Summer Staff Positions

Summer staff positions, staff member with camper giving thumbs up!

We have many different Summer Staff opportunities for compassionate people of all talents!  We encourage you to browse the position descriptions and qualifications. 

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 all 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 visit our section for Medical Professionals.


Counselor Positions

Cabin Counselor

Cabin Counselors work together with a team to lead assigned cabins throughout all summer sessions. Counselors live in cabins with 8-10 campers and 4-5 other counselors. Cabin counselors work with children ages 7-16. 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
  • Maintain a positive cabin environment by encouraging group cohesion and self-esteem
  • Orienting and integrating new volunteers into our staff team each week


  • Must have the physical and mental capability of caring for campers
  • Confidence in attending to the daily needs of children 
  • Comfortable working as a team to ensure the safety and welfare of the children under their care
  • Compassionate, kind, and sympathetic 

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 and Rock Climbing
  • Creative Arts: Theatre
  • Discovery: Science, Nature, and Cooking
  • Entertainment
  • Music: Camp Musician
  • Photography: Camp Photographer
  • Waterfront Team: Boating, Fishing, and Pool. Certified lifeguards are eligible for this team.

Activity Counselors are expected to execute engaging, inclusive programming that is age-appropriate, safe, and fun.  Activity Counselors have the following responsibilities:

  • Run All-Camp activities such as Stage Night, Campfire, Carnival, and other group activities.
  • Work with a specific cabin when they are not running program areas or All Camp activities.
  • Orient and integrate new volunteers into our staff team each week.
  • Each area has an assigned Program Leader, a counselor with the additional responsibilities of managing the program budget, ordering supplies, and overseeing program planning and execution in collaboration with their co-program counselor.
  • Experience teaching or coaching children in a specialty program area is preferred.

Entertainment Team

The Entertainment Team oversees creating, setting up, and leading All Camp activities. Entertainment also:

  • Executes a creative vision with the goal of entertaining up to 120 campers while ensuring safety standards are upheld
  • Hosting 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.
  • Should be comfortable speaking and performing in front of a crowd
  • 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
  • Creating and leading music workshops for campers
  • The Camp Musician is also assigned to a cabin when not playing music.


  • 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. Responsibilities include:

  • Photographing all camp events
  • Creating a slideshow for each session
  • Working with Communications team at Santa Monica office to pass along photos
  • May also lead photography workshops for campers.
  • The Camp Photographer will be assigned to a cabin to assist when not taking pictures.


  • Experience in photography (photographing children a plus)
  • Creative ability to assemble photographs and videos into engaging slideshows. 
  • Video experience a plus.

Cabin Life Leadership Positions

PFD (Personal Flotation 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:

  • Is assigned to a specific group of cabins to offer additional support
  • Acts 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
  • Works closely with the Bale (Unit) Leaders to communicate about behavioral needs of their cabin groups and oversee the bale


  • Physical and mental capability of caring for campers with special challenges and confidence in attending to the daily needs of children
  • Ability to maintain a positive cabin environment and skills in encouraging group cohesion and self-esteem
  • Effectively supervise staff and volunteers, including conflict resolution skills.

Bale Leader (Unit Leader)

At The Painted Turtle, a group of cabins is called a bale, which is a group of turtles! Bale Leaders serve as the leader for the campers, volunteers, and staff in their bale. Responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring a safe, happy, and memorable camping experience
  • Overseeing the operations of 4 cabins (32-40 campers and 16 staff)
  • Overseeing childcare
  • Managing behavior issues
  • Volunteer/staff supervision and unit coordination
  • Planning special unit events


  • Strong problem-solving and conflict resolution skills
  • Ability to supervise and evaluate staff and volunteers
  • Physical and mental capability to oversee the care and operations of 4 cabins.
  • Ability to observe and assess the appropriateness of camper behavior
  • Comfortable enforcing appropriate safety regulations, emergency procedures, and behavior-management techniques as necessary
  • Previous resident camping experience preferred

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
  • Assigning participants to appropriate cabin and program experiences.


  • Must be a team player with excellent skills in communication, administration and organization, and conflict resolution
  • Experience working with teenagers and knowledge of the camp environment is preferred
  • Past experience with leadership programs a plus
  • Experience in coaching and/or personal management preferred

Dietary Specialist 

The Dietary Specialist works closely with counselors, medical staff, and our kitchen staff to provide safe and wonderful meals for our campers with dietary needs.
Dietary Specialist also:

  • Communicate with parents to plan and ensure campers get the nutrients they need.
  • Plan activities based around food and healthy living.


  • Strong interest in nutrition or a dietitian student
  • Basic knowledge of special diets


If this sounds like the job for you, please apply online.  Though we accept applications on a rolling basis and begin reviewing applications for our next Summer season in January.


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.