Cropped silly photo
2018 Staff Photo
14505966332_37196d0d7a_o_edited.jpg 2014-11-14-13:51:53


Make A Difference

Let's change the world together


Dear New Staff Member,

You have just taken the next step in exploring what could possibly be the best summer of your life. Each year, God calls over 55 summer staff members to our team which impacts thousands of young lives. Throughout the summer, we will seek to learn and live what it means to make the love of Christ visible. We will play, pray, explore, create, and share life together as a community. We strive to offer the best experience in Christian camping for each of our summer campers. In order to meet this goal, we actively recruit, train and nurture the most qualified staff. Working on staff here is a commitment to living in community. From the moment you first arrive at camp until the farewell dinner, you are part of a family. Living into this experience requires commitment, courage, and honesty. It is a life-changing summer to work and live in Christian community. By living and working in the great outdoors and investing in relationships with God, your fellow team members, and the campers, you will build friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.


Please take the time to carefully read all the information about the summer. Below you will find information about camp, your role, time off policies, what to pack and more! If you have questions, please contact us. You can e-mail


Peace of Christ,

The Leadership Team at Chestnut Ridge

Next Steps

Employment Paperwork

You will receive an e-mail to fill out all of your employment paperwork online. The email will come from NC United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries via If you do not receive this e-mail let us know (after checking your junk folder). Please fill that paperwork out asap. Make sure when you fill out the contract you pay special attention to time off and last date of employment. Failure to complete your contract as you have filled it out will result in forfeit of your incentive bonus. 

Biography and Photo

Please send a short bio and photo to so you can be added to our staff page.

Follow us on Instagram! 

Stay up to date on the latest before you arrive for the summer.


Feel free to reach out to us at anytime if you have any questions about the summer. No question is too small. We are here to help prepare you for an amazing summer. So we are happy to answer questions. Contact or 919-304-2178.

Your Role

Patience, flexibility and endurance are the three most important qualities when working as a summer staff. Your role as a counselor requires you to work long hours, present your best self and selflessly serve others. The vast majority of our summer camp staff are residential. As a staff memeber, you are responsible for helping with 24-hour supervision of the campers. A typical cabin has 2 senior staff members and 10 campers. During the day, you will either lead or assist in major and elective program areas or work with Mudpuppies or Pollywogs, our youngest campers. Staff are given the opportunity to experience a variety of camp activities throughout the summer. 


Going 110 percent every day is important. Campers are inspired by your energy and enthusiasm, so staff must have high energy every day. If you’re having fun and giving your energy and talent to the campers, the campers have fun, and get inspired to be more and learn more.

Important Dates

Trip Leader Training: May 20-22 for anyone interested in leading an off-site adventure trip

High Ropes Training: May 22-26 for anyone interested in facilitating the High Challenge Course and Tree Climbing.

Horseback Instructor Training: May 23-25 for Equestrian Staff

Lifeguard Training: May 28 - June 1 for anyone interested in being a certified Lifeguard

Staff Training: June 1 - June 10

MANDATORY Staff training for all senior staff (Junior Staff are required to attend junior staff training)

Junior Staff Training: May 14-15 (required for all junior staff)

Camp Sessions: run weekly, Sunday to Friday, June 12 - August 26 (understanding that many college students are not available the last week or two of camp)

Beginning June 12, there will be 11 weeks of summer camp. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of activities each week. We will be looking to have you serve in many areas of camp life that will help you grow, as well as benefit the campers.  At times you may be called upon to take on a leadership role, and at other times you may be asked to work “behind the scenes”.  As you can imagine, the shape of the summer ministry team is partially determined by the unique gifts and graces of the team.  Every member of our summer staff plays an important role in making a positive impact on the lives of the campers.


Your work will require a great amount of energy and the Leadership Team at Chestnut Ridge is dedicated to creating time for you to be renewed throughout the summer. Part of this renewal comes in the form of worship and Bible study and part comes in regular time off. You will have regular time off assigned one night each week, and on the weekend beginning after the staff meeting Friday evening until 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.  Every Sunday, we will meet at 12:30 p.m. for group discipleship time, followed by a team meeting. We count on you to make the most of this time away so that when you are actively counseling, the campers have a counselor who is rested, excited, and engaged.

Housing and Meals

Housing is provided throughout the summer. Meals are provided throughout the week when campers are on site. The cabins and lodges at Chestnut Ridge are air-conditioned and have bathrooms in the cabins. Some weeks you will be assigned to a “camper cabin”, which typically has 2 counselors and 10 campers. Other weeks you will be assigned to a "staff cabin". These have electricity, air conditioning and a bathhouse just a short walk away.

Time Off

Most staff take off a week each summer for vacation, mission trips, etc. You will put your time off on the online paperwork. Additionally, each week staff have off one night (from 6:00 pm until 11:00 pm) and are off from approximately 9:00 p.m. Friday evening until 12:30 pm Sunday afternoon. 

A bit more about camp...

Pollywogs: are the youngest campers. These preschoolers only come for a half-day camp a few times during the summer

Mudpuppies: Campers in Kindergarten-2nd grade. They remain in a small group with the same counselors all week long to ensure continuity and safety.

