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Lair Staffer Application Information

Whether you’ve grown up camping at the Lair, or this is your first time hearing about us, we hope you can join us in the mountains this summer. You will develop friendships that will last forever. You will become part of a very long and rich Lair staff tradition. You will enter a unique family that will make an indelible mark on the rest of your life. Work at the Lair of the Golden Bear! Read on for application details.

Applications for summer 2022 are NOW LIVE! Priority Deadline for returning staff seeking leadership positions is January 1st 2022. Priority Deadline for First Year Applicants is February 11th. Please read this page for more details below.

The safety and well-being of our staffers is our top priority. For 2022, we are implementing expanded health guidelines and heightened hygiene standards for staff and for campers as well.

staff photo of all staff wearing blue and gold Photo by Caroline Connelly

Lair Staffer Application Information

What is the Lair?
Opened in Pinecrest, CA in 1949, the Lair of the Golden Bear is the oldest and largest university-affiliated family camp in the United States. A three hour drive from the Bay Area, you’ll find the three camps that make up the Lair, Camp Blue, Camp Gold, and Camp Oski. Each offers its own facilities, including Dining Hall, pool, sports courts, art areas, and more. Read more about the Lair here.
What are we looking for in a Lair staffer?
We’re looking for creative, team-oriented individuals who will take their job responsibilities seriously and who will breathe life into our summer season in an exceptional way. Successful staffers are friendly, approachable, reliable, flexible, honest, positive, and spirited, among many other things. Additionally, our staff members are role models to our camp kids and provide outstanding customer service to our camping guests each and every day of the summer.
If you love the outdoors and are excited about networking with Cal families and making lifelong friendships with fellow students, then you will love this job.
Lair Staff Selections Timeline 2022
Applications are NOW LIVE! Priority deadline for submitting for first year applicants is February 11th and final selections will be announced by email in March 2022. We will still be accepting applications through the spring, however will have significantly fewer opportunities available.
What else do I need to know?
Am I eligible to apply? When will I be required to arrive at camp? Do I have to stay the whole summer? What is the application process?
Please read our Staff FAQs below, which addresses some of the most common questions, has links to both parts of the applications, and requirements regarding employment opportunities with the Lair of the Golden Bear.

If you have any other questions after you’ve read the FAQ page, please call Josh Dobson at 510.900.8257 or email josh.dobson@alumni.berkeley.edu.

Join Work the Lair on Facebook, and follow Work the Lair on Instagram, for up to date information about the upcoming summer.

FAQs for Lair Staff Applicants

APPLICATION PROCESS
Whether you are applying to be a first-year staffer or have worked a previous summer, each application has two parts. You must submit both parts by the deadline for your application to be considered complete.

Part 1 is via HelloSign, which collects your personal information and signature. Both first year staffers and veteran staffers must fill out this part.

Part 2 for first year staffers is via First Year Staff Application Google Form, which includes open ended, free response questions.

Part 2 for veteran staffers is via Veteran Staff Application Google Form, which includes open ended, free response questions.

Your application is not complete until both sections are submitted. In each part, your progress is not saved, so be prepared to complete each part in one sitting. The Google Form questions are listed on each landing page for New and Veteran applicants, and we recommend that you pre-type your responses, and then copy and paste in to the application when you’re ready to submit it.
NEW STAFF APPLICANTS - Optional video submission
In addition to parts 1 and 2 of the Lair application, new staff applicants may also submit a video. If you choose to make a video, you must include the YouTube link in Part 2 of your application on the Google Form. The video is meant to be a fun opportunity for you to give us a sense of your personality. Videos are to be no longer than three minutes in length. You can theme it however you like. If you search “lair application video” on YouTube, you will find tons of examples: people making fake short movies, to people sitting at their desks telling us why they’d make a good staffer. For privacy reasons, we recommend that you post the video as unlisted, and then include the URL in Part 2 of your application. This is optional.
NEW STAFF APPLICANTS - Optional Letter of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation for new staff applicants are encouraged. Reference letters should be written by a current or former employer, an RA, or past/present Lair staffer. Please do not have a family member write a reference letter. Reference letters are to be filled out and submitted via this Google Form.
DEADLINES FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION
Applications for both new and returning staff are NOW OPEN! Priority deadline for submitting is February 11th, 2022 for first year applicants and January 1st, 2022 for returning staff seeking leadership positions. We will still be accepting applications through the spring, with limited positions available.
INTERVIEWS - NEW STAFF APPLICANTS
Interviews this year will be held over video conferencing and will be scheduled via email or telephone upon completion of your application.

