Camp Staff

Welcome Aboard!

Thank you for your interest in working at Camp Ollin. Join our team of dedicated staff to making each camper’s experience positive, memorable, and fun.

“I had the awesome opportunity to work with Deaf Sense last summer and seeing the heart and soul everyone pours into these kids was incredible. They expect high standards of ASL fluency from each other and themselves and in turn receive that same passion from everyone involved. They’re friendly and warm and so willing to work with kids or adults who don’t know ASL, too. This is a group of people who are hearing, Deaf, Hard of Hearing, CODAs, SODAs and have learned to come together and acknowledge each of their individual strengths as people first and foremost. I can’t say enough about how much kids will benefit from engaging with a group like this and I’m excited for the future of Deaf Sense!”

~ Rebekah, camp counselor

Are you a role model with enthusiasm, dedication and interest in child development? Then you are the key to positive experiences for each camper at Camp Ollin. Counselors are selected based on the ability to serve as outstanding role models and leaders.

Staff members working with us have completed one year of college or work experience after high school and are at least 18 years of age before joining our team. 
They have exceptional communication skills, are dedicated to providing children with a memorable and fun camp experience, and support Camp Ollin’s overall philosophy and goals. 

Staff are recruited from all over the United States. Our diverse staff, like our campers, add a unique flavor to the camp community. The entire staff works together toward their final goal of providing a positive, fun, and nurturing camp experience for each child.

Positions available


Come back for new job openings in January next year!


JOIN US this summer at the Oregon coastal town of Newport!

July 16 to 27, 2018

** Camp Ollin is an equal opportunity employer (EEO) and provides fair and equal employment opportunity for all job applicants regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability.

Ready to make a difference this Summer?

Camp Directors

James Smith M.Ed Education of the Deaf. James holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Utah State University in History/Watershed Science and Deaf Education. He loves camping, being outdoors, geography, history and oceanography. He is Deaf, a native ASL user, ASL instructor for over six years, middle school and high school social studies teacher, and an enthusiastic youth leader. James has faced extensive challenges in his life and has learned much in overcoming those challenges. The lessons he learned have become the reason he chooses to make a difference in the lives of youth through camp programs. 

Lynell Smith M. Ed. Education of the Deaf. Lynell is a graduate of Utah State University in Elementary Education and Deaf Education. She is a fluent ASL user since the age of fourteen, when her sister became deaf. She has over ten years of experience in Deaf Education and loves to see students thrive. Energetic, enthusiastic and passionate, Lynell infects those around her to learn, grow, have fun and laugh. The outdoors, reading, dancing, running and playing games are some of her favorite things to do. 

James & Lynell are also trained Camp Directors through the American Camp Association. They have a commitment to the success of youth, and to maintaining the uniqueness that makes Camp Ollin like no other camp. James & Lynell spend their summers running ASL Day camp and Camp Ollin with their four children.

Benefits of Working at Camp

(By Sunshine Parenting)

It would be easy to say that camp staff is a good internship for people who want to work with children for their career, but the work experience camp staff gain at camp translate to strong, employable skills that any company would be excited to see in their applicants.


  1. Responsibility – There is no greater responsibility than caring for other people’s children. Camp staff are responsible for the 24-hour care of a group of children. They have a very significant presence on the camp’s organizational chart, and their work with campers is essential to camp’s operation.
  2. Teamwork – Camp provides a unique opportunity where staff live, work, and play together. The friendships they develop over the summer are some of the strongest and most long-lasting relationships. Camp staff learn to live in community with people who have very different personalities and life experiences. They adapt and work well with a range of people.
  3. Creativity & Problem Solving – Whether it’s altering the plan for the day because of weather or figuring out a more effective way to move 10 children from one place to another, camp staff are constantly provided with opportunities to solve problems and be creative. They must be flexible and able to think quickly when alternative solutions are required.
  4. Communication Skills – Without the distraction of technology and social media, camp staff strengthen their communication skills by engaging in face-to-face interaction with campers and fellow staff. They learn how to lead group discussions and practice conflict resolution almost daily.
  5. Leadership – Children want and need positive role models in their lives. Camp staff are closer in age to campers than most of their adult role models at home, and the unique relationships they can form are hugely influential as campers navigate adolescence. Staff, counselors mostly, are forced to examine themselves and share important life lessons with their campers. They need to remain appropriate in their language and appearance at all times, and living closely with children often causes staff to see themselves from a different perspective. It is a powerful experience to be a role model for a child.
  6. Selflessness – The nature of the job as a camp staff is humbling. Camp staff focus primarily on the safety and happiness of the campers in their care, at the expense of personal freedom and privacy. Young adulthood can often be a very self-centered time. People seek instant gratification and act more spontaneously. The selflessness practiced at camp makes staff happier and more fulfilled, and often staff feel like the best version of themselves because of camp.


