Exhibits & Programs
Teen Summer Camp Volunteers
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. SET volunteers gain leadership experience, career exploration opportunities, service learning verification and more. SET volunteers, in turn, provide valuable help to campers and camp educators throughout the summer. We are seeking volunteers for all locations around the Puget Sound region: Seattle, Bellevue, Shoreline, Redmond, Medina, Bothell, Kirkland and Mountlake Terrace.
Questions? Contact us at SET-Program@pacsci.org or (206) 443-2906.
How to Become a Science Educator in Training
A pool of candidates will move to the next round of the selection process and will be contacted to attend a group interview. Group interviews will be held in April at Mercer Slough in Bellevue and Pacific Science Center in Seattle.
All selected SETs will be required to attend two mandatory training sessions in May. Applicants that fail to participate in the twotrainings will be disqualified from the program, including returning volunteers.
Although not required, SETs who will be volunteering at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center are strongly encouraged to attend a half-day canoe training in June. This is an opportunity to learn steering techniques and safety procedures. Those who do not attend the training will not be able to canoe with camps during the summer.
About the Program
Science Educators in Training volunteer with Camps for Curious Minds through Pacific Science Center. Volunteers work with camps for a minimum of 60 hours over the summer. Hours can be earned over the summer by helping the teachers in a classroom setting, or by interacting with kids in a free-play after-camp setting. Once these 60 hours are completed, volunteers will receive passes to our Science Center exhibits, IMAX movies and more.
Camps are divided by grade and cover a wide variety of STEM-based themes. Most camps have 1-2 volunteers working with 2-3 paid staff and up to 21 campers. Volunteering in camps, an SET will assist teachers with classroom management, prep and clear activities, and lend a helping hand wherever needed.
After-camp is offered in every location and runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Volunteering in after-camp an SET will assist after-camp teachers with set-up and clean up of the space, help run games, and keep campers engaged in free-play activities.
Returners have two unique options each week in addition to the already mentioned choices.
- Returners can choose to work in our preschool half-day camps running at Pacific Science Center and Mercer Slough 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- If the returner is 16 or older, they can choose to volunteer with our road-trip camps 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day. Road trip camps only run at select locations and have longer hours. Each day the road trip camp will leave by van at 9 a.m. and will spend the day away from the camp location. Some road trip camps have an overnight from Thursday to Friday of the week. SETs would be allowed to go, but not required to go, on the overnights.
Qualifications, Expectations & Benefits
To apply to be a Science Educator in Training you must be at least 14 by the first training day (Saturday, May 20) AND starting high school in the fall. Apply here.
Those who are entering high school in the fall, but are not at least age 14 by May 20 will not be allowed in the program and are encouraged to apply for our other volunteer opportunities.
SETs must be 16 or older if they wish to volunteer with camps for grades 6-8.
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 are a positive role model.
- Attend two mandatory trainings
- Volunteer for at least 60 hours
- Be at camp on time, Monday – Friday, as scheduled
- 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
- Follow all Pacific Science Center procedures and regulations
- Be proactive in assisting camp staff
- Help keep a group of campers together
- Assist with getting campers into the van and fastening seatbelts
- Gain experience working with children
- Explore career opportunities
- Earn valuable leadership and job skills
- Receive passes to Pacific Science Center
- Work with professional science and environmental educators as mentors
- Complete volunteer service to the community
- Verification of service hours
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to attend the two mandatory trainings to participate?
We unfortunately do not have the staffing capacity to offer alternative training dates. Because of this, the two trainings are required. SET members must commit to attend both training dates for the full duration. In the event you are unable to attend the training(s), please consider applying to our other volunteer opportunities.
Can I volunteer for more than two camps?
Absolutely! If selected for an interview, you can let us know about your interest in volunteering for multiple camps during the interview process.
What is the selection process?
We are not able to interview every prospective SET member due to the number of applications we receive. We will carefully review each application and reference letter to invite prospective SET members that we feel exhibit strong leadership qualities and an enthusiasm for science education.
What is a typical day for a SET?
Fun! Each day is a little different, but SET members can expect to lead songs or games with groups of campers; setup and cleanup of projects; read a story to campers; help keep a group of campers together; assist with getting campers into Science Center vans and fastening seatbelts; and, of course, learning about the science topic featured in the camp you are volunteering with.
What is the age and grade requirement?
SET volunteers must be at least 14 years old. Also, volunteers must be a high school student by fall.
What are the benefits of volunteering?
Aside from having fun, there are a lot of great benefits. These include gaining experience working with children and exploring career opportunities; earning valuable leadership and job skills; passes to Pacific Science Center at the end of summer; working with professional science and environmental educators as mentors; and verification of service hours.
Who can I contact if I have questions?
We prefer that SET applicants contact us rather than parents or guardians, as this demonstrates skills we are looking for. Please send emails to SET-Program@pacsci.org.