Could this be the place for you?

With an exceptional core of seasoned year-round staff, low instructor to student ratios and a supportive environment, a job with Primitive Pursuits offers many opportunities to grow and master valuable skills.

We are always seeking gregarious, enterprising individuals to join us!

  • Our radical approach to education fosters a meaningful connection to the outdoors through nature awareness, primitive skills, curiosity, community and the mystery of the natural world.
  • Youth aged 3-15 spend their entire days immersed in the fields, forests and waterways of undeveloped nature – gathering resources, crafting tools, navigating the landscape, mastering fire skills and surviving limitless challenges together.
  • We are a not-for-profit nature education program in partnership with two nationally renowned associations: Cornell Cooperative Extension and 4-H Youth Development

Instructors will help craft our nature-based programs, facilitate positive group energy, and keep kids safe and engaged.

HIRING NOW - Open Positions

Summer Staff 2017

We are now accepting applications for Summer 2017 staff

We are looking for:

• Day Camp Youth Wilderness Instructors
• Overnight Camp Teen Wilderness Instructors
• Growing Wild (Ages 3-5) Instructors
• Summer Camp Kitchen Manager

• Tribe Leaders and Camp Coordinators (Positions Filled)

CCE-Tompkins is an equal opportunity and affirmative action educator and employer.

Camp Kitchen Manager Summer 2017

This position will provide nutritious meals for campers and staff attending our overnight camps at the Arnot Forest. As a wilderness adventure camp, this position requires creativity in using the outdoors as the kitchen alongside our commercial kitchen. Kitchen manager will coordinate meals taking place indoors and outdoors at wilderness base camps. Preparing meals for special diets, ordering food, crafting menus and organizing kitchen supplies and cleanliness. There will be housing onsite provided in our rustic camps, which includes access to a kitchen and bathrooms. Also, this position will benefit from our staff discounts on our youth programs.

Salary Range: $12-15/hour. This is a 40 hours per week position


  • Manage all aspects of food service for our summer camp kitchen
  • Manage the upkeep, organization and cleanliness of kitchen
  • Plan and order food in timely and efficient manner while following a budget
  • Before summer begins, plan meal schedule and manage food order
  • Prepare three meals a day, plus snacks for 35 person camp community
  • By personal example, create kitchen culture that is respectful, clean and follows health code.
  • Keeps records of purchases, menus and inventory.
  • Ensure all campers, no matter their dietary restrictions have access to nutritious meals three times a day.
  • Communicate with parents on an as needed basis
  • Participate in camp activities and events when needed
  • Communicate with staff to adjust meals based on location and needs for that day

Education and Experience:

1-2 years’ experience working a camp kitchen setting and/or

1-2 years experience working in a commercial kitchen with meal planning responsibilities

Key Competencies:

Flexible--ability to adapt to different environments and schedules

Team player who is responsible and hard-working

Able to communicate effectively in high stress situations

Strong assessment abilities

Prior experience with children

Ability to lift and carry heavy objects

Camp Nurse/Health Director Summer 2017

This 20/hour per week, part time position provides medical related care for an overnight summer camp and oversight of NYS Summer Camp health care compliance activities. The Camp Nurse will help receive vampers and families when they arrive each week, will be available each camp day to attend to camper/staff medical needs, and will maintain the camp infirmary. Sleeping accommodations are available for the Camp Nurse, and family members, though living onsite is not required. This position also serves as a Health Director that consults with our Camp Director about more serious health concerns with all of our campers in both overnight and day camps.

This roles necessitates daily (Sunday-Friday) visits to the Arnot Forest Field Campus, plus on-call hours for the following weeks: June 25-August 4th

Salary Range: $350-400 per week


  • 21 years of age or older
  • RN or LPN degree
  • ER and/or pediatric unit experience preferred, but not required
  • Team oriented and dependable
  • Good bedside manner, friendly and personable
  • Strong assessment abilities
  • Prior experience with youth
  • Flexible - ability to adapt to different environments and schedules
  • Willing to obtain appropriate state licensure
  • Availability for all dates and times
  • Ability to pass all required background checks

Summer Opportunities

Qualified applicants will have:

• Experience working with children
• Strong background in natural history, primitive skills, and/or teambuilding
• Compassion, creativity, attention to safety, a passion for teaching and nature
• Willingness to work in a collaborative team to create and deliver safe, quality programs
• Good sense of humor and flexibility


Year-Round Positions:

Primitive Pursuits is a year-round nature awareness and primitive skills program serving children ages 3-15 in Ithaca, NY. Our programs for youth include afterschool, homeschool, forest preschool, school breaks, and summer camp. We also offer adult workshops and teen mentoring opportunities. At Primitive Pursuits we help participants of all ages create a deeper relationship to themselves, each other, and the world around them through primitive skills, natural history exploration, play, song, and story. We are seeking year round staff to work with us, serving youth and adults in the field and in an administrative capacity.

We love our jobs and think Ithaca is a great place to live .

"This weekend made me fully realize that Primitive Pursuits is connecting me with the knowledge that I have been wishing to obtain in order to further my career and skill set. It is great to realize I don't need to travel far to gain this amazing knowledge." Z.K., Workshop Participant

Need a trail guide?

We’re happy to help you navigate. Give us a call at the office (607) 272-2292 ext. 195 or use the link below

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