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Our Staff - Why They're Awesome and the Experience Needed

At the Keystone Science School, staff are certified and trained extensively in preparation for the summer months. They go through pre-hire screenings, must meet minimum job requirements, and spend two weeks in staff training before campers arrive.

Staff photo by Dillon Resovoir

Job Requirements:

To be eligible for a summer job at KSS, applicants must meet certain requirements.

    Certifications: All staff members must have a current CPR/AED/First Aid certification. In addition, all crossover, day, and discovery camp counselors are required to have their Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification. This is a 16 hour class that teaches first aid skills specifically for situations in which definitive care is more than an hour away. Adventure instructors must have their Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification. This is a 10 day course that expands on the WFA curriculum.

    Background Checks: Everyone hired by the Keystone Science School must complete and pass a background check.

    Childcare Hours: To be eligible for a summer position at KSS, applicants must have proof of 460 hours of childcare experience.


Staff Training:

Before the summer begins, all staff go through an extensive two week training. Staff will not only learn the necessary skills to have a successful summer, but they will put those skills to test during the staff training overnight camping trip and challenge hike. In addition to this, staff training allows the supportive and understanding staff community to form before campers arrive.

    Backcountry experience: Many of our staff seek summer positions at KSS because of their personal connection to spending time outdoors. However, regardless of their backcountry experience, all staff will go through the same wilderness skills training. They will spend time learning to throw a bear bag, cook in the wilderness, set up a tent and tarp, and avoid backcountry risks. They will practice these skills throughout training.

    Risk Management: Staff go through extensive risk management training during their two weeks of preparation for the summer. Often, this training involves a series of scenarios in which staff are put in groups and given a scenario to present and respond to. Some of these scenarios include:

    • Campfires and building fires
    • Missing person
    • Lightning
    • Vehicle accidents
    • Wildlife encounters

    Other parts of KSS Staff training:

    • Van driver training
    • Mandatory reporter training
    • JEDI training
    • Standard precautions training
    • Bullying and homesickness training
    • Mental health training
    • Medication Administration training
In the Field:

There are a variety of things that KSS instructors do in the field to make sure that campers are having the best experience and are staying safe.

    Mandatory reporting: All KSS staff are considered mandatory reporters. If abuse or neglect is suspected, they are legally responsible to report it to government authorities. This helps ensure that campers are safe, both at camp and outside of camp.

    Staff ratios: Our staff are required to maintain a ratio of one staff member to every 6.5 campers. This means that for every group of 13, there will be two staff members. In addition, staff are expected to never be one-on-one with a child.