Internships are temporary positions that are designed to provide on-the-job training and work experience, and there is no better internship than becoming a camp staff.

Ready to make a difference this Summer?


Camp Ollin attracts children from various walks of life. Many campers are Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing, including some who have relationships with deaf individuals in their life. Some just have a passion for American Sign Language. Campers and staff come to Camp Ollin to immerse themselves in American Sign Language and to enrich their lives and others’. Campers and staff who attend our program are given awards for pursuing the ‘Heart of Ollin,’ and those who achieve all six domains during the week receive a “Heart of Ollin” pendant, embroidered with the camper’s or staff member’s name. These are awarded at the Appreciation Campfire, which concludes camp session.

The ‘Heart of Ollin’ comes from the ancient Aztec word: ‘Ollin’. Pronounced ‘All in,’ ‘Ollin’ is a powerful word that means to move and act now with all your heart. And an ‘Ollin heart’ means to be committed and full – to live “ALL IN.”

At Camp Ollin, campers are invited to find their purpose in life, to feel their heart beat with passion and direction, and take that with them wherever they go.

Our camp schedule is designed to ensure that each camper participates in all of the activities offered at the selected packages. The morning and afternoon programs are scheduled for campers to participate in learning American Sign Language in two groups, based on their level of competencies. Campers are able to participate in the package activities selected through the campers enrollment process. Campers are split into groups to attended the scheduled activity outlined in Amazing Ocean package or other scheduled activities based on the selected package. Equipment is of the highest quality and is available in the correct size for each camper. The range of activities allows each child to build skills in six domain areas of Ollin. Our counselors focus on teaching campers in a safe, fun, and encouraging environment.

Each tent sleeps 14 to 20 campers each at camp and has access to bathroom, shower, and a campfire pit. We finish our evenings with marshmallows or popcorn around the fire where we laugh, play games and talk about the day.


Daily Schedule:

6:00 – Package activity planning
7:30-8:30 – Breakfast
8:30 – Tent clean-up, showers, packing for the day
9:00 – Assembly: announcements, American Sign Language lessons of the day
9:30-12:00 – Morning activities and/or field trip departures
12:00-1:00 – Lunch
1:15-2:00 – Rest Time
2:15-4:45 – Afternoon activities and/or field trip arrivals
5:00 – Dinner
6:15-7:45 – Beach
8:15 – Campfires
9:30 – Unpack, bathroom/showers, getting ready for bed
10:00 – Lights out

There are several activities offered at Camp Ollin. Campers most often participate in activities in small groups, often with the other campers in their tent or field trip group. These shared experiences create a framework for the group to bond, strengthen friendships, and create memories. For most days during the camp session, each tent group is scheduled for a variety of activities in the morning and afternoon. This ensures that campers will try most of the activities while at camp, even if they are a little unsure or nervous about a particular one. Campers are never forced to try an activity, but are required to attend and strongly encouraged to participate. The programs in which children are selected to participate are subject to change based on the directors’ discretion.


Examples of various activities offered during camp where staff will help organize and operate:

Field trips to attractions related to STREAM

Lessons in ASL

Skits and games


Day Hikes

Beach sports

Arts & Crafts

Team Building

Other options available in extra package options available to campers:


Bike riding

Field trips to attractions related to STREAM

The health and safety of campers and staff are Camp Ollin’s top priority. We provide counselor supervision, safety equipment, and training to help ensure campers have a safe experience at Camp Ollin. Our staff and program encourages campers to gain independence, learn new skills, and gain confidence while maintaining the structure and supervision necessary for their safety. Camp Ollin utilizes the resources and programs as outlined below to promote the health and safety of everyone in our camp community.

Qualified First Aid staff are always available to campers for basic first aid, disbursement of medications, and general care as needed. As per the American Camp Association Standards, all medications are stored in and dispersed through the Wellness Center. For illnesses and medical emergencies requiring additional assistance, appropriate EMS procedures are followed. The Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital is located approximately 6 minutes (3 miles) from camp, with the on-site walk-in urgent care available if needed for serious but not threatening emergency care. A health history and medication card is completed for each camper by the parents prior to camp attendance. All medications and health histories are confidential. Due to the rigor and rustic conditions of Camp Ollin, it is not recommended that campers with serious medical conditions that need more than basic first aid treatment come to camp. Campers who contract contagious illnesses will be asked to leave.

