Teen Leadership

 Now Accepting Applications for Summer 2021!

At Primitive Pursuits, we focus heavily on youth leadership and development programs and rely on these teen leaders in the field. 

The goal of our youth mentorship programs is to create powerful, growth-full, and life-changing experiences for teen participants. Under the guidance of our seasoned Wilderness Instructor staff, youth leaders are in the unique position of simultaneously observing and practicing mentoring skills while being mentored themselves. Teens  will gain skills and professional experience teaching side-by-side with seasoned expert wilderness skills Instructors.

Junior Counselor

Who: Young adults ages 16-17 (must turn 16 by June 20).
Younger teens ages 13-15 can apply to be Counselors In Training.

As a Junior Counselor with Primitive Pursuits you will have the opportunity to learn and teach side by side with our seasoned staff in the following areas:

  • Leadership and Team Building
  • Earth Living/Outdoor/Naturalist Skills
  • Primitive Technologies
  • Awareness of Self and Others
  • Mentoring Practices
  • Communication and Professionalism

Many graduates have continued on with Primitive Pursuits and other local nature awareness programs as paid employees. Others, after graduating high school, have gone on to establish popular outdoor adventure programs while at schools like Tufts University and SUNY ESF – a testament to the experience they had here with youth outdoor/environmental leadership. Use your Junior Counselor experience as a resume builder!

A Day in the Life: Junior Counselors become part of a team of instructors to work with a group of campers for the week. They arrive at camp early each day to participate in team-building, game-planning and preparation time with the rest of the staff. This sneak peek behind the scenes allows teens to begin developing an awareness for both curriculum design as well as the need for improvisation, making last minute changes due to things like weather or new opportunities. Throughout the day they play dual roles; both as participants, practicing skills along with the group, and as assistants, being called upon to lead activities. At the end of each day they participate in our daily debrief, receiving and offering valuable feedback, sharing stories and closing the circle for the day. Some teens will assist in our after-camp care.

What does this look like?

  • Skill training days – Teens receive direct instruction from core Primitive Pursuits staff. Prior to summer you will be part of our summer staff training.
  • Leadership opportunities – Teens get experience mentoring younger participants at programs each week
  • One on one coaching and skill assessment in four core areas: Primitive Technology, Outdoor Skills, Teaching, Teamwork and Professionalism.
  • Resume building – References for job and college placement.
  • Regalia, get the coveted, limited edition Summer Staff t-shirt

Junior Counselor spaces are offered each week of summer. We require Junior Counselors to participate in Staff Training Week plus a minimum of three weeks of summer camp (120 hours).

Cost: No-Fee 
Junior Counselors are part of our vital volunteer corps. As a non-profit organization, we rely on skilled volunteers to make it all happen.

 teen assists

Who: Our most experienced young adults leaders ages 16-17 (must turn 16 by June 20). Younger teens ages 13-15 can apply to be Counselors In Training.

Primitive Pursuits offers a limited number of coveted paid Teen Assist positions for our most qualified 16 and 17 year old teens. Teen Assists have been campers themselves and have participated in our CIT and/or Junior Counselor program. We made the decision to invest in supporting these teens because of the tremendous potential they have to develop into outstanding adult leaders.

This is on the job training! You will be joining our college interns and apprentices in an adult-level leadership training program where you will be mentored by our experienced Wilderness Instructor staff, receiving opportunities for self-directed growth as well as feedback and support regarding your performance. Teen Assists are an integral part of our instructor team, contributing to the planning and implementation of our summer camp programs while gaining valuable experience in collaboration and teamwork.

Once 18, teens are eligible to apply to be a Wilderness Instructor with Primitive Pursuits. Completion of our teen leadership training provides an enormous advantage as we highly value their experiences and perspectives. Some choose to work with us for many summers to come.

A Teen Assist experience with Primitive Pursuits offers work experience relevant to other future jobs as well. Businesses and nonprofits alike seek prospective employees with supervisory, program planning and team leading experience. Working as a Teen Assist is a fantastic resume builder!

Our Teen Assists are passionate about nature and the outdoors, adventures and games, and mentoring young campers while growing their own skills. This meaningful work is highly experiential and rewarding. This is an opportunity to mentor future generations, foster well-being in other young people, and develop your personal gifts while contributing to the legacy of the Primitive Pursuits mission.