Volunteer with UCLA UniCamp’s ATL Program

Be part of UCLA’s official student charity, a student tradition since 1934, and apply to volunteer as a UCLA UniCamp counselor for our 2023 camp season! Mentor and inspire kids from underserved communities and give back for one week this summer, all while making new friends at UCLA!

The Accelerated Transfer Leadership (ATL) program encourages all incoming and continue transfer students to apply!

Role Description

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 a week over the summer to build the mentorship and leadership skills you’ll need to be an amazing counselor. Your responsibilities include:

  • Attending all ATL training meetings and your week of camp dates (listed below: you’ll be sorted into one session).
  • 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 $200 fundraising goal. Support and training is provided!
SessionSession Dates
First day is pre-session training
UCLA Community School*
June 23-30
The Village Session**
July 8-15
3July 14-22
4July 21-29
5July 28 – August 5
6August 4-11

* The UCLA Community School Session is a session partnered with Horace Mann UCLA Community School. Volunteers will work with faculty and staff from Mann to run a week of camp focused on social and emotional learning.

** 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.

What is the Accelerated Transfer Leadership (ATL) Program?


With only 2 years at UCLA, transfers may feel like they are “behind” on participating in service leadership activities while having to adjust to a new environment with rigorous academic demands. ATL aims to help even the playing field by holding a week-long intensive training program that allows new transfers to volunteer with UCLA UniCamp the summer before they enter UCLA. 


Each year, more than 30% of the ATL class end up serving a leadership role in UniCamp beginning in the Fall of the academic year. Since UniCamp requires one year (one session) of volunteer experience to apply for leadership positions, ATL makes this possible for new transfers since they did not get to join UniCamp during the previous Winter quarter like other volunteers. 


Social support plays a huge part of the transfers’ adjustment in a new environment. ATL connects incoming transfers to current UCLA students, UCLA’s transfer resources, alumni, and the greater UCLA community. During training, volunteers will be closely interacting with other new transfers under the guidance of the student leadership team. Once volunteers are divided and sent up to join various camp sessions, they will be working with other UCLA volunteers that joined UniCamp during the school year. Volunteers will be part of a community of support that they can lean on once they enter UCLA after networking with upwards to a 100 other UCLA students.

Requirements to apply:

  • Be a continuing or incoming transfer student to UCLA
  • Pass a criminal history background check and reference check
  • Have a passion for working with kids and being outdoors
  • 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 when you apply
  • 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
  • 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 traverse UniCamp trails/paths (including dirt trails with slopes/rocks)
  • 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)

Interview Process

Step 2

The ATL leadership team will reach out to you to schedule a virtual interview or ask for more information

Step 3

If accepted, ATL leadership will invite you to the first meeting (TBD)

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.


Do I need experience as a camp counselor?

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 others close by if you need help.

Will I have help fundraising?

Yes! During training, you’ll learn how to fundraise effectively and will be given opportunities to participate in group fundraisers.

What if I don’t make the fundraising goal?

The $200 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. Last year, for instance, a donor pledged to contribute to volunteers’ fundraising goals for every ask they made, even if it didn’t result in a donation!

Will I be at camp all summer?

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.

Where is camp? Do I need transportation?

UniCamp takes place at our campsite in the San Bernardino National Forest near Big Bear. Click here for photos and 360º views of camp. Volunteers take a bus to/from UCLA during their week of camp.

What do I do as a volunteer at camp?

You’ll be sorted into one of two roles based on your preference and the session’s availability:

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 are often “adopted” into 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.

Do I volunteer alone?

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.

What if I’ve never worked with kids or been camping before?

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.

What if I have more questions?

If you have any further questions, please email us at atl@unicamp.org, send us a message on Instagram, or come to an info session.

I still can’t decide if I want to do UniCamp…

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.

Anything else?

If you have any other questions or concerns, please email us at atl@unicamp.org, send us a message on Instagram, or come to an info session (dates above!).

We look forward to receiving your application!