Waterdogs and Duskies: For summer 2021 campers will stay in small groups of about 10 to 16 campers all day. There are a few major options that campers will choose (listed below) but most campers will participate in the Best of Camp major. In these small group campers will participate in most of the best of camp activities that Chestnut Ridge has to offer - such as: high ropes, lake toys, pool, canoeing, farm, art, sports, and more!

Major options:

Best of Camp - most campers will sign up for this camp

Horseback Riding

Farm - 2 weeks

Herpetology - 1 week

High School: These campers stay in a small group with other campers their age and participate in very specific camps designed with the high schooler in mind. These camps often involve an extended period of time offsite participating in high adventure activities. Learn more about high school camps here

Chestnut Ridge serves both day and residential campers. Each week, many staff will be assigned as residential staff, meaning they stay in the cabin with the campers. Remaining staff will be housed in the staff cabins or in extra cabins (if available). Staff must be willing to work with any age level.

Evenings offer resident campers the opportunity to:

  • Enjoy evening meals together

  • Camp-wide games of Capture the Flag

  • The Amazing Race

  • Pool Parties

  • Dance Parties

  • Evening vespers

  • Home in the Woods - Everyone camps out and cooks dinner over the campfire

Evening activities are usually the highlight of the day for residential campers. This is a great time for campers and staff to bond with their cabins.

For your packing pleasure, here’s a packing list. Remember to pack lightly!
Staff will find a large duffle bag or trunk optimal for packing (the only storage space in the cabins is under the bunk). Please pack lightly as storage space is limited. Counselors do not remain in the same cabin week to week, and you will often need to move your things for weekend retreat groups, so be prepared to pack and move when necessary. Again, pack lightly! Limited laundry facilities are available onsite; other facilities are available for use offsite.

Dress Code – 

We are about the work of God’s kingdom this summer, and any distractions from that work are unnecessary.  

  • Clothing should not promote alcohol, cigarettes, or have inappropriate phrases on them.

  • Activity-appropriate clothes should be worn at all times. Clothing that needs to be adjusted frequently is not considered activity-ready. 

  • Close-toed shoes are preferred at all times unless you are at the pool or lake. Sandals with ankle strap (like Chacos) are acceptable.

What To Pack...

Staff Need To Bring:

  • A towel or two (one for showering one for swimming) (provided for international staff)

  • Sunscreen

  • Swimsuits functional for active use at camp (e.g. one-piece or “tankini”)

  • Tennis shoes

  • Comfortable hiking shoes

  • Sandals are permissible if they are sturdy, athletic sandals that strap around the ankle (ex: Chacos). Flip flops are allowed only at the pool

  • Hat

  • Raincoat or poncho (including hat) – camp activities continue in rainy weather

  • Water bottle

  • Sunglasses

  • A Bible (we have plenty here if you prefer to borrow) 

  • Medication you are taking

  • US staff need to bring proof of identity (driver’s license will work fine) AND proof or residency (for example, a social security card, military card, or passport). You must bring two forms of ID to be added to payroll. If you have questions, please let Katie know.

  • Musical instruments if you play 

  • Items needed to lead specific camp activities in which you are skilled. Example: Crochet needles, juggling balls, mountain bike & helmet, belaying gloves, rugby ball, etc.

  • International staff could bring items to teach the campers about the culture in their country (music, games, recipes, sports, etc.)

  • If you bring a vehicle of any kind, you must park in the designated staff parking at all times. Chestnut Ridge is not responsible for any injuries or damage to your vehicle while it resides on camp property. Staff may not drive personal vehicles around campus or drive during hours of camp operation without explicit permission from a leadership team member.

  • Camp clothes for an entire week – these should be comfortable clothes that can get dirty. Be sure to include: jeans or long pants, a jacket or sweatshirt, shorts, short-sleeved shirts, underclothes, and socks.

  • We will give you two staff shirts! One to wear on Sunday/ Monday Check-in and one for Friday checkout

  • Bed linens and a blanket for a twin size bed or a sleeping bag (we think sleeping bags work best; international staff will be provided with sheets if you choose not to bring one. Keep in mind you will be camping out at least one night a week.)

  • Pillow (provided for international staff)

  • Towels, washcloth, soap, shampoo

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, comb/brush, other personal items

  • Insect repellent

  • Pajamas

  • Flashlight (also know as a torch for internationals) and batteries

  • Notebook and pencil

  • Costume items for skits

  • A small day pack for short excursions

  • A nice outfit (for commissioning dinner, not required, but most staff like to dress nice)

  • A few "normal" clothes for weekends and nights off


What To Leave At Home...

In order to protect the atmosphere of camp and provide a true outdoor camp experience, we ask the campers to leave their electronic devices at home so that we can concentrate on our friendships while at camp. You may use electronics during your time off, but not while working with campers.

Three exceptions are as follows:

  • Alarm Clocks

  • Cell phones – These may be left in your car, cabin, or mailbox; you may not use them when you are on duty.

  • Other items to leave at home include tobacco products: cigarettes, e-cig, vapes (etc.), pets, alcohol, weapons, and inappropriate clothing.