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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

Volunteer with Nature Day Camp

Information on volunteering with the Teacher Apprentice program (ages 13-17)

Nature Day Camp Volunteers, called Teacher Apprentices, spend a week of camp as a "teacher in training." Campers (who could be between the ages of 3-12) are divided into small groups and spend each day with our trained EE Staff where they learn about ecology, engage in nature play, explore and build connections to people and place! Volunteers assist the EE staff by helping the campers with tasks, playing games, reading stories, doing crafts and getting to know the campers. Our volunteers are great teen role models to the campers, and have a lot of energy for running, playing and hanging out with children.

Each week, teens are asked to attend the pre-camp meeting on Monday morning, and then be at camp from 8:30-3:30 each day. Experienced, paid naturalists in each group help shape the ways that the volunteer can engage with the children. Volunteers who feel extra confident and experienced might jump in easily, while those who are new to the scene might be eased in by our staff. Either way, we challenge our teens to be mature and responsible, spending all 7 hours each day engaged with the children and helping make the week fun, educational, and imaginative. Throughout the week, our Mentoring Coach helps guide the experience and work through any issues or nervousness the teen volunteer might be having. 

If your teen prefers to help with our Preschool program - Rockin Robins Nature Camp - please make sure to note it on the Teacher Apprentice Intake Form, and most of the day with be with the preschool camp, where children are 3.75-6 yrs. 

To register as a Teacher Apprentice:

  • Browse the schedule of Teacher Apprentice options. Volunteer to help at camp any week between June 26 and Aug 25. There are two site options most weeks. 
  • Compare dates and locations, and find the one(s) that work best for you.
  • Choose which weeks you would like to register for - you can see online how many spots are still available. 
  • ALL REGISTRATIONS MUST BE DONE OVER THE PHONE! Call Chrissy at 503-823-3601 or the Customer Service Center at 503-823-2525 and register for 1-3 weeks during the summer. There is a $25 fee for each week that helps cover the cost of a t-shirt and training costs. NO TEEN WILL BE TURNED AWAY. If you can help us cover the cost, great. If not, we have scholarships available for families in need. If you need a scholarship, please register with the EE Office at 503-823-3601. 
  • Mark your calendar with your required training date! You will need to attend one of the two date options for Teacher Apprentice training. (Wednesday, June 21 @ Hoyt Arboretum OR Thursday, June 22 @ Mt Tabor Park) 
  • Teens - fill out the Teacher Apprentice Form and mail, fax or email it to our office by June 1, 2017. CLICK HERE to download it.

    Teens enrolled in the Teacher Apprentice program should show a genuine interest in working with children & youth as well as an interest in learning about and connecting to the natural world. Teens will need to communicate to children and adults in a professional manner and demonstrate qualities of a positive role model for children – ensure appropriate language & conversation topics, look out for children’s safety and treat all children equally. Teens who become Teacher Apprentices should be responsible, teachable and able to take initiative