Camper Supervision

Our counselors are an integral part of providing excellent care to our campers. Two to three counselors are assigned to each tent of 10 to 20 children. The counselors sleep in the tent with the campers and supervise the group throughout the day. All of our counselors attend an orientation prior to camper arrival, to train in program areas, learn our emergency procedures, and understand health and safety precautions. Counselors remind and/or help campers with personal hygiene, including use of sunscreen, keeping hydrated, changing clothes daily, brushing teeth, and showering at least every other day. For bathroom visits during the night, campers awaken their counselor and are escorted to the bathroom. Due to the rigor and rustic conditions of Camp Ollin, it is not recommended that campers that need more than a 1:10 supervisor to camper ratio come to camp. A staff to camper ratio of 1:1 where a staff is alone with a camper is prohibited by Camp Ollin policies and we train all our staff to follow this policy.

Camp Ollin’s well-organized, structured program gives all campers the opportunity to participate in over 20 STREAM, water, wilderness, and adventure activities. Safety equipment such as helmets, and lifejackets are required for many of our activities. Campers and staff are required to follow safety guidelines in order to participate at each activity. Our staff are trained in their specific program area, and they provide campers with careful instruction and supervision. All counselors are certified in CPR, and staff instructing waterfront activities are certified Lifeguards. Cellular phones are used throughout camp personnel, including the administrative staff, for emergency communication.

Camp support staff provide assistance to our camp community by checking campers’ hands before each meal, inspecting tents daily, and helping younger campers with personal hygiene.

Campers are required to shower at least every other day. Campers who desire to shower daily can do so during designated times (usually before breakfast, during rest hour, or immediately following evening activities). Younger campers are scheduled for specific shower times. Private showers with hot water are available at the camp. Laundry service is provided as needed during the camp session and is included in the camp tuition. Counselors and support staff are discrete when handling bathroom accidents in sleeping bags and clothing.

All visitors must check in with the camp administrative team upon entering camp. Staff is directed to stop visitors they do not recognize and escort them to the camp administrative personnel immediately. The camp site used by Camp Ollin is protected by a security guard who makes rounds throughout the night. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Camp Ollin.


In case of an emergency at camp, our staff are trained in C.P.R. and camp emergency communication procedures. Our camp medical personnel is on call via cellular phone 24 hours per day. We also have walk-in urgent care for non-threatening injuries, 3 miles away from the camp, next to the hospital. We also have emergency procedures for trips away from camp and have access to emergency resources provided by facilities we visit. We keep emergency supplies in backpack at our camp Wellness Center so it is available for activities away from camp as well. If there is a life-threatening emergency, we have access to emergency service via ambulance to hospital in Newport (which is approximately 3 miles from camp), where Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital is located. Of course, our most important priority is maintaining our campers’ and staff members’ safety, so we enforce safety rules throughout camp and during all activity programs.

**No access electricity means you need to provide battery charger for cellular battery. Bring portable cell phone power banks/pack is recommended.

Camp Olliners and staff enjoy three meals per day at vary locations overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Yaquina Bay, beach and the beautiful Newport coast. We provide campers and staff with delicious, well-balanced meals and offer a variety of options at each meal. We believe great food is an important part of our camp experience.


Campers dine family-style while sitting with their tent group and counselors. Kitchen Patrol (KP) gives campers an opportunity to help with the set up and cleanup of their group’s dining area during meals. Counselors encourage good dining manners and monitor that campers are eating well-balanced meals. Camp support staff checks campers’ hands upon entering the dining area to help ensure the health of our camp community.


Menu items are selected to provide nutritional meals that appeal to campers. A sample menu has been provided below. When feeding many people, we understand that it’s important to provide choices. Some special dietary needs and allergies can be accommodated with our regular daily meal offerings. Read here for more information about special dietary needs. Some of the daily options, in addition to our regular menu items, include:



At every breakfast we offer:



Hot Cereal

Fresh Fruit

Hot Chocolate

Cold Cereal




Hot food may not served every day, but a few examples are:


Scrambled Eggs with Bacon or Sausage

Breakfast Potatoes



Due to frequent field trips and being away from the camp site, lunch will be served cold daily. We offer:


Peanut Butter and Jelly

Pasta or Potato Salad

Deli Sandwich options


Fresh Fruit



At every dinner we offer:



Salad Bar

Fruit or Vegetable


Hot food serving varies each day but few examples are:

Teriyaki Chicken



Hotdogs on a stick roasted on a campfire

Individual foil dinner including meat and veggies


**Above options are subject to change.



Snacks are available throughout the day for campers requiring between-meal snacks. A healthy snack (apple, string cheese, carrots, raisins, or similar) is also available each evening at campfires as an alternative to traditional s’mores, popcorn and other treats.


