Spend your summer learning how to lead outdoor adventures including whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and backpacking Christian summer camps.

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The Adventure Trainee Program

When: Mid June through Mid August

Where: Northern California

What: A small team of trainees is managed each summer by one of our directors or a senior guide.

Team building with crazy fun Christian guidesDescription: You will work long and hard, but very fulfilling and enjoyable days. The goals of the Adventure Trainee Program are as follows:

  • To Serve campers and the community by building a team which significantly contributes to a positive Christian camps atmosphere which is encouraging for staff, assist in the running of camp, and helps to provide a fantastic environment for campers.
  • To Grow trainees emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially in preparation for outdoor Christian youth ministries
  • To educate and equip trainees in competence for all adventure areas. This is included but not limited to, leading rock climbing, white water rafting, team challenges, backpacking, group interactions, Christian leadership, and performing camp duties.

Who: We look for people who love God, enjoy working hard, want to grow in their Christian faith, and want to give their summer to the campers. Must be at least 16 years old.

Why: We’ve asked our staff why they work here in our series of staff interviews.

How: The Trainee Program has a history of filling up very fast. We recommend you Apply as soon as you are fairly certain you’d like to work here.  We typically stop taking applications on March 1st.

General Synopsis

The trainee program plays a critical role in enabling Rock-N-Water to minister to youth, to function properly, and to build up new leaders.  But what does that mean, and how does that look?

guide helps camper get ready for rappelling at summer campThe Concept

Unity – As a trainee you will be part of a small volunteer team, as well as Rock-N-Water Staff as a whole.  Unity will be built throughout the summer, but your first few weeks will focus heavily on building a tight-knit cohesive team for the summer to come.

Function – The trainee team contributes significantly to Rock-N-Water’s ability to function.  They assist daily with many of the behind the scenes responsibilities (including equipment, cooking, and camp maintenance) so that guides will be freed up to focus more of their time, strength, and energy on ministering to the campers.

Training – It is our hope that our trainees will not just gain a sense of unity and purpose while at Rock-N-Water, but that through training they would also grow in the hard and soft skills necessary for working in outdoor adventure youth ministry (including whitewater rafting, rock climbing, backpacking, and leadership) and in their spiritual walk with God.  

Future – A major reason for the trainee program is to train and teach future staff; with the time and energy you and we invest resulting in a lasting ministry opportunity for you and us. We therefore ask that you only apply to the volunteer program if there is a reasonable chance of you returning in future years.

a group of summer campers take a selfie while canyoneering at summer camp The Logistics:

Exactly what happens on a week to week and even a day to day basis is highly volatile, but for the sake of having a fuzzy picture you can imagine yourself getting up early in the morning, where you and the rest of the trainees might have a Bible study, exercise, help in the kitchen, help on equipment, do all of the above or even none of the above.  At night you will typically get back in time to help prep dinner, followed by working with guides and playing with campers until campfire or by having some time off to yourself until you go to campfire with trip leaders and campers. To help keep your focus on the campers, volunteers are expected to be in camp sunset to sunrise Sunday @1pm through Friday 8pm.

But what happens during the daytime?  Here’s a short list of some things that you might do on different days or even on the same day: rake leaves, prep & clean equipment, develop campfire ideas, fix things around camp, carry lunches for trips, shadow guides on trips, help in the kitchen, community service projects, and go on training outings. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s a lot of fun at the same time; and hey, you even get free room and board.
camper swimming under water at rock-n-water Christian camps

Time Commitment

Your availability and time commitment are very important. The exact dates of the trainee program vary from year to year, but typically start the second or Friday in June and run through the second or third week of August.

To help promote a more effective training environment, trainees are not permitted any guests during the first three weekends of the program, and time off requests are rarely granted. We also ask that you seriously consider not going home during those first four weekends. We have observed over the years that these weekends are critical to building social bonds and increasing your capacity to thrive alongside your fellow staff.

The intention is not to isolate you from friends and family, but to help develop the kind of collaborative ministry environment that makes Rock-N-Water work. If your family lives within driving distance, they are welcome to call the office and set up a date to come for dinner and see what you’re up to! We understand that this may be challenging for some and we are happy to discuss any concerns.

Learn More

We look forward to answering any questions you might have! Or you can start the application process right now.

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