Volunteer with UCLA UniCamp
Come for the kids, stay for the people
Be part of UCLA’s official student charity, a student tradition since 1934, and apply to volunteer as a UCLA UniCamp counselor for our 2022 camp season! Mentor and inspire kids from underserved communities and give back for one week this summer, all while making new friends throughout the school year and having fun!
Join us this TUESDAY (Jan 25) at 6pm for our final info session on Zoom to learn more!
Applications are due by Friday, January 28, 2021 at 11:59pm (the end of Week 4). Applications received after will be considered on a rolling basis if space is available.
Learn more about UCLA UniCamp by attending info-sessions and other events where you’ll have a chance to hear from UniCamp volunteers and student leaders. All events will be posted here and announced on our Instagram @UCLAUniCamp.
Info-sessions will take place regularly until the application is due. Our upcoming info sessions are:
Tuesday, January 11 at 7-8pm Thursday, January 13 at 3-4pm Wednesday, January 19 at 6-7pm Thursday, January 20 at 3-4pm Monday, January 24 at 2-3pm
- Tuesday, January 25 at 6-7pm
Until UCLA classes are in-person, all info-sessions are on Zoom. Join by going to unicamp.org/infosession
🦋 Other events
Other opportunities to learn more about how you can participate in UniCamp will occur Winter weeks 1-4 and will be posted here.
Volunteers have the most important role at camp: they work directly with the campers in small ratios to create a magical experience. You will be sorted into a session and will train with your co-counselor(s) through winter and spring quarters to build the mentorship and leadership skills you’ll need to be an amazing counselor. Your responsibilities include:
- Attending all training meetings/events and your week of camp for your assigned session (dates listed below).
- Building relationships with fellow volunteers to create a supportive camp community
- Supervising campers, ages 9-17, keeping safety as a top priority and giving them opportunities to grow and have fun
- Building supportive, mentoring relationships with campers
- Envisioning, planning, and executing activities for small groups of campers under guidance from your session’s student leadership team
- If chosen as a Specialist, learning about one activity and leading it at camp for the week. Activities include swimming, climbing, arts & crafts, archery, dance, mountain biking, and more. Training is provided!
- Identifying and responding empathetically to camper behaviors
- Meeting a $450 fundraising goal. Support and training is provided!
|Session||Training meetings (in person at UCLA)|
Winter Weeks 6-9
Spring Weeks 1-9
First day listed is pre-session training
|1||Tuesdays 7:30-9:30pm||June 18-25|
The Village Session*
|Thursdays 6-8pm||June 24 – July 1|
|3||Wednesdays 7-9pm||July 9-17|
UCLA Community School**
|Tuesdays 7-9pm||July 16-24|
|5||Thursdays 7-9pm||July 23-31|
|6||Wednesdays 7:30-9:30pm||July 30 – August 7|
Session meeting dates will be announced soon. They will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays during a 2-hour block from 6-10pm.
* The Village Session is partnered with The Village Nation. The week of camp empowers Black American youth to achieve their full potential by providing them with guidance from elders, resources for success, and immersing them in African culture. Campers and volunteers from all ethnic backgrounds are welcome.
** The UCLA Community School session is partnered with the Horace Mann and RFK Community Schools. Volunteers will work with faculty and staff from the schools to run a week of camp focused on social and emotional learning.
These are required for volunteers in all sessions; the final dates/times will be announced soon and may change as UCLA’s COVID-19 policies change.
- All-Camp Meeting (tentatively February 23 around 6-9pm)
- Session Retreat (full weekend, around April 16-17)
- Camp-A-Thon (full weekend, TBA)
- On-Site Orientation (June 14-16 at camp)
Requirements to apply:
- Be a college/university student, past camper, or past volunteer
- Meet all the essential functions to be a UniCamp volunteer (listed below)
- Be at least 18 years old and are no longer in high school by March 1, 2022
- Pass a criminal history background check and reference check
- Be willing to agree to a conduct agreement to make sure UniCamp is a safe place for all
- Have a passion for working with kids and being outdoors
- Ability to communicate in English or Spanish
- Ability to navigate on dirt or mulch trails. Our campsite is in a national forest and all the roads/trails are unpaved.
Please contact us if you’re unsure if you’re eligible or to discuss accommodations.