Note: Creativity is an essential element of working at the Lair of the Golden Bear. If we grant you an interview, we will ask you to showcase your talents or skills in a two minute presentation / Show and Tell. You may present an object(s), give a performance, tell a story, demonstrate a skill, or surprise us with something totally different. Whatever you choose to showcase, remember to relax and have fun. If you have any questions about this portion of the interview, don’t hesitate to ask ahead of time!
INTERVIEWS - VETERAN STAFF APPLICANTS
As a veteran staff member, there is no guarantee that you will be hired back just because you worked during a previous summer. Our goal is to fill our staff with the best available talent, regardless of seniority. Due to the anticipated high number of applicants, we are not able to grant interviews to everyone. For those of you who we know well and who make it clear on their application why you are a good fit for any of the positions you listed, we will likely skip the interview and place you in a position where we think you would best help the team. For those of you who are less clear or thorough with your application answers, or for those who we are less certain about where you would best fit on the team, we will likely schedule an in-person, phone, or Zoom interview.
ELIGIBILITY
In order to be eligible to staff at the Lair, one must be enrolled in a two or four year college or have graduated from college in May 2021 or later. You don’t need to have any previous Cal or Lair knowledge or association to work at the Lair.
REQUIRED DATES AT CAMP
All staffers are required to commit to work the full 2022 summer season. Veteran staffers on the semester school system are required to arrive at camp by 1pm on Friday, June 3rd. First-year staffers on the semester system are required to arrive by 1pm on Saturday, June 11th. All quarter school students are required to arrive no later than Sunday, June 12th. ALL semester students must work through Monday, August 22nd, and ALL quarter students must work through Tuesday, September 6th.
If you have any conflicts with these dates, you MUST note them in the section provided on the application.
CAMP LOCATION
The Lair of the Bear is located 150 miles east of Berkeley, and 30 miles east of Sonora, in the central Sierra Nevada town of Pinecrest, CA (elevation 5,600 feet). The Lair consists of three camps: Camp Gold, which opened in 1949, Camp Blue, which opened in 1957, and Camp Oski, which opened in 2000. The camps are located just one half-mile from one another and are connected by footpaths and service roads.
APPLICANT POOL AND SALARIES
In 2022, we expect to hire approximately one out of every four applicants. Starting staff salary for the summer is $1,301.08 per month plus room and board. Staffers can expect to take home between approximately $2,880 and $4,985 depending on the job and length of their work for the summer. This applies for student employees, camp counselors, and program counselors only.
WORK SCHEDULE AND TIME OFF
Once assigned a position e.g., Store, Pool, Art, your schedule will mostly revolve around duties pertaining to that part of camp. All staff provide coverage in other areas of camp and there are many all-staff events. On any given day you will have a number of programs on your schedule, and a number of hours of free-time to do with what you wish. Most evenings staff will be off unless assigned specific evening programs. Staffers receive a designated full day-and-a-half or 41 consecutive hours, off each week. Your day off will be assigned to your position on staff, but if you need to take a day off for a wedding or graduation or an extenuating circumstance you can discuss it with your camp manager.
LIVING CONDITIONS
Typically two to four staffers live together in a semi-enclosed tent-cabin in the staff area. In general, staff cabins are sparse and allow very little privacy. The climate can be cold and conditions are dusty. You will be exposed to the natural conditions of the area. Three meals per day are served in the Dining Hall at each camp. As a member of staff you will also be granted use of the kitchens during off hours, at the discretion of the Head Cook and Manager of your camp. You will also have access to the camp burger shacks that run in the evenings. The staff uses community men’s and women’s restrooms in the staff area. Laundry facilities are provided for your use. You will be given dressers and beds in your tent-cabins. If hired, there will be extensive “what to bring” information provided as well as FAQ’s addressed by veteran staff.
CERTIFICATIONS
ALL staffers must be certified in CPR, First Aid, and AED for the entire summer. This is a prerequisite and condition of employment, and you must be certified prior to your arrival at camp.

ALL staffers must be ServSafe Food Handler certified for the entire summer. This is a prerequisite and condition of employment, and you must be certified prior to your arrival at camp.

For lifeguard applicants, a lifeguard certification is required as a prerequisite and condition of employment, and you must be certified prior to your arrival at camp.

For age group applicants, you must be lifeguard certified prior to reporting for duty. Classes in your area may be limited, we recommend that you plan ahead.
BACKGROUND CHECKS
All staffers are required to complete and pass a driving record check and FBI/DOJ fingerprint criminal background check. As a veteran staffer, your fingerprints remain on file with the University of California Police Department. You must complete a new Authorization and Release form each year that you work for CAA so we can run a driving record check.
STAFF HANDBOOK
Guidelines and policies of the Lair of the Golden Bear are explained for hired staffers in the Staff Handbook. Violation of any policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
CAMP PREFERENCES
If you have a preference to work at one of the three camps, we will take that into consideration. However, the needs of each camp will determine where you may be hired. Due to the limited number of available positions and the talents needed at each camp, we are unable to make any commitments at the time of application or interview. In part two of the application (Google Form), you will be given the option to list your camp preference.

