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 interested in those with a passion for what we do! If you don’t see the position or internship you are looking for, reach out to us at [email protected]

summer ’23 positions Listed Below! internships POSTING soon!

Primitive Pursuits of Ithaca, NY is a renowned outdoor youth development program in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension and 4-H Youth Development. We offer nature-based skills and experiences that foster youth development and connections with nature. Our summer programs utilize time-honored mentoring techniques and an outdoor immersion curriculum. By learning and teaching wilderness living skills in small groups, locally, we create unique experiences of wilderness adventure and community building in a format that is inclusive for families of all income levels. 

A Video Introduction

Employment Position Descriptions

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Assistant Summer Camp Director

The Assistant Day Camp Director works collaboratively with the Camp Director to support our mission within the summer camp operations. Responsibilities include mentorship of staff, responding to emergencies, facilitating staff meetings and planning, maintaining camp resources and supplies, and interacting with parents, campers, staff and administration as needed. Prior to the summer camp season, this position also assists the Camp Director with staff training preparation and implementation, site and resource organization, and other administrative tasks. This is a great role for someone who would like to become more involved with the leadership-side of summer camp.

Employment Dates:
Jan. 27, 2023 – Sept. 22, 2023

Hours Per Week:
20 HRS: Jan. 27,2023 – May 5, 2023 (Mon – Fri.)
40 HRS: May 6, 2023 – Sept. 22, 2023 (Mon – Fri.)

Compensation: $16-18/hr. (depending on experience)

PRINTABLE PDF DESCRIPTION >>

APPLICATION + FULL DESCRIPTION >>

For additional questions please contact: [email protected]
Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2023, or until all positions are filled.

Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County provides equal programs and job opportunities. No person shall be denied employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or qualified disability. Individuals who bring a diverse perspective and are supportive of diversity are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please be sure to read the Notice to Applicants found on the Jobs with CCE page.
No relocation or VISA Sponsorship is available.

 The Association may make reasonable accommodations to enable applicants to participate in the hiring process and employees to perform the essential functions of their job. If you require accommodation so you may participate in the selection process you are encouraged to contact CCE Tompkins HR at [email protected]

 

Lead Wilderness Instructor

A Lead Wilderness Instructor facilitates the core aim of Primitive Pursuits; bringing groups of youth into natural areas, away from facilities and without modern gear, and engaging them in a fun way that sparks a deep, meaningful connection to the natural world, themselves, and each other. The key role of a Lead Wilderness Instructor is to design and implement the flow of the week centered on assisting and instructing youth on outdoor and naturalist skills, including but not limited to primitive technology, fire making, shelter construction and procurement of food and water. Lead Wilderness Instructors act as mentors who share their naturalist skills and knowledge, promote stewardship and build healthful relationships in the outdoor environment. Wilderness Instructors may work with Growing Wild (3-5 yr olds) or Day Camp (5-15 yr olds).

Employment Dates:
Mid-June 2023 – September 8, 2023
Hours Per Week: 40 (Mon – Fri)
Ideally a minimum of 7-week commitment

Compensation: $15.75-$17.25/hr. depending on experience

PRINTABLE PDF JOB DESCRIPTION
APPLICATION + FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2023, or until all positions are filled.

Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County provides equal programs and job opportunities. No person shall be denied employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or qualified disability. Individuals who bring a diverse perspective and are supportive of diversity are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please be sure to read the Notice to Applicants found on the Jobs with CCE page.
No relocation or VISA Sponsorship is available.

 The Association may make reasonable accommodations to enable applicants to participate in the hiring process and employees to perform the essential functions of their job. If you require accommodation so you may participate in the selection process you are encouraged to contact CCE Tompkins HR at [email protected]

Wilderness Instructor

A Wilderness Instructor facilitates the core aim of Primitive Pursuits; bringing groups of youth into natural areas, away from facilities and without modern gear, and engaging them in a fun way that sparks a deep, meaningful connection to the natural world, themselves, and each other. The key role of a Wilderness Instructor is to assist and instruct youth on outdoor and naturalist skills, including but not limited to: primitive technology, fire making, shelter construction and procurement of food and water. Wilderness instructors act as mentors who share their naturalist skills and knowledge, promote stewardship and build healthful relationships in the outdoor environment. Wilderness Instructors may work with Growing Wild (3-5 yr olds) or Day Camp (5-15 yr olds). 

