CABIN COACH JOB DESCRIPTION
We bring summer camp to life all year long with fun, friendship, and leadership development to connect a diverse community of outstanding New Orleans kids. [Check out this video for more.]
What this role is all about
As a Coach you are in the most important job at camp. After all, kids who love camp almost always leave a summer saying, ‘My coach was the best.’
You are a Coach to one kid, and so you are a mom, dad, grandma, teacher, basketball coach, mentor, guide, mirror, an older sibling, and a helping hand — all rolled into one.
You are also a Coach to an entire cabin. As a Coach you not only guide each camper through their individual journey at camp, but you also shape the culture of an entire cabin. You create a warm, safe, accepting, and fun environment for kids to move from strangers, to friends, to family.
Above all, you are a team player. As a team we openly discuss things that come up at camp together, we assume the best intentions of others, we are open with one another, and we always, always, always move forward as one team dedicated to the same vision and mission of camp, even when we might not fully agree.
You’ll love being a Coach if…
- You like reading the vibe of a group, solving problems, having fun with two people or twelve, and laughing at skits, songs, jokes, silly kids, and yourself.
- You are excited about teaching kids things you are passionate about. You could be the person who decides to teach kids how to safely whittle with a knife, or how to crochet while sitting in a rocking chair on the porch.
- You enjoy the songs, whether you are singing in the front or the back of a group, even if it is the 5th time hearing it that day, and you don’t even really like singing.
- You want structure (a daily schedule that is neat and efficient), but you like rolling with surprises and spontaneity as plans change.
- You love the dynamic challenge of youth development. Non-linear, unexpected, slow at times and fast at others…this is the nature of working with kids to learn and grow quickly on a fast timeline. That excites you.
- You like supporting young people who struggle through challenges so they grow individually and collectively.
- You have compassion and love for a kid who wets the bed, and want to be a support for them in their time of need.
- You think Fortnite is creating actual forts for bedtime and telling a great story to your cabin.
- You are wet because it’s been raining for 3 days, but your spirits are high because you are on this journey together with great kids and adults who also have a smile on their face.
You’ll be miserable as a Coach if…
- You don’t like surprises, group dynamics changing, being outside, late night conversations, singing songs. (Surprise: these are HUGE parts of camp!)
- It’s very hard for you to help kids think through a problem instead of solving the problem for them.
- Adapting to situations in which plans change (i.e. it rains for a 3rd day in a row) is fatiguing for you.
- You need to watch TV each day and play Fortnite.
- You need great internet, or don’t want to be away from your phone.
- You want to eat meals that are individually prepared (our food it gooood, but it’s camp, so there’s some repetition as we feed 150 people 3x per day for 6 weeks. We have worked with people each summer with dietary restrictions too who have a great summer).
Competencies (the orientations and abilities) necessary to be a Coach
Vision: A Coach…
- Works as a part of the Live Oak team to drive towards a common mission and vision of Live Oak, no matter what.
- Visualizes what they want their cabin culture to be (warm, loving, supportive) and brings it to life alongside other staff members.
- Sees the best in kids — even when they aren’t there yet — and then works with them to get there.
Execution: A Coach…
- Is on time to where they need to be.
- Solves problems in the moment and thinks on their feet.
- Is glass-is-half-full around challenges that emerge and gets energy from problem-solving.
- Stays calm, clear-headed, and unflappable under stress.
- Actively looks for ways to help other people.
Cultural Competence: A Coach…
- Leans into relationships with those who are different than them so that they build perspectives and learn.
- Assumes the best of all staff members and campers – seeks to learn and understand before making assumptions.
- Creates space for all people to learn, be heard, and contribute to our community.
- Has awareness of own identity and bias.
Influence: A Coach…
- Communicates clearly with others.
- Inspires confidence and keeps calm.
- Brings energy and enthusiasm to the work.
- Reads the vibe of the group (whether campers or adults) and responds in a way that pushes the group forward.
- Leads with questions and allows campers to struggle rather than swooping in to solve problems.
- Recognizes that your attitude and feelings shapes that attitudes and feelings of those around you (both campers and staff).
Day in the life
A day at Live Oak is action packed, full of big and small moments of joy, and guaranteed to leave you feeling tired at the end of it. And it’s a good tired.
7:30 AM: Make sure all of your cabin starts to wake-up. Walk with them to breakfast in the Chateau.
7:45 AM: Eat breakfast as a cabin. Talk with your cabin about their day and how their night was.
8:30 AM: Sit with your cabin at our community meeting. Talk with small groups about the Live Oak Values. Sing a camp song. Hear important announcements about the day. Make an announcement about an exploration (activity) that you’re in charge of later.
8:45 AM: Sit with your co-coach at a staff meeting and reflect together on how your cabin is progressing towards your vision for them. What do they need to keep moving forward? What are they struggling with? How are you doing as coaches? Make a plan. Share shout-outs, highlights, and gratitude. Wait… what are your campers doing during this time? Cleaning the cabin (thank goodness) with our operations team and CITs. Cabin clean-up offers coaches a chance to have our staff meeting.