Food Allergies

If you has a food allergy and you have questions regarding our accommodations for that particular allergy, please call our camp office at (971) 301-2291. We inform our kitchen staff and nurses of your allergies. Due to the limitations of a rustic campground we may not be able to accommodate every dietary need.

Staff will experience rustic, outdoor living at Camp Ollin. Our staff live in large tents with 3 doors for convenient exit/entry. The living area in the tent is approximate 25′ X 22′. Campers sleep on floor. Staff bring their own sleeping bag, blanket, pillow, and camping mat. Our tents do not have electricity, so it is truly outdoor, rustic living. Staff also bring flashlights and/or battery-operated lanterns for light. Bathrooms are located near to the tent areas and have electricity and hot water. Counselors escort campers to the restroom during the night. Group and activity counselors live with groups of 8-10 campers in large tents. Group counselors are primarily responsible for the overall well-being of their tent group. They live with and lead their group of campers to activities and meals and assist in teaching during activities.

Staff hiring and training is what makes a great camp, so we are dedicated to providing excellence in both of these areas. All of our counselors will be at least 18 and have completed one year of college or work experience. We have a rigorous application process, which includes a written application online, thorough two part interview, written & telephone references, and a criminal background check. When we are the waterfront, our certified lifeguard staff will be present. We hold staff training prior to the start of our camp season where staff will learn how to operate all necessary equipment and run programs safely. All of our counselors are certified in C.P.R.

Working at Camp Ollin is same as other employment opportunities. The code of ethics are expected to be followed at all times to demonstrate professionalism. In addition, all staff associate directly with minors, meaning the following expectations are emphasized at all times:

Our camp program is a smoke-free environment. Staff should be able to refrain from smoking while at camp, during camp trips, and all other camp related activities.

Camp Ollin has a zero tolerance policy with respect to drugs, intoxication and underage drinking. Although marijuana is legal in Oregon, it is not legally allowed in public or around minors. Staff members should be willing to abstain from all drug use or alcohol consumption while at camp, before camp (orientation week), during camp trips, and other camp related activities.

We expect all staff to uphold a professional appearance with proper grooming and adhering to the behavior and dress code.

If you have ever (1) been adjudged liable for civil penalties or damages involving sexual or physical abuse of a child, (2) been subject to a court order involving sexual or physical abuse of a child, or (3) had your parental rights terminated because of sexual or physical abuse of a child; it is not recommended you apply.

All aspects of personal appearance are subject to the approval of the Directors in regard to its appropriateness for Camp Ollin staff. The personal appearance of the staff is decidedly important both as a role model to campers and as a representative of Camp Ollin. All staff members are to present a professional example in clean, neat dress and appearance as well as personal hygiene. (Examples: Showering and shaving regularly; brushing teeth daily; etc.)

Hair should be neatly groomed and trimmed and the length of the hair shall not be excessive or present a ragged, unkempt or extreme appearance.

There is no daily set dress code for counselors, we expect all staff members to set the example dress code for campers through their choice of clothing. Therefore, we ask that all staff members adhere to the same dress code policy we have for our campers.

The following standards apply:

(1) no clothing with logos containing references to violence, sex, drugs, or tobacco,

(2) Jewelry that includes collars, chains, and face or body piercings. Post earring (worn on ear lobes) are allowed.

(3)We require modest 1-piece swimsuits (tankini’s are acceptable) and clothing that is not revealing. Halter tops, bare midriffs, spaghetti straps, very short shorts, or overly baggy clothes are not permitted. Staff members should always be wearing closed-toe shoes, except while going to the beach.

Every staff member will be given opportunities to take breaks and personal time each day. Staff members are required to sign out with Camp Director prior to departing camp premises and sign back in upon return from time off. Failure to return on time will result in disciplinary action up to termination.

This year Camp Ollin is located in the inspiring science hub of Newport, Oregon at the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Newport is a county seat in Lincoln County, 80 miles southwest of Salem. It takes approximately 2.5 hours to drive from Portland to our campsite.

Staffed transportation brings campers to and from Camp Ollin with stops in Portland, Salem, and Eugene. Campers also fly to and from Portland International Airport. Some staff would assist in the transportation arrangements and supervision to Camp Ollin.

