Student Leadership Opportunities

As Whole Earth students mature into young adults, they have a unique opportunity to become mentors for younger students at our various programs. These young mentors get a behind-the-scenes perspective on what it takes to run outdoor education programs, help to support program activities, practice leadership, and have the opportunity to advance their own nature awareness and bushcraft skills.

Students receive training and mentorship from our instructors and meet other young adults passionate about the outdoors while having the opportunity to earn volunteer hours. 

Counselor In Training

  • Program Season: Summer 
  • Program Time: 8:20am-3:30pm
  • Program Cost: $45/per week. This covers registration fees and the cost of operating the CIT program. Scholarships are available. 
  • CIT Application: The priority deadline to apply to be a CIT is Wednesday, March 15th. After this time we may close the CIT application, depending on the number of CIT spots we have left available.

Take your nature camp experience to the next level! Develop your leadership style and discover the challenges and rewards of being a camp counselor. Choose your own nature name and discover your leadership skills and talents, while you expand your own outdoor skills and learn about the needs of children in a camp environment. 

CITs are placed with a group of younger campers and serve as a role model for campers throughout the camp week, supported by the Lead Instructor for their group and the Site Supervisor as needed. CITs expand their learning by joining instructors for our morning group meeting and participating in our after camp meeting, where we debrief the day and help each other solve challenges. 

Students who are CITs can participate in CIT Gatherings throughout the summer season with their peers and Whole Earth instructors. CITs will have the opportunity to attend a Start of Summer CIT Gathering, a MidSummer adventure or skill build, and an End of Summer CIT Celebration! Students can earn volunteer hours during the week(s) they are CITs. Students must complete this application form to be considered for being a CIT this summer. 

CIT Criteria

  • Maturity, interest in leadership, and a positive attitude.
  • Desire to work with younger campers.
  • Ability to communicate with campers, WENS instructors, and peers.
  • Willingness to try new things and advance your learning.
  • Enjoy being outside!
  • Successful completion of Young Mentors Camp. 
  • Age 12-16*

CIT Responsibilities 

  • Being a model camper and setting a good example for younger campers. 
  • Asking for help when you need it and communicating openly with WENS instructors. 
  • Helping younger campers engage in the camp experience throughout the day.
  • Contribute positively to a productive, inclusive and welcoming learning environment.
  • Assisting with, participating in, and occasionally leading games, riddles, and wilderness skills. 
  • Participate with enthusiasm in camp activities! 

We love working with Whole Earth students to make the leap between camper and counselor. 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 have 1) been a CIT in previous summers or 2) if they are recommended by an instructor. Email if your 11 year old would like to be a CIT. 

Junior Counselor

  • Program Season: Summer
  • 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: Application coming soon! 

Junior Counselors, or JCs, gain valuable mentoring experience, get a behind-the-scenes perspective on overnight camp, and develop their leadership skills. JC’s have the opportunity to advance their own nature awareness and bushcraft skills, working on a project of their choosing throughout the week. Students must apply to be a JC. This is an awesome opportunity to go to Big Bear! 

The JC program is designed to give our more experienced students a hands-on leadership experience in mentoring younger campers. Being a JC is different than being a camper. You will be in a position of leadership for younger campers, thus this role will require a willingness and desire to demonstrate responsibility in all interactions. JCs have specific responsibilities to support the camp running smoothly. When they are not supporting camp, JCs have the option to engage in camp activities, work on their bushcraft project or rest. Throughout camp the JC team will have regular mentoring meetings with the Assistant Camp Director in order to support their growth as mentors themselves. 

JC Criteria

  • Maturity, interest in leadership, and an interest in working with youth outdoors.
  • Ability to communicate with campers, WENS instructors, and peers.
  • Positive attitude and ability to be adaptable. 
  • Experience with Whole Earth, as a CIT or previous Overnight camper. 
  • Ages 14-17


JC Responsibilities

  • Contribute positively to a productive, inclusive and welcoming learning environment.
  • Ask for help when you need it and communicate openly with WENS instructors. 
  • Engage with campers during meals, and during camper rest and transition times. 
  • Stay in yurts or tents with campers. 
  • Act as a role model for campers. 

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!