Camp Teen Volunteers inspire children to learn about, love, and protect animals and the environment while assisting with the day-to-day running of Conservation Camp, open to grades preK–4. Through observation, training, professional development, and guidance from counselor mentors, teens will gain valuable skills as they feed their own love for animals and work with young learners.
Camp Teen Volunteers assist counselors with the setup and takedown of activities, participate fully in activities and exploration, and create moments of fun for campers. Teens in this position can expect a dynamic day full of movement in a variety of weather conditions.
This program is looking for teens with a positive attitude, who enjoy working with elementary-aged children and are flexible to the ever-changing environment zoo camp has to offer.
Teens who become Camp Teen Volunteers will receive service hours and participate in weekly scheduled professional development. They will also be invited to Teen Bonding Nights and have an end-of-session Recognition Night to celebrate their work with their families.
The program does not run July 4.
*Last day of school will determine first day of volunteer service
**First day of school will determine last day of volunteer service
To qualify, an applicant must:
- Be entering grades 9-13.
- Be 13-18 years old by June 11, 2022.
- Be fully vaccinated (two or more doses) for COVID-19.
Camp Teen Volunteers must be available for their day of training, which takes place June 11, 2022 for Session 1 or July 23, 2022 for Session 2. Planned absences that do not occur during training, and which have been discussed with a supervisor, are possible. However, long absences (such as a week-long family vacation) may disqualify a candidate from the program, as a volunteer would miss too many events and activities. Session 1’s first day will be dependent on the last day of school and Session 2’s last day will be dependent on the first day of school.
The application for the 2022 season has closed. Please check back in February 2023 for next year’s application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will there be an interview?
Yes. All applicants will be asked to interview at the zoo with members of the Camp Leadership Team. Interviews will be held April 15–16. Interview times will be released after an applicant has been invited for an interview.
Can I volunteer for both sessions?
No. A substantial number of qualified teens apply for this program, and we want to offer the opportunity to as many as possible.
Is this a paid position?
No. Participants are volunteers and are donating their time to the zoo. They will receive other non-monetary benefits during the program, such as service hours and/or completion of the Chicago Public Schools Service Learning Project, up to 15 Professional Development Sessions, zoo-sponsored Teen Bonding Nights, a zoo-sponsored CTV Dinner and Recognition Night for teens and their families, and professional education experience.
Will I be in charge of campers?
No. Camp teen volunteers play a supporting role to the camp instructors and will never be “in charge” of campers by themselves. They may have the opportunity to lead an activity, but they will never be left alone with a group of campers.
How will I know if I’ve been accepted?
We will contact all applicants via email by Friday, April 22 whether or not they have been selected for an interview.
Can I apply for multiple teen programs?
Yes! Applicants can apply to every program simultaneously. Please note: Eligibility requirements vary between programs.