Essential functions to be a UniCamp volunteer
- Able to groom, dress, and feed yourself
- Able to manage your own basic hygiene
- Able to manage your own bowels and bladder
- Able to traverse UniCamp trails/paths (including dirt trails with slopes/rocks)
- Able to assist a camper in grooming, dressing, eating, and basic hygiene
- Able to interact with and supervise campers in an outdoor environment 24 hours a day over a 6-8 day period
- Able to foster a wholesome and supportive environment in which campers can express their individuality and experience success
- Able to maintain a positive example for the campers
- Able to understand and follow UniCamp rules and schedules with minimal supervision
- Able to manage time off appropriately and without direct supervision
- Able to fulfill duties in the mountain climate (which can range from 40º-100ºF in rain and sunshine)
A leadership team from one of your preferred sessions will reach out to you to schedule a virtual interview or ask for more information
If accepted, your session’s leadership team will invite you to the first meeting (Winter Week 6)
UniCamp operates with a continuous interview process after you are initially accepted. Your leadership team will be working with you throughout the training process to make sure you are developing the skills required to be a great camp counselor.
We operated camp in-person in 2021 and experienced no transmission of COVID-19. It looks very likely that we will be able to run in-person camp again in 2022, but conditions can always change.
We are committed to providing safe youth development opportunities and we will continue to follow the guidance of public health professionals.The majority of camp is in small groups and outdoors, even our cabins are open-air with solid barriers between bunks. We always work to prevent the spread of communicable disease at camp.
It’s important to note that the pandemic and the world’s understanding of it is constantly changing so our plans may change by the summer. If we are not able to run in-person camp, we will convert to a virtual camp like we did in the summer of 2020.
To volunteer with UCLA UniCamp, you must be at least 18 years old by March 1, 2022. In addition, you must be either a university/college student or former UniCamp volunteer/camper (former campers must have finished high school by January 1, 2022).
During the school year: roughly 2 hours per week plus some extra time for special events and planning. Events are not held during 10th week or finals week. You will also attend your week of camp during summer.
Don’t worry! It’s early on in the school year and we know you may still be thinking about internships, jobs, or summer school. Internships can often be flexible, especially since this is only a 1-week commitment during the summer.
Nope! We provide all the training needed, based on American Camp Association standards. Depending on the roles you select, you can also learn about lifeguarding, archery, mountain biking, belaying, and more. At camp, you will work in teams with others close by if you need help.
Yes! During training, you’ll learn how to fundraise effectively and will be given opportunities to participate in group fundraisers.
The $450 fundraising minimum is an expectation that you fundraise, and is not a participation fee.
The key to fundraising is asking. If you ask a lot of people and receive a lot of small donations but don’t hit your goal, we can often work with you.
Nope! This is a volunteer position for a single week during the summer. There will be opportunities to “float” in other sessions and to apply for a full-season paid staff position at camp if you’d like to be at camp longer than your one week. Info for those roles will be sent out to all volunteers in spring.
UniCamp takes place at our campsite in the San Bernardino National Forest near Big Bear. Click here for photos and 360º views of camp.
As a volunteer, you’ll board a bus to/from camp in Westwood, so just make sure you are able to get to UCLA at the start of your session.
You’ll be sorted into one or both of these roles based on your preference and the session’s availability. Everyone will have a “co-counselor” or “co-specialist”.
Counselor: you’ll be in charge of a group of 6-10 campers for the week, eating meals, sharing a cabin, and going to activities together. You’ll be their primary supervision and your role will be to keep them safe and support their growth throughout the week.
Specialist: you’ll be in charge of an activity and will get to work with campers from all different cabins throughout the week. Specialists often join a cabin where you’ll sleep and you’ll have a chance to work with the unit’s counselors in getting to know the campers. Activities include swimming, archery, arts & crafts, climbing tower, nature/hiking, mountain biking, drama, dance, and more. Training/certifications will be provided as-needed.
About half-way through training, you’ll “pref” the role you’d prefer (including age group and activities) and everyone will be sorted.
Nope! You’ll always have a “co” — a co-counselor or a co-specialist. You’ll “pref” who you’d like to work with (along with the role you prefer) and you’ll be assigned one or more “coze” around half-way through training.
Don’t worry, plenty of volunteers will learn alongside you during training! All we ask is that you’re open to new experiences.
We sleep in open-air cabins, each with an attached toilet/shower/sink and spend the majority of the day outside. You’ll get a packing list before camp, but the only special supplies you need are a sleeping bag and flashlight.
Apply anyway! You don’t have to commit to anything until you are offered a volunteer position after your interview. The interview process is a great way to learn more about UniCamp and meet other volunteers to help decide if this is right for you.