Student Leadership Opportunities

Become the Coyote, Join the Pack

Want to be a Whole Earth Instructor when you grow up? Or just have a fun summer job while you’re in college? Begin the journey from camper to counselor by joining one of our leadership programs.

As Whole Earth students mature into teens, they have a unique opportunity to become mentors for younger campers. Students participating in our leadership programs are trained in the art of the Coyote, a unique way of teaching that is the foundation of every Whole Earth program. Young Coyotes get to practice their leadership skills, support and inspire campers, and bring in the magic of the trickster. They also get a behind-the-scenes perspective on what it takes to be an outdoor educator, gaining valuable work experience and earning volunteer hours applicable to High School requirements.

Most importantly, young Coyotes get to join The Pack and become a part of an elite group of teens who love to be outside, sneaking through the bushes, practicing survival skills, and becoming one with the mud. Camo that is.

Coyote In Training

  • Program Season: Summer 
  • Ages: Ages 12*-16
  • Program Time: 8:20am-3:30pm
  • Program Cost: $90/per week. This covers registration fees and the cost of operating the CIT program. Scholarships are available. 
  • CIT Application: Applications for CIT positions will be posted February 1st. 
  • Applications Due by February 19th

Take your nature camp experience to the next level! Develop your leadership style and discover the challenges and rewards of being a mentor. 

CITs are placed with a group of younger campers and serve as a role model for campers throughout the camp week. Instructors support CITs over the week at camp as they grow into their skills. CITs also expand their experience by joining the morning and afternoon staff meetings, where we debrief the day and help each other solve challenges. 

CITs are invited to attend three Coyote Gatherings throughout the summer to learn new skills, have fun outside and connect with friends. 

CIT Criteria

  • Ages 12-17*
  • Maturity, interest in leadership, and a positive attitude.
  • Desire to work with younger campers.
  • Ability to communicate with campers, instructors, and peers.
  • Enjoy being outside!
  • Successful completion of Young Mentors Camp, June 24th – 28th 


  • Be a model camper and set a good example for younger campers. 
  • Ask for help when you need it and communicate openly with instructors. 
  • Be friendly and engaging with younger campers throughout the day.
  • Contribute positively to a productive, inclusive and welcoming environment.
  • Assist with, participate in, and occasionally lead games, riddles, and wilderness skills. 


Being a CIT is an opportunity for growth and we are committed to working through challenges with communication, support and setting clear expectations. Occasionally students are not able to meet the behavior expectations for being a CIT and may be asked to leave the program. 

*11 year olds are eligible to be CITs if they are recommended by an instructor. Email if your 11 year old would like to be a CIT.

Junior Coyote

  • Program Season: Summer
  • Ages: Age 14-17
  • Program Time: Overnight Camp, students arrive at Big Bear at 1pm on Saturday and leave at 5pm on Friday. 
  • Program Cost: $300/per week. This covers the cost of food and lodging for a JC. Scholarships are available. 
  • JC Application: Applications will be open February 1st.
  • Applications Due by February 26th.

The Junior Counselor Leadership Program is the next step up from our CIT program. Like CITs, JCs assist Instructors during activities and provide friendly support to campers. However JCs also lead designated activities and provide supervision of campers in cabins. Over the week JCs gain resume-worthy work experience, training and mentorship from instructors, and a chance to develop their leadership style. 

As a JC, you join the staff team in working hard to make camp awesome. Your goal is to support campers in having a great time, and being a JC requires a level of maturity which allows you to put others needs before your own. That said, JCs have a great time at camp! There’s something magical about working hard with a team of people to accomplish something good. Plus, being a JC puts you in an elite group. Remember how much you looked up to the Cool JCs when you were a camper?


  • Age 14-17
  • Experience working as a CIT with Whole Earth, or comparable experience working with youth as a mentor, in addition to experience with Whole Earth as a camper
  • Ability to earn an Oregon Food Handlers card by May 1st (we’ll help!)
  • Ability to attend a 4 hour JC Training from 9am – 1pm on either June 1st or June 15th


  • High level of maturity, ability to put others needs before your own, and willingness to grow as a mentor
  • Positive attitude and adaptability in an unpredictable environment
  • Ability to communicate clearly and respectfully with campers, instructors and peers
  • Strong skills in self-motivation and an ability to practice active listening and critical self-reflection to make improvements
  • Ability to hold yourself to a high standard and be a positive role model for campers


  • Lead Cabin Cleanup with your group every morning (30 mins)
  • Assist with one activity block per day (2.5 hrs)
  • Assist with dishwashing once per day (1.5 hrs)
  • Lead Cabin Time activity every evening (30 mins)
  • Supervise bedtime in your cabin every night (~30 mins)
  • Engage with campers throughout the day to promote a friendly, welcoming environment
  • Participate in daily check-ins with JC Support, which may include modifications, behavior plans and/or disciplinary action if expectations are not met


  • You will receive 4 hours of mentorship training ahead of camp, as well as daily meetings throughout the camp week with the JC Support staff to share challenges and brainstorm solutions
  • You will participate in daily all-staff meetings and get a “behind the scenes” experience of what it takes to be an outdoor educator
  • You are invited to attend three Coyote Gatherings throughout the summer to learn new skills, have fun outside and connect with friends. 

Coyote Leader

  • Program Season: Spring 
  • Program Cost: None

Gain leadership experience while spending school days outdoors! Coyote Leaders help us run essential parts of Outdoor School programs for 5th & 6th grade students, assisting with field studies and engaging with students during games and campfire programs. High school students as well as college students can volunteer as Coyote Leaders. Learn more about being a Coyote Leader at Outdoor School here!