Employment Dates:
Mid-June 2023 – September 8, 2023
Hours Per Week: 40 (Mon – Fri)
Ideally a minimum of 7-week commitment

Compensation: $14.20-$16.00/hr. depending on experience

PRINTABLE PDF JOB DESCRIPTION
APPLICATION + FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2023, or until all positions are filled.

Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County provides equal programs and job opportunities. No person shall be denied employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or qualified disability. Individuals who bring a diverse perspective and are supportive of diversity are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please be sure to read the Notice to Applicants found on the Jobs with CCE page.
No relocation or VISA Sponsorship is available.

 The Association may make reasonable accommodations to enable applicants to participate in the hiring process and employees to perform the essential functions of their job. If you require accommodation so you may participate in the selection process you are encouraged to contact CCE Tompkins HR at [email protected]

Logistics Coordinator

The Logistics Coordinator supports the behind-the-scenes of summer camp to ensure a safe, fun, and smooth-running operation. This is a 25 hour a week seasonal position that provides logistical and organizational support to all aspects of camp including, but not limited to lost and found, camp expenses, camp store orders, and laundry systems. This position requires the ability to be an organized, a systems thinker and have an efficient work ethic.

Must be 18 years or older
Employment Dates: June 19, 2023 – Sept. 8, 2023
Hours Per Week: 25 (M – F)
Compensation: $14.20-$16.00/ hr. (depending on experience)

PRINTABLE PDF JOB DESCRIPTION

APPLICATION + FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2023, or until all positions are filled.

Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County provides equal programs and job opportunities. No person shall be denied employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or qualified disability. Individuals who bring a diverse perspective and are supportive of diversity are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please be sure to read the Notice to Applicants found on the Jobs with CCE page.
No relocation or VISA Sponsorship is available.

 The Association may make reasonable accommodations to enable applicants to participate in the hiring process and employees to perform the essential functions of their job. If you require accommodation so you may participate in the selection process you are encouraged to contact CCE Tompkins HR at [email protected]

JOIN US FOR…FRICTION FIRE. EPIC GAMES. LAUGHTER. STORIES AND SONGS. COMMUNITY BUILDING. GRATITUDE. PRIMITIVE SKILL BUILDING. ALL-OUTDOOR FUN.  

We are proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and an affirmative action employer. At Primitive Pursuits, we don’t just accept difference — we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment for the benefit of our employees, our programs, and the communities we serve.

If you have any questions send us an email at [email protected]

Who should apply?

We are looking for people who value time spent in nature in all weather, are inspired by connecting with youth of all ages in the outdoors, enjoy working in a collaborative enviornment, and strongly believe this work is contributing to the future sustainability of our community and the world.

When is the deadline to apply?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants who are interested in applying for the Assistant Summer Camp Director should apply by March 1, 2023. Applicants who are interested in Logistics Coordinator, Lead Wilderness Instructor, Wilderness Instructor, or Internship position are encouraged to apply by May 1, 2023. 

Interviews will continue until all positions are filled which is usually in May. The earlier you apply, the better!

What happens after I submit my application?

Ideally, within a week of receiving your application, you will receive an email from us letting you know whether you have qualified for an interview. Interviews will happen in person, if possible. If not possible, video calls will be the second choice.

How can I strengthen my application?

