FAQ Page for Lair Staff Applicants

Applications for Summer 2021 are NOW LIVE! Deadline for submitting is February 28th.

When applications are available, we’ll share an overview of the expanded health protocols and hygiene standards that will be in effect this summer for staffers as well as for campers.

Take a look to know what to expect about the application process. Applications are linked under “Application Process.” We recommend that you read this FAQ page thoroughly before submitting your application. If at any point you have questions, please contact Lair Operations Manager Josh Dobson at 510.900.8257 or email josh.dobson@alumni.berkeley.edu

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.

Part 2 is via 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 desk 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.

Applications for both new and returning staffers opens on Monday, January 11, 2021 and close on Sunday, February 28, 2021.


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!


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 Skype interview.

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 2020 or later. You don’t need to have any previous Cal or Lair knowledge or association to work at the Lair.

All staffers are required to work the full 2021 summer season. Veteran staffers on the semester school system are required to arrive at camp by 4pm on Tuesday, June 1. First-year staffers on the semester system are required to arrive by 4pm on Wednesday, June 2. All quarter school students are required to arrive no later than Sunday, June 13. ALL semester students must work through Saturday, August 21, and ALL quarter students must work through Sunday, September 12.

If you have any conflicts with these dates, you MUST note them in the section provided on the application.

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.
In 2021, we expect to hire approximately one out of every four applicants. Starting staff salary for the summer is $1,129.44 per month plus room and board. Staffers can expect to take home between approximately $2,500 and $4,330 depending on the job and length of their work for the summer. This applies for student employees, camp counselors, and program counselors only.
Once assigned a position, your schedule will mostly revolve around that. All staff provide coverage in other areas of camp and there are many all-staff events. Staffers receive a designated full day-and-a-half off each week.
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 family-style in the Dining Hall at each camp. The staff uses community men’s and women’s restrooms in the staff area.

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.

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.
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.
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.
The Lair is broken up into three camps. Camp Gold, Camp Blue, and Camp Oski. Each camp has its own staff with different people occupying many various job positions. Please view the job descriptions page for more details.

Thank you and good luck with your application. If you have any further questions, please contact Operations Manager Josh Dobson at 510.900.8257 or 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.

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!

Read more about the Lair of the Golden Bear.

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