Lair Staff Position Descriptions

All Staff Duties
Each week all staff members are required to participate in a Saturday morning ‘Big Clean’ of the camping grounds and facilities, and a Saturday morning staff meeting. Staff members are also expected, as part of their weekly schedules, to participate in up to four campfire shows for the campers and various staff vs. camper sporting events. Each staffer will have a primary job, as detailed below, but will also have assigned duties outside of that job. Many staffers will be assigned to a crew position (described below), working in an organized group of 4-9 people. Directors will lead each crew job. In addition to fulfilling specific job duties, all staff members are required to interact with our campers, be role models for the kids, and participate in all campfire shows and athletic events. Crew members are also asked to work in other areas as directed.
Cub Corral
Director and Crew positions. Responsible for care and supervision of children (diaper graduates) who are ages 2 - 5. Cub Corral is a crew of four, including a director. Previous classroom or daycare experience is strongly recommended. Genuine love of youngsters required. Daily activities include arts and crafts (painting, coloring, and glue projects suitable for this age group), storytelling, music, swimming, and recreational play. Required participation in day and evening programs. Additional duties paid through room and board.
Age Groups
Director and crew positions. Plan, organize, and supervise age-appropriate activities including, among many other things, arts and crafts, athletics, pool parties, nature projects, campfires, music, boating, fishing, hiking, dances, and movies. Day and evening hours required. Supply maintenance required. Age groups are divided as follows: Teddy Bears: kids in grades 1 - 2; Golden Bears: kids in grades 3 - 5; Cal Bears: grades 6 - 8; and Grizzly Bears: and grades 9 - 12. Recommend strong communication skills, ability to exercise good judgment, and group-control experience necessary. Previous classroom or daycare experience is strongly recommended. Must be able to state and enforce camp rules. Must possess a valid driver’s license—job may include driving camp vehicles. Additional duties paid through room and board. Lifeguard certification is a prerequisite for age group directors and assistant directors.
Art
Director and Crew positions. Provide instruction to campers of all ages in ceramics (wheel- and hand- building), bisque-ware , lanyards, textile painting and tie-dye. The crew will organize materials and maintain inventory and cleanliness of materials and facilities. Lead multiple kiln firings each week. There is constant interaction with campers of all ages. A strong customer service and/or teaching background is necessary; flexibility, patience, and diplomacy are all vital requirements. Duties extend beyond regular program hours. Additional duties paid through room and board.
Pool
Director and Crew positions. Responsible for operation and daily supervision of the pool and pool area; maintenance of equipment and deck furniture. Lead group swimming lessons (and private lessons as scheduled) and water aerobics, lifeguard, and supervise recreational swimming. Previous lifeguarding and instruction experience strongly recommended. Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs. Must have current Lifeguarding certification prior to arrival at camp. Water Safety Instruction a plus. Additional duties paid through room and board.
Store
Director and Crew positions. Work in the Lair Store, which sells snacks, sundries, and clothing. Operate the cash register, balance daily receipts, maintain Store cleanliness, and display merchandise. The store is a very fast-paced, customer-oriented job. There is constant interaction with campers of all ages. Strong customer service background, flexibility, patience and diplomacy all vital requirements. Lead cashier for food and drink sales at the Burger Shack. Duties extend beyond regular program hours. Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs. Additional duties paid through room and board.
Nature
Director position. Organize and lead camper hikes in surrounding areas. One must have basic knowledge of Sierra flora and fauna. Must relate well to adults, have extensive hiking experience, outdoor safety awareness, and encourage an appreciation of the environment. Previous classroom or daycare experience is strongly recommended. Food preparation skills recommended. The candidate must be able to lead group hikes of various levels of difficulty. Must possess a valid driver’s license—job may include driving camp vehicles. Additional duties paid through room and board.
Music
Director position. Assist in musical and technical aspects of all camp shows and productions. Oversee auditions and organize acts for camper talent show and staff acts for Hootenanny; hosts both shows. Develop and lead Sunday morning Creekside program, and lead all ages in camper sing-a-long programs. Guitar and vocal skills required. Demonstrated peer leadership, established supervisory skills, and stage presence/public speaking are important. Additional duties paid through room and board.
Head of Maintenance
Supervise maintenance crew; responsible for organization of crew and delegation of individual tasks. Responsible for restocking and reordering of supplies. Monitor and manage all maintenance duties, maintenance shed, maintenance vehicles, tool use, and inventory of required supplies. Assist age group directors with day and evening programs. Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs. Must possess a valid driver’s license—job may include driving camp vehicles. Additional duties paid through room and board.
Maintenance
