Camp teen volunteers inspire children to study, love, and protect animals and the environment while assisting with the day-to-day running of Conservation Camp, open to grades preK–8. Through observation, training, professional development, and guidance from mentors, teens will gain valuable skills, as well as feed their own love for animals and science.
Camp teen volunteers can complete their Chicago Public School Service Project and/or receive service hours for their time.
*The program does not run during the week of July 4.
- Setting up activities, aiding with games and lessons, and troubleshooting general programming
- Helping to maintain a safe and well-managed camp group
- Assisting with check-in and checkout procedures
- Working alongside instructors
- Participating in professional development sessions with camp coordinator, camp assistant, and camp teen mentors
- Complete half a day of training in the spring
- Be entering grades 9–13
- Be 13–18 years old
- Have a positive attitude and adhere to zoo policies, procedures, and guest-service standards
- Be comfortable standing and traversing zoo grounds in all weather conditions
- Complete an online application and submit one reference letter and a personal statement
- Complete an interview
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.
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 School Service 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?
Due to the large volume of applications, we will not be able to respond to each applicant personally. Applicants will receive a call or email if they have been selected to go to the next round of the application process.