Summer Zoo Camp Counselor


We are looking for an enthusiastic, attentive Camp Counselor to lead, support, and motivate campers as they enjoy all that the camp has to offer. The Camp Counselor will help plan events and lead group events, monitor campers and respond to incidents, such as behavioral problems or accidents, log events and maintain records relating to activities, and discuss camper participation and concerns with parents and other camp staff members. You should be positive, proactive, and caring while focusing on giving campers a fun, safe camp experience.

To succeed as a Camp Counselor, you should be upbeat, decisive, and responsible. You should also be organized and possess strong leadership skills.

The Summer Zoo Camp Counselor is a member of the Utica Zoo’s Education team reporting to the Education and Conservation Manager. Seasonal, full-time, hourly (non-exempt), Union position. The schedule for this position is June 24th to August 30th, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.

Essential Duties, Skills, and Responsibilities:

·        Camper Needs

o   Provide a friendly and supportive learning environment. Learn the likes and dislikes of each camper and get to know each one equally. Encourage campers to establish new friendships, develop “group unity”, and understand the needs of campers in a camp community situation.

o   Know the camp schedule and explain it to the campers. Ensure the campers participate in scheduled camp activities instead of “hanging out” separately from the rest of the group.

o   Recognize, respond to and discuss opportunities for problem solving in the group.

o   Provide opportunities for the group so that each camper experiences success at camp.

o   Carry out established roles for supervision of camper health.

·        Camp Program

o   Work with the education staff during Staff Training to set up the area and program for campers.

o   Integration of your specialization with other camp activities and plans.

o   Conduct daily check of program area and equipment for safety, cleanliness, and good repair.

o   Assist campers in participating successfully in all aspects of the Zoo Camp program.

o   Develop activity plans for campers as appropriate.

o   Guide campers in emergency situations such as fire, lost camper, etc.

o   As assigned, create, teach, and/or lead activities as directed.

  • Other Camp Responsibilities

o   Prepare for and actively participate in staff training, staff meetings, and workshops throughout the contracted season.

o   Report for camp duties, camper check in /check out, sanitation or other zoo upkeep related tasks when requested.

o   Assist in conducting initial and end of season camp-wide cleaning, inventory and storage.

o   At end of season, evaluate current season and make recommendation for following season.

o   Assist with the teachings of conservation and positive zoo interactions to campers, parents and the general public.


·        General

o   Responsible for the safety and welfare of campers: resolve camper issues and conflicts appropriately and in a timely manner, ensure campers are adequately supervised at all times, have an awareness of the location of all assigned campers at all times.

o   Be a positive role model at all times to campers and staff regarding cleanliness, punctuality, sportsmanship, good manners, teamwork, table manners, etc.

o   Follow zoo rules and regulations pertaining to smoking, use of alcoholic beverages, and the use of drugs.

o   Be flexible and willing to change routine.  Some work assignments may be reassigned and other duties may be assigned as necessary.

o   Be willing to cooperate with zoo professionals and volunteers, other staff members and other people involved with the planning and implementation of the camp program, activities, etc.

o   Use thoughtful and mature judgement.

o   Abide by and support all zoo policies and majority decisions.

o   Maintain good public relations with campers’ parents.

o   Consistently and completely perform responsibilities of the position in an independent manner.

o   Report any maintenance problems to Maintenance Worker or immediate supervisor.

o   Inform the lead camp counselor of problems or unusual activities that pertain to the camp program, animals, or zoo facilities.

o   When requested by the Education and Conservation Manager or lead camp counselor, perform tasks required for the successful operation of the camp program.

·        Supervision

o   This person is under the direct supervision of the Education and Conservation Manager for activities pertaining to the general operation of Zoo Camp, such as but not limited to daily programming, cleaning and sanitizing, camper issues, etc.  During activity periods, this person is under the supervision of the lead camp counselor. 

Work Environment/Physical Demands:

  • Must be able to lift and carry up to 50 pounds for short periods of time.
  • Must be able to physically keep up with the children to monitor their safety.
  • Must be able to be outside in a variety of weather conditions, including rain and high temperatures. 

Education and Experience:


  • Must be at least 18 years of age and completed one year of college. Preferred a degree or working towards a degree in a formal or environmental education field
  • Ability to work well with individuals of all ages and abilities
  • Competency in a camp skill such as, but not limited to: song leading, crafts, recreational activities, group leading, etc.
  • Desire and ability to work with children outdoors for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to relate to one’s peer group.
  • Experience working with children in a camp or classroom setting and ability to teach an activity.
  • Ability to accept supervision and guidance.
  • Good character, integrity, and adaptability.
  • Enthusiasm, sense of humor, patience, and self-control.
  • Current, valid certification in ARC First Aid and CPR or equivalent.
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • Proof of a negative TB test

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Must be able to assist campers in an emergency, (fire, evacuation, illness, or injury), and possess strength and endurance required to maintain constant supervision of campers.
  •  Must have the ability to communicate and work with groups participating, (age and skill levels), and provide necessary instructions to campers.
  •  Must have the abilities to observe camper behavior, access its appropriateness, enforce appropriate safety regulations and emergency procedures, & apply appropriate behavior-management techniques.
  •  Must have visual, auditory, and cognitive ability to identify and respond to environmental and other hazards related to the activities and camp environment.

Compensation and Benefits:

Job Type: Full-time, seasonal/temporary

Pay: $15.56, union rate

Union Status: Union


  • Employee assistance program
  • Employee discount

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy: The Utica Zoo provides equal employment opportunities to all current employees and all applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, natural origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.  

How to Apply:

Please send resume AND cover letter to OR fill out the application below

Applications also accepted through Indeed.

Fill out my online form.

The Utica Zoo will be closed at 1:00pm on 6/1 for wine in the wilderness and will reopen with normal hours on 6/2!