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Zoo Camp Counselor

Lincoln Park Zoo
Chicago, United States Posted: February 09, 2024

Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, the not-for-profit Lincoln Park Zoo, is a privately-managed, member-supported organization and is free and open 365 days a year.

Who Are We?
  • Lincoln Park Zoo Camps offer exciting exploration opportunities for animal and nature lovers who are 4 years old to children entering grade eight.
  • Each camp group explores the zoo and participates in activities to discover animal diversity, environmental conservation, the ways Lincoln Park Zoo cares for animals at the zoo, and how we help to conserve animals in the wild.  
We Are Looking For…
  • Lincoln Park Zoo is looking for fun and high-energy individuals who enjoy working with children to join the Camp Team as Zoo Camp Counselors.
  • Counselors will provide children with meaningful and memorable summer learning opportunities by teaching a variety of inquiry-based and hands-on activities.
  • Camp Counselors work Monday-Friday with days beginning at 8am and most days ending at 3:30pm.
  • Camp Counselors are required to work our After Care program up to three times a week; After Care ends at 5:15pm.
  • During the summer there will be 3 evening encounters with our oldest campers- counselors working with Grades 6-8 will be expected to stay late with their campers until 8pm. The length of commitment for this position is 10 weeks.
Training- May 31-June 1, June 3-6
  • Camp Dates- June 10-28, July 8- August 16, 2024 (Camp will not run July 1-5)
Required Qualification and Expectations
  • Zoo Camp Counselor is a seasonal, full-time position reporting to the Camp Programs Coordinator.
  • Zoo Camp Counselors are responsible for camper health and safety, teaching content from a pre-developed curriculum in a fun and unique way with co-counselors, promoting engaging and meaningful interactions with campers, creating strong relationships with camp families, and maintaining a professional, safe, and fun work environment.
  • At least one year of college completed or be at least one year out of high school to apply
  • Previous teaching or interpretation experience in a zoo, nature center, school or other educational/childcare setting is preferred
  • Previous camp experience is preferred
  • Excellent classroom management skills
  • Exceptional problem-solving skills with the ability to adapt to changing environments, along with organizational, logistical, and operational skills
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Spanish-speaking ability is preferred
  • Willing and able to faithfully implement Lincoln Park Zoo’s health and safety protocols, including wearing a mask (if policy mandates it for certain experiences), being outdoors, and cleaning materials
  • Must be extremely trustworthy and punctual
  • Possess a positive attitude
  • Complete First Aid and CPR/AED Certification through the zoo or on own
  • Capable of being stationary for long periods of time and working in a variety of weather conditions for much of the day
  • Capable of traversing throughout the zoo up to 5 miles a day
  • Able to lift or carry program supplies weighing up to 50lbs
  • Able to pass a background check
Position Responsibilities
  • Teach from a pre-developed curriculum
  • Deliver curriculum content in a fun and unique way that will be engaging and connect campers to the natural world
  • Be active in all daily camp activities
  • Encourage problem-solving skills in campers
  • Maintain a safe, well-managed camp group
  • Wear a disposable mask when policy mandates
  • Follow all policies and procedures of Lincoln Park Zoo and Camp Programs
  • Assist in maintaining inventory of all camp program supplies
  • Communicate effectively and consistently with camper caregivers
  • Effectively collaborate with the summer camp team
  • Work directly with co-counselors, counselors-in-training, and camp teen volunteers in a professional, effective, and collaborative manner
  • Serve as an inclusive and encouraging role model and an ambassador of Lincoln Park Zoo for campers, participants, and peers
  • Keep accurate attendance sheets, accident reports, behavior reports, and timesheets
  • Empower campers to guide their own experience using zoo-provided curriculum
  • Stay late at the zoo with campers up to 3 times during the duration of the position (Grades 6-8 only)
  • Lead and participate in fieldtrips, some involving water sports and/or adventure courses (Grades 6-8 only)
  • Have fun!
  • Other duties to support the operation of Conservation Camp as assigned
What You Gain
  • Competitive Hourly Rate
  • Professional Development
  • Youth Development Training
  • Classroom and Behavior Management Practice
  • Mentoring Opportunity
  • Informal Teaching Experience
  • Dynamic Work Environment
  • Access to Zoo Professionals 
What Happens Next?
  • The interview process for this position will happen in two stages.
  • If an application is selected, an e-mail will be sent requesting a time and date for an Information Session and mini-interview.
Compensation: $18.00/hr.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo is committed to an environment that is inclusive and welcoming. 
  • We celebrate the diverse qualities, perspectives, values and experiences of all people.
  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and others who identify as nonwhite, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and those with lived experience with racism and/or misogynoir are encouraged to apply.   
  • For Wildlife. For All.
  • $19.00

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