Camp Ollin provides the ideal environment for participation in science, wilderness, and water activities.

Staff should arrange their own transportation to and from Camp Ollin. If you fly, call the camp to make arrangements for pickup and drop off. More details provided in the Welcome Packet.

As we state in all of our camp information, Camp Ollin has Camper Standards of Behavior and Appearance, and we are committed to upholding them. If a camper is disrespectful towards, or disobeys, his/her counselor, then we follow these disciplinary procedures:

1. Counselor talks with camper and discusses what the unacceptable behavior is and what appropriate behaviors can be utilized instead.

2. If the behavior continues, then the counselor talks to his or her supervisor, parents are contacted, and the camper meets with one of the Camp Directors to sign a behavioral contract outlining his/her understanding of what behavior is expected and that the subsequent consequence will be to go home early from camp.

3. If behavior continues, parents are contacted and arrangements are made for the camper to go home.

We understand that the behavior of one camper can have a significant impact on the group, so we are committed to ensuring that our campers show respect for one another and for our staff. Fortunately, we get a great group of campers and only rarely need to utilize the most severe consequences.

Base Salary for all staff: $200 per week plus bonus.  
Certifications Bonus: In order to receive a salary addition for a certification, the certification must be valid for the dates of employment and must be achieved prior to June 1st and must be in possession at the first day of staff training at Camp Ollin. Any certifications and re-certifications during Camp Ollin do not qualify for a salary bonus.


Food Handler: $50 weekly on all qualified staff assigned to assist Cook excluding Lifeguard, Medical Personnel and Cook staff.

Lifeguard: $100 weekly on a qualified staff hired as Lifeguard

Medical Personnel: $200 weekly on a qualified staff hired as Medical Personnel

Cook: $250 weekly on a qualified staff hired as Cook



**Additional benefits to salary provided by camp for camp counselors and staff are room, board, work comp, and free admissions to program attractions.

C.P.R. Certification:

  • All staff members must be C.P.R. certified prior to arriving at camp.
  • When signing up for a C.P.R. certification course, please be sure that the class includes adult, child, and infant C.P.R.
  • Acceptable certifying bodies include:
    • A-B-CPR
    • Emergency Care and Safety Institute (ECSI)
    • American Red Cross
    • American Heart Association
    • American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI)
    • Divers Alert Network
    • Emergency First Response
    • EMS Safety Services
    • Medic First Aid International
    • National Lifesaving and Aquatics
    • National Safety Council

American Camp Association Guidelines for C.P.R. Certifications

Food Handler Certification:

Lifeguard Certification:

  • Lifeguard work on the waterfront must also be lifeguard certified prior to camp.
  • There are 3 components to a lifeguard certification: 1) lifeguard training, 2) C.P.R. for the professional rescuer, and 3) First Aid. All 3 components need to be current in order for the lifeguard certification to be valid.
  • Since waterfront staff will be working on a open waterfront (ocean) and not a pool, we recommend finding a course that includes an open water or waterfront component. These skills will be reviewed during staff training week.
  • Acceptable certifying bodies include:
    • Ellis and Associates
    • American Red Cross
    • YMCA
    • Boy Scouts of America (BSA)
    • URSUS Aquatics
    • Starfish Aquatics Institute
    • H20 Pro
    • US Coast Guard
    • Lifeguard-Pro
    • National Lifesaving and Aquatics
    • Sierra Rescue

American Camp Association Guidelines for Lifeguard Certification

Wilderness First Aid Certification:

  • Medical personnel need to have a current Wilderness First Aid certification. Please be sure that your CPR certification includes an endorsement for adult, child, and infant C.P.R..
  • Acceptable certifying bodies include:
    • Emergency Care and Safety Institute (ECSI)
    • American Safety and Health Institute
    • American Red Cross
    • Canadian Red Cross
    • National Safety Council
    • National Ski Patrol
    • NOLS Wilderness Medicine
    • Sierra Rescue
    • SOLO
    • The Mountaineers
    • University of Colorado Department of Emergency Medicine
    • Wilderness Medical Associates
    • Wilderness Medical Training Center
    • Wilderness Medicine Outfitters
    • Wilderness Safety Council
    • Wilderness Safety & Emergency Response
    • St. John’s Ambulance

American Camp Association Guidelines for Wilderness First Aid Certification

Getting Certified at Camp:

It is important for you to obtain the required certifications prior to your arrival at camp. If you are unable to do so or arrive at camp with incorrect certifications, we can not guarantee your employment at Camp Ollin.