• Work or volunteer for an outdoor education organization with direct experience with youth
• Attend a primitive skills gathering or workshop
• Participate in adult development opportunities related to naturalist skills and nature mentoring such as the Primitive Pursuits Wilderness Year program, Alderleaf Wilderness School, programs through Wilderness Awareness School and others with similar outcomes.
• Become familiar with nature mentoring, such as by reading The Coyote’s Guide by Jon Young

Staff Expectations

• Spend entire days immersed in the fields, forests and waterways of undeveloped nature in the Finger Lakes Region, in all weather conditions
• Be punctual and present for required trainings, planning sessions and assigned hours
• Explore your own personal connection with nature so you can share stories, experiences, learning and inquiries with others
• Engage and connect with children in nature in meaningful and inspiring ways
• Work collaboratively on teams to create meaningful and memorable experiences
• Promote inclusive and welcoming environments that value diversity of staff and participants
• Value and practice self-awareness, professionalism and positive communication skills
• Have a good sense of humor, be creative and flexible, and have a deep love for learning
• Believe that connecting kids to the natural world in meaningful ways plays a big part in improving the health of our planet for future generations
• Role-model engaged, compassionate, inspired, curious learners
• Ask questions!

What training is offered?

We provide required week-long training for our new and returning staff.

Over the course of the week new staff will:

  • Be introduced to our methods, philosophy, and culture of nature connection
  • Be exposed to a range of games, activities, and camp spaces
  • Learn and develop their naturalist and primitive skills
  • Understand our risk management policy, why it is important, and how it guides our overall program
  • Get to connect and learn with other summer staff
  • Immerse into the Primitive Pursuits culture
  • Practice and learn effective forms of feedback
  • And More! 

 

In addition to everything listed above, lead staff will:

  • Dive deeply into what Coyote Mentoring and the Eight Sheilds Teaching Model are and how we incorporate them into our programs
  • Learn how to plan a fun, meaningful, and impactful arc (plan) for the week
  • Understand the various roles of an instructor team and how to provide support for each person
  • Learn how to be an effective mentor and support for their instructor team

 

For those interested, a one-day archery training may be available for lead and assistant wilderness instructors. 

We also offer opportunities outside of camp hours for further skill training and community building throughout the summer!

What are past staff members saying?

“ I made so many friendships with other instructors during this summer, and I loved coming to work. This definitely felt like a community. I also felt like I gained a lot of good experience and ideas after working with skilled lead counselors.”  – Summer Wilderness Instructor

“ I feel extremely lucky that I was able to spend so many of my weeks in the woods this summer. I love being in nature, and probably the most rewarding aspect of my work this summer was being able to connect with so many kids. I loved that I could create a positive, happy experience for kids by playing games, telling stories, and just being in the woods having fun.” – Summer Wilderness Instructor

“Working with Primitive Pursuits has taught me invaluable life skills. It combines learning, mentoring, exploration, daring, creativity, intuition, and practicality for an enriching experience, with the natural world as the classroom!” – Summer Wilderness Instructor

“The sentiment of “meeting everyone where they are at” has left me with a lifelong lesson to practice. My heart beams with gratitude for the empowerment, empathy, and support I felt from my time at Primitive Pursuits. This experience allowed me to grow as a leader, teammate, and individual.” – Summer Camp Coordinator

Time Commitment
  • All staff are required to attend staff training the week of June 19th-23rd.  
  • Summer camp runs from June 26-September 1. We would like all wilderness instructors to work a minimum of 7 weeks and a maximum of 9 weeks during the camp season in addition to staff training. Interns are required to work a minimum of 3 weeks and a maximum of 9 weeks in addition to staff training week.
  • Admin and Photojournalist Interns will create a schedule based on the camp’s needs and expectations
Do I need to be vaccinated?

Cornell Cooperative Extension is following all guidance and recommendations by the CDC, NYS Health Department, and Tompkins Health Department.

Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County provides equal program and job opportunities. No person shall be denied employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or qualified disability. Individuals who bring a diverse perspective and are supportive of diversity are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please be sure to read the Notice to Applicants found on the Jobs with CCE page:

No relocation or VISA Sponsorship available.

The Association may make reasonable accommodations to enable applicants to participate in the hiring process and employees to perform the essential functions of their job. If you require an accommodation so you may participate in the selection process you are encouraged to contact CCE Tompkins HR at [email protected].  

 

Now, more than ever, we need nature as a balancing agent.”
Richard Louv

Author of 'The Last Child in the Woods'