Teen Volunteers

teen volunteer b 150   teen volunteer a 150   teen volunteer c 150
Are you interested in becoming a Naturalist in Training (NIT) or Science Educator in Training (SET) with Pacific Science Center's Camps for Curious Minds?
Camps for Curious Minds have operated for over 30 years, providing high school volunteers ages 14 and up with rich science and nature based learning opportunities to gain leadership experience. NIT and SET volunteers, in turn, provide valuable help to campers and camp educators throughout the summer. Camps are held at six locations around the Puget Sound region, and volunteers can help at any location. Naturalists in Training volunteer with our environmental science based camps at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center. Science Educators in Training volunteer at all other locations.  

Position Description

About the Program

NIT and SET members volunteer for at least two different week-long day camps during the summer. Camps are divided by age and cover a wide variety of themes. Visit the camps webpage for camp descriptions and schedules.

Most camps have 1-2 volunteers working with 2-3 paid staff and up to 20 campers. NIT and SET assist with camp and can expect to sing songs, lead games, and otherwise help out as needed. We are looking for teens who exhibit strong communication and leadership skills, have an interest in science and the natural world, are motivated to work with young children and able to take on the responsibility of a positive role model.

To qualify for the NIT and SET programs, you must be at least 14 years old on or before May 17, 2014. You must be at least 16 years old to assist with camps for grades 4-6 and 6-8.

General Hours

Science Educator in Training:

  • 8:15 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday for full day camps
  • 8:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. or 12:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. for half day camps
Naturalist in Training:
  • 8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. Monday to Friday for full day camps
  • 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. for half day camps
The Wild Survivor camp for grades 4-6 includes an overnight camping trip on Thursday, and the Extreme Ecosystems camp for grades 6-8 includes an overnight camping trip on Thursday and a white-water rafting trip on Friday.
The NIT is expected to attend.


Volunteer Benefits
  • Gain experience working with children
  • Earn valuable leadership and job skills
  • Receive passes to Pacific Science Center exhibits, IMAX films, and planetarium and laser shows
  • Work with professional science and environmental educators as mentors
  • Complete up to 100 hours of volunteer service to the community
  • Verification of service hours

NIT and SET Expectations

Science Educators in Training and Naturalists in Training are expected to:

  • Have fun while learning new skills.
  • Attend two mandaory trainings.
  • Volunteer for at least two weeks of camps.
  • Be at camp on time, Monday through Friday as scheduled.
  • Be at least 14 years old by May 17, 2014.
  • Be a positive role model for campers.
  • Exhibit sound judgment and act in a responsible and safe manner.
  • Communicate with staff about any problems or frustrations. 
  • Let an administrator know if you leave the camp site for anything besides a field trip.
  • Follow all Pacific Science Center procedures and regulations.
  • Be proactive in assisting camp staff. Typical tasks may include:
    • Lead songs or games with groups of campers
    • Setup and cleanup of projects
    • Read a story
    • Help keep a group of campers together
    • Assist with getting campers into the van and fastening seatbelts

How to Become an NIT or SET

To be considered for NIT or SET, your complete application must be received by the application deadline April 13. Your application must include:
  • Completed application form including personal information, short answer questions and signed statements.
  • Two completed recommendation forms from adults who know you and are not family members.
Applications may be delivered in person or mailed to:
Pacific Science Center
Attn: Youth & Family Programs Supervisor
200 Second Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

Group Interview 
A pool of candidates will move to the next round of the selection process and will be contacted to attend a group session for applicants and their parent/guardian during the week of April 21-26. Applicants will participate in a group interview while parents/guardians attend an information meeting that covers the requirements and expectations of the program.
After all group sessions have taken place, all applicants will be contacted and notified if they have been selected. Selected applicants will be provided with a schedule of their summer camp assignments.

All selected NIT and SET will be required to attend two mandatory training sessions:
  • NIT: May 17 at Pacific Science Center and May 31 at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center (exact training times TBD)
  • SET: May 17 and June 7 at Pacific Science Center (exact training times TBD)

NIT volunteers are strongly encouraged to attend canoe training on June 14. Although not required, we encourage NIT to attend as an opportunity to learn steering techniques and safety procedures. NIT who do not attend training will not be able to canoe with their camps during the summer.

Questions? Contact us at camps@pacsci.org or (206) 443-3646.
We offer more teen opportunities at Pacific Science Center and Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center. Learn more