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Lair Staffer Application Information

Whether you’ve grown up spending time outdoors, camping at the Lair, or this is your first time hearing about us and you’ve never camped anywhere, we are interested in finding a place for you in the Lair community. Through working at camp you will develop friendships that will last forever. You will become part of a very long and rich Lair staff tradition and help shape the Lair for future members of the community. By working at a summer camp, you will have the opportunity to impact kids and families and by extension make an impact on the world. Work at the Lair of the Golden Bear! Read on for application details.

Applications for summer 2023 are NOW LIVE! If you are interested in applying to work this summer, fill out an application here! Read below for more details about working at the Lair and the application and interview process.

staff photo of all staff wearing blue and gold

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?
The Lair is an all ages Alumni Family camp. 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. We believe that providing a safe and welcoming place for people to camp and bond in nature is an incredibly important and impactful way to make the world a better place. 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 families, developing invaluable life and job skills, making lifelong friendships with fellow students, and having a positive impact, then you will love this job.
Lair Staff Selections Timeline 2023
We will be hiring our camp staff in a new and quicker model this year! Applications are now open and both new and returning staff will be able to apply then. We will feature a rolling hiring process meaning that we will interview and hire people immediately after submitting their application. For priority consideration, submit your application by January 21st this will improve your chances of landing this dream job opportunity! We expect to fill all spots by mid-February, so be sure to apply before February 10, 2023! You may fill out an application here.
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 lair.operations@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.

Photo by Kevin Kitsuda
Photo by Kevin Kitsuda
Photo by Kevin Kitsuda

Application Information

APPLICATION PROCESS and APPLICATION LINK
Whether you are applying to be a first-year staffer or have worked at the Lair during a previous summer, you will fill out a simple application via Google Form. Upon completion of the application, you will be sent a link to sign up for an interview time slot along with details about the interview process. You may fill out an application here.
NEW STAFF APPLICANTS - Optional video submission
New staff applicants may also submit a video in addition to the Google Form. If you choose to make a video, you must include the YouTube link in 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 your application. This is completely 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 emailed to lair.operations@alumni.berkeley.edu.
DEADLINES FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION
Applications for both new and returning staff for summer 2023 are now live! We will be interviewing and hiring candidates on a rolling basis and expect to have hired our staff by mid-February. The priority deadline to apply will be January 21st. Interviews will continue through February 16, 2023. If you apply after that date, and we have filled our staff roster you may still be considered for a spot on our alternate staff list. So if you’re reading this in mid-February, reach out still! Don’t deny yourself the chance of getting in on this opportunity.
INTERVIEWS - NEW STAFF APPLICANTS
Immediately after you submit your application, you will be able to sign up for an interview slot. Interviews will be held virtually via Zoom. More details will be included in the email you receive after submitting your application.

Note: Creativity is an essential element of working at the Lair of the Golden Bear. During your interview, we will ask you to showcase your talents or skills in a two minute presentation / or 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. We want to get a sense of who you are and your skills and passions - if you have something we can put to use in camp, or on a Lair stage we highly encourage you to demonstrate that skill set. Musicians and singers are always needed in camp. 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 returning 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.

New this year: we will be interviewing all applicants, including returning staff. This will allow us more one on one time with each of you so we can discuss your performance from last summer, your top positions, and changes we would like to make for summer 2023. Upon submitting your application, you will be able to sign up for a Zoom interview time slot.
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 2022 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
NEW this year: In an effort to accommodate various school schedules, there will be various options for employment length. More details with specific dates will be announced when the application is live.
EXPECTED STAFF SALARIES
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.
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. All staff will begin the summer season with a training week. 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.

FAQs about Camp Life

Where is the Lair located?
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.
What will my work schedule and time off look like?
Once offered a position and camp e.g., Blue/Gold/Oski -Store, Pool, Art, your daily 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 have unscheduled personal time unless assigned to 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.
What are the living conditions like?
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. We’re camp people. The climate can be cold and conditions are dusty. You will be exposed to the beautiful 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 non-meal service 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 have showers and 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 and camp leadership.
How do meals work?
The Lair staff cooks and serves 3 meals a day to both campers and staffers. If you work as a part of the kitchen crew, you will spend most of your time working in the kitchen to prepare meals. If you are on the Dining Hall crew, you will serve around to 8-10 meals per week. If you are in another job position, you will serve anywhere from 2-4 meals per week. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and dinner is served family style.
What are the shows like?
The Lair staff puts on 2 shows per week and there is one camper talent show. The first show of the week is our Saturday night welcome show, in which the staff introduces themselves and performs in sketches. There are also some housekeeping announcements for campers. The next show of the week is a Hootenanny, which is a country themed show with songs, many of which are camp traditions. All staffers must contribute to these shows, whether its performing or helping backstage. By the end of the summer, you will become very comfortable being on stage!
Is there cell reception at camp?
There is limited cell phone coverage at the Lair. Some cell services such as Verizon work in certain areas of camp, but others get very little to no reception. We do have free, limited wifi so you can be in touch when you need to. Vista Lodge typically has the strongest signal, yet we are in the mountains and wifi is not 100% reliable.
What are the differences between Camps Blue, Gold, and Oski?
All three camps are similar to each other, with many of the same facilities and programming. Each camp has staff shows, camper talent shows, age group activities, guest speakers, swimming pools, Cub Corrals, art, hiking, and music programs. The primary difference between the camps is the size and the layout: Camp Blue and Camp Gold are very similar to each other, as each accommodates about 325 campers in tent cabins located throughout the camp. Both Blue and Gold have tennis courts, while Oski doesn’t, but Oski campers can use the tennis courts at Blue or Gold. During the week at Blue and Gold, campers of all ages enjoy athletic tournaments and games, such as tennis, basketball, horseshoes, bridge, backgammon, trivial pursuit, etc., and strive to win the wonderful little Lair trophies which are presented at the Friday evening campfire shows. Blue and Gold also compete against each other each week in softball and in volleyball—no trophies, just glory. Camp Oski’s tent cabins are arranged in circles, and each tent circle has a fire pit in the center, providing an ideal camping atmosphere (great for making night time s’mores!). Camp Oski is smaller, holding about 145 campers, and has a large beautiful pool, but no tennis courts and no tournaments. Oski has the same great children’s programs and campfire traditions as Blue and Gold, and a higher staff to camper ratio.

As a staffer, you will often work with staffers from other camps, as the three camps collaborate together quite often.

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!