Summer Opportunities

Looking to spend your summer connecting with like-minded people and youth in the outdoors? Consider working in the woods with us!

We Are No Longer Hiring for summer 2021 - Check Back Next Summer!

Position Descriptions to View or Download 

Intern / Apprentice Positions:

Overnight Camp Positions:
(Note that overnight summer camps have not yet been approved for opening and their status is pending guidance from the New York State government.)

  • Overnight Camp Wilderness Instructor
  • Overnight Camp Director
  • Overnight Camp Kitchen Manager
  • Overnight Camp Nurse

  • Do you have a deep connection with the natural world that you want to share with youth?
  • Do you love practicing primitive skills and playing epic games?
  • Do you thrive working on teams in the outdoors?

Primitive Pursuits is the place for you!

We value BELONGING, GRATITUDE, AWARENESS and GETTING OUTSIDE!

We are looking for people who:

  • Are excited to spend entire days immersed in the fields, forests and waterways of undeveloped nature in the Finger Lakes Region
  • Explore their own personal connection with nature so they can share stories, experiences, learning and inquiries with others
  • Live to connect with children and enjoy the company of youth of all ages
  • Are inspired by our radical approach to education which fosters meaningful connection to the outdoors through nature awareness, gratitude, primitive skills, curiosity, community and the mystery of the natural world
  • Thrive working on collaborative teams to create meaningful and memorable experiences
  • Find gathering resources, crafting tools, navigating the landscape, mastering primitive skills and surviving limitless challenges an idea of a good time and time well spent!
  • Promote inclusive and welcoming environments that value diversity of staff and participants
  • Value and practice self-awareness, professionalism and positive communication skills as a means to improve yourself as an individual, team member and citizen of the world.
    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 is a big part in improving the health of our planet for future generations
  • Role-model engaged, compassionate, inspired, curious learners
  • Ask questions! 
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, have a passion for mentoring 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. Interviews will continue until 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 second choice and phone interview third 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
• 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?
For new staff, we provide a three-day training specifically tailored to introducing staff to our methods, philosophy and culture of nature connection. During this training, staff will be exposed to a range of games, activities and skills, and become familiar with the land we use for our camps. This training is required for new staff and runs Monday – Wednesday of training week.
For returning staff, we provide a special one day training for our lead instructors and a one day training for all archery instructors. These experiences help foster our specialized focus and develop staff as leaders in the field.

For all staff, we provide a one to two-day all-staff orientation held before the first week of camp. This is an opportunity for all staff to gather, get to know each other and learn together. The goal of these two days is to discuss, inspire, appreciate, communicate and inquire about our upcoming adventure together. We spend our time deep in skills, risk management, communication systems, team building and fun! We aim to model the feel and culture of what camp might be like while also creating an atmosphere of community.

During the summer, we value feedback as a gift at all times and support staff to learn effective and meaningful forms of feedback. We see this process as a way to learn and grow as leaders and nature mentors. All staff participate in weekly feedback discussions with their team for that week. New staff and more novice staff work with our seasoned lead instructors to build on successes and find areas of growth and improvement. We also offer opportunities outside of camp hours for further skill training and community building throughout the summer.

What are past staff members saying?
What have past staff said about their experience?

“I feel so supported by this community and continue to be impressed by the deep level of communication, mentorship and teamwork that exists at Primitive Pursuits.” – Summer Field Staff

“For me, It’s a tie between two things; being surrounded by forest nerds and the culture of growth and attitude of support for and within the staff” – Summer Field Staff

“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 Field Instructor

“The sentiment of “meeting everyone where they are at” has left me with a life long 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 growth as a leader, teammate and individual.” – Summer Camp Coordinator

My daughter has been pointing out plants to us, and she made a great shelter in just a few minutes on a hike the other day just to show us her skills. We are impressed!”

TP, Parent