to effectively supervise staff and volunteers, including conflict resolution skills.

Bale Leader (Unit Leader)

Bale Leaders serve as the leader for the campers, volunteers, and staff in their cabin unit (bale) to ensure a safe, happy, and memorable camping experience. Their primary responsibility is to oversee the operations of 4 cabins (32-40 campers and 16 staff). This includes overseeing childcare, behavior issues, volunteer and staff supervision, unit coordination, and planning of special unit events. Previous resident camping experience preferred. The Bale Leader must have strong problem-solving and conflict resolution skills, the ability to supervise and evaluate staff and volunteers, and the physical and mental capability to oversee the care and operations of 4 cabins. Bale Leaders must also have the ability to observe and assess the appropriateness of camper behavior, enforce appropriate safety regulations and emergency procedures, and apply behavior-management techniques as necessary.

Leadership Associate

The Leadership Associate oversees the Leadership Programs for young adults who aspire to develop their leadership skills. To read more specific details about the Leadership programs, click here.

The Leadership Associate will be responsible for interviewing and selecting Leadership Program participants, designing leadership activities, supervising staff, and assigning participants to appropriate cabin and program experiences. Experience working with teenagers and knowledge of the camp environment is preferred. Past experience with leadership programs a plus. This person must be a team player with excellent skills in communication, administration and organization, and conflict resolution. Experience in coaching and/or personal management preferred.

If this sounds like the job for you, please apply online.  Please note that we will begin reviewing applications for our next Summer season in January.  If you are interested in applying you may do so at any time.  However, we will not begin the seasonal hiring process until the new year.

We encourage you to sign up to volunteer at one of our Fall or Spring Family Weekends if you are considering a summer position. Volunteering is a great way to get involved in the program and learn more about The Painted Turtle. For more information, see Camp Volunteer Opportunities.

Staff Testimonials

  • “I couldn’t think of another way I’d rather spend my summer.”
  • “I feel the time I have spent at The Painted Turtle has been an amazing experience of fun and growth that has had a profound impact on my life.”
  • “Three months of helping kids realize that they can do anything they set their minds to. Three months of working with some of the most amazing people from all around the world. Three months of hoping to change a life but having mine changed instead. The best three months of my life.”
  • “The Painted Turtle has given a gift to every single person who has come through those gates; the ability to be your best self and be proud of who you are. I have seen and experienced how spending just one week at camp can change your life. For most campers, The Painted Turtle gives them the ability to live their lives to the fullest despite anything that may stand in their way. I love being a part of the team that creates this magic.”
  • “My experience last summer was absolutely transformative for me. It was the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I think I’ve ever done. Unlike any other time in my life, I felt like every good quality I had inside of me came shooting out and all my skills and talents were put to use for one incredible purpose.”
  • “Working on the summer staff team at The Painted Turtle was an experience I will never forget.  I was born and raised in a small community and haven’t traveled much in my life.  After a summer at The Painted Turtle, I now have close friends in virtually every region of the United States, and I keep in touch with many of them on a regular basis.  Most of us are studying different subjects or working in unrelated fields, but we all shared the desire to do something amazing with our time.  I believe that many of us have become friends for life.”