Volunteer this summer as a Science Educator in Training (SET):
March 31 Application Deadline
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 six locations (Kirkland, Redmond, Medina, Bothell, Bellevue and Pacific Science Center) around the Puget Sound region (view locations).
This summer, the Naturalists in Training program has been completely combined with SET to create one cohesive program. Science Educators in Training will still have the opportunity to work with our environmental science based camps at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue, a collaboration between Pacific Science Center and the City of Bellevue.
About the Program
SET members volunteer for at least two different week-long day camps during the summer. Camps are divided by grade and cover a wide variety of themes. Visit the camps page for camp descriptions and schedules.
Most camps have 1-2 SET volunteers working with 2-3 paid staff and up to 20 campers. SET volunteers 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 be a positive role model.
To qualify for the SET program, teens must be at least 14 years old on or before May 16, 2015 and be current high school students by fall 2015. Teens must be at least 16 years old to assist with camps for grades 4-6 and 6-8.
General Science Educator in Training Hours
- 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday for full day camps
- 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. or 12:30 - 6 p.m. for half day camps
Some camps include field trips and overnight camping trips which the SET will be expected to attend. See camp descriptions here for more information.
How to Become a SET
To be considered for the SET program, your application must be received by the application deadline of March 31, 2015. To be considered complete, 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: SET Volunteer Program
200 2nd Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
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 take place April 18, April 21, April 22 and April 25. After all group interviews 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 SET will be required to attend two mandatory training sessions:
- May 16, 2015 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) at Pacific Science Center
- May 30, 2015 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) at either Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center* or Pacific Science Center (SET member’s choice)
*SETs who will be volunteering at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center are strongly encouraged to attend a half-day canoe training on Saturday, June 13, 2015. Although not required, we encourage SET members volunteering at Mercer Slough to attend as 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.
- Have fun while learning new skills
- Attend two mandatory trainings May 16 and May 30 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
- Volunteer for at least two weeks of camps
- Be at camp on time, Monday - Friday, as scheduled
- Be at least 14 years old by May 16, 2015
- Be a high school student by fall 2015
- 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
- Set-up and clean-up of projects
- Read a story
- Help keep a group of campers together
- Assist with getting campers into the van and fastening seatbelts
- Gain experience working with children and career exploration opportunities
- Earn valuable leadership and job skills
- Receive passes to Pacific Science Center
- Work with professional science and environmental educators as mentors
- METRO transit fare for teens working on-site at Pacific Science Center
- Complete up to 100 hours of volunteer service to the community
- Verification of service hours
Can I mail the application on March 31?
Applications must be received by March 31. Given this, we recommend mailing before March 31. In the event you do not mail it in time, the application can be hand delivered by March 31.
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 on May 16 and May 30 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) are required. SET members must be able to commit to attend both training dates for the full duration. In the event you are unable to attend the training(s), please consider applying next year.
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?
Last year we received more applicants than we had the capacity to take. We expect similar numbers this year. Because of this, we are not able to interview every prospective SET member. 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 by May 16, 2015. Also, volunteers must be a high school student by fall 2015.
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; METRO transit fare for teens working on-site at Pacific Science Center; 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 the leadership skills we are looking for. We can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 443-2868.
Questions? Contact us at email@example.com or (206) 443-2868.
We offer other exciting teen opportunities throughout the year. Learn more