9:00 AM: Guide your cabin through an IT challenge. IT is a challenge that your cabin completes as a team. They might be crossing a pit of lava or getting through a spider web or building a bench using some power tools. Whatever their challenge is, you’ll facilitate, along with a co-coach and help them debrief.
10:00 AM: Take a break! You have off for about an hour. Other coaches are leading explorations at this time. Explorations are activities that campers sign-up for for 5 days at a time. Some classic favorites include swimming, archery, wilderness skills, knitting, crocheting, soccer, football, athletics, musical theatre, drama, print-making, and Dungeons and Dragons.
11:00 AM: It’s your turn to lead your exploration. What will you decide to lead for the time you’re at camp?
12:00 PM: Lunch time! Sit with your cabin, chat about the morning. Share stories and jokes.
1:00 PM: FOB! FOB! FOB! Flat-on-back is, for some, the most favorite part of the day. It’s a rest time where all campers are on their beds (sleeping, reading, writing a letter). One of the coaches from your cabin will need to stay with the group while the other can take a break – often coaches rotate so everyone has some time off.
2:00 PM: Free time lets our campers decide in the moment where they want to go. We have swimming, boating, archery, makerspace, crafts, and the chateau porch open as options. Adults are stationed at a specific location. Every adult gets a few afternoons off each session (plus a full day off!).
4:00 PM: Campsite time! Head back to your campsite to huddle with the site director – this leader will make sure adults are on the same page about the rest of the day and may have a fun activity coordinated for campsite time. Otherwise, campers will shower, get ready for dinner, play games, and enjoy each others’ company. You can use this time to check in with your co-coach or talk with campers.
5:00 PM: Dinner time! Sit with your cabin again! There will be delicious food, singing, chanting, clapping, and excitement about the evening activity.
6:30 PM: Evening activity is THE BEST. It could be a camp fire, capture the flag, an auction, bingo night, or something else. Whatever it is, it is SURE to be fun.
8:00 PM: Friendship circle. We end each day together. Someone in our community is awarded each of our values (Bravery, Awareness, Kindness) and receives the staff that they will carry for the next 24 hours.
8:45 PM: Cabin devotions is a time when you close out your day as a cabin community. It can be silly, serious, joyful, quiet, peaceful. You might all share your Peak, Valley, and River (high, low, and what you’re looking forward to) of the day. You might read a chapter from a book. You might play a game of mafia.
9:30 PM: Lights out (maybe 10:00 PM for older campers). After devotions ends, campers might get some flashlight time but by 9:30 or 10:00, lights are out. One coach from each cabin remains behind to make sure campers are safe. Other coaches head to the staff lounge to enjoy time with each other!
11:00 PM: Staff lounge closes – everyone to bed.
As members of the Live Oak Camp staff community, we believe that at our best we embody these four values:
- Safety: We plan proactively and are always aware of our surroundings and their risks. We are vigilant about considering team members’ physical and emotional safety. When faced with a choice, we take the smartest option.
- Fun: We are sources of enthusiasm and joy. We greet challenges with a smile. We take our work seriously while laughing at ourselves.
- Equity: We work for every single camper. We go hard to ensure that campers’ outcomes with Live Oak and in life are not based simply on their demographic background.
- Kindness: We show empathy. We celebrate the strengths of others and make them feel cared for, even in hard moments.
- Constant Learning: We celebrate wins, and we always ask what could have gone better. We seek out help, assume positive intentions from others, and embrace feedback that can make us better.
Job responsibilities of a Coach
Coaches agree to follow the policies of Live Oak Wilderness Camp, including the Personnel Policies as well as the policies and procedures outlined in the LOWC staff handbook. Coaches must meet all required background check and safety certifications in order to qualify to perform the duties below:
- Take full responsibility for the supervision, safety, well-being, and development of the campers in your cabin, including residing in the staff quarters within the cabin;
- Teach activities during explorations at Live Oak Camp and during choice time, being responsible for the supervision, safety, well-being, and development of all campers in your activities and explorations;
- Execute the duties and responsibilities as described in the job description, Personnel Policies, and staff training orientations for the position;
- Complete all required post-summer evaluations and assist in camp cleanup.
- For each 2-week Camp session worked in a summer: $1,250, which includes the compensation of $150 for the weekend mandatory training sessions and $300 for our pre-camp 4-day mandatory training; the $450 sum of these trainings will be added to your first paycheck, thus totaling to $1,250.
- For each session, returning staff members earn a bonus of $50 x the number of years worked at Live Oak (including 2020).
- For each Junior Camp session worked in a summer: $450.
Your salary will accrue weekly and will be paid at the completion of each session. If your work agreement ends or is terminated prior to Aug 1, 2020, you will receive a prorated salary for the number of days you have worked. LOWC will deduct taxes as required by law. As non-hourly employees, LOWC staff members are not entitled to overtime pay.