Crew position. Responsible for cleaning and upkeep of all camp facilities, including bathrooms and dish washing areas. Maintenance is a crew, including a director. Primary duties include washing meal dishes, garbage handling and removal, bathroom cleaning, recycling, miscellaneous camp repairs and overall camp cleanliness. One must be able to lift up to 50 lbs. Assist age group directors with their programs, day and evening. Must possess a valid driver’s license—job may include driving camp vehicles. Additional duties paid through room and board.
Dining Hall Host/Hostess
Lead camper food service efforts three times a day. Serve as liaison between cooks and campers. Direct and schedule Dining Hall crew. The hostess/host (Dining Hall director) is responsible for overall Dining Hall appearance and cleanliness. Prepare side dishes for service. Excellent customer service is a must. One must have strong organizational skills and leadership experience and must be willing to begin work early in the morning. Must also be able to lift up to 50 lbs. Must possess a valid driver’s license—job may include driving camp vehicles. Additional duties paid through room and board.
Dining Hall Crew
Lead camper food service effort three times a day. Serve as liaison between cooks and campers. The hostess/host (Dining Hall director) is responsible for overall Dining Hall appearance and cleanliness. Prepare side dishes for service. Excellent customer service a must. One must have strong organizational skills and leadership experience and must be willing to begin work early in the morning. In addition to fulfilling specific job dues, all staff members are required to interact with our campers, be role models for the kids, and participate in all campfire shows and athletic events. Each week staff members are required to participate in a ‘Big Clean’ of the camping grounds and facilities, and a weekly staff meeting. Staff members are also expected, as part of their schedules, to participate in up to four campfire shows for the campers and various staff vs. camper sporting events. Additional dues paid through room and board.
Head Cook
Lead kitchen crew to prepare and execute three meals per day. Works with the food service manager to place food orders. Must possess strong organizational skills and the ability to work within a tight-knit team. Lair cooks are responsible for the overall quality of the food and the overall cleanliness of the kitchen and its surrounding areas. The kitchen is a fast-paced and high-energy hub that requires concentration on the task at hand. Strong work ethic and the willingness to learn. Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs. Additional duties paid through room and board. ServSafe Manager and Food Handler certifications are prerequisites of this position.
Kitchen/Cook
Crew position. Preparation and execution of three meals on a daily basis and other duties as assigned under the supervision of the Head Cook. Must possess strong organizational skills and the ability to work within a tight-knit team. Lair cooks are responsible for the overall quality of the food and the overall cleanliness of the kitchen and its surrounding areas. The kitchen is a fast-paced and high-energy hub that requires concentration on the task at hand. There are areas of focus determined by the position you may be offered e.g., Burger Shack, Baker, Salads, Pots, Programs etc… But all cooks are responsible for the execution of each meal and work as a team. Prior cooking experience is not a requirement, but a strong work ethic and the willingness to learn is. Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs. Additional duties paid through room and board. For the position of Second Cook, ServSafe Manager and Food Handler certifications are prerequisites of this position.
Assistant Program Director
Veteran staff position only. Works with PD to manage staff. Must have strong organizational skills and leadership experience. Responsible for multiple areas of camp program coverage—emphasis may include lifeguarding, store, dining hall, maintenance and age group programming. Strong customer service and/or teaching background required; flexibility, patience and diplomacy all vital requirements. Duties extend beyond regular program hours. Additional duties paid through room and board. Lifeguard certification is a prerequisite of this position.
Program Director
Veteran staff position only. Produce Saturday Night show (including, casting, rehearsals, and directing; and securing of props, costumes, and technical equipment). Duties include working closely with Manager as chief monitor and evaluator of camp programming. Also works with the Manager to help maintain staff morale and discipline. Must be able to state and enforce camp rules. Manage staff area cleanliness daily. Announce softball game and pool show, and make mealtime announcements. Introduce guest speaker and organize weekly adult dance. Chair weekly staff meeting. Demonstrated peer leadership, established supervisory skills and experience in a large recreational environment required, Must possess a valid driver’s license—job may include driving camp vehicles. The PD also undertakes special projects as determined by the Manager. Additional duties paid through room and board.

IMPORTANT REMINDER

CPR, AED, and First Aid certifications are required by all staff, and must be completed prior to arrival at camp. Lifeguard certification is a prerequisite for age group directors and lifeguards. ServSafe Food Handler certification is a prerequisite for all staff. All certifications must be completed prior to arrival at camp.

Thank you and good luck with your application. If you have any further questions, please contact our Operations Team at lair.operations@alumni.berkeley.edu.

MEET THE STAFF: Still not convinced this is how you should spend your summer? Follow us on social media to get an idea what camp is like as well as ask current veteran staff and camp administrators about their experiences. Find us at Work the Lair on Instagram, and give a like to the Work the Lair page on Facebook. And tell your friends to follow us too!