Camp Tawonga

Impactful, life-changing work with children in the Sierra Mountains just outside Yosemite National Park

For over 90 years, Camp Tawonga has served as a leader in Jewish camping, fostering in children a deep connection to nature, community and Judaism within a warm, welcoming and inclusive environment. At Tawonga, children and teens build self esteem, make lifelong friends and discover their truest selves, supported by a dedicated and loving staff.

Camp Tawonga's beautiful property encompasses 160 acres along the Tuolumne River, inside the Stanislaus National Forest, just seven miles from Yosemite National Park.

About Camp Tawonga

Camp Tawonga is a co-ed residential children’s summer camp located outside Yosemite National Park. The campers range in age from 7-17 and participate in 1-week, 2-week, or 3-week programs throughout the summer. The Camp Tawonga Staff is a family of over 160 dedicated staff, working together to create a vibrant Jewish community where children have a safe, meaningful summer in the beautiful Sierra Mountains. Camp Tawonga’s mission is to foster positive self-image for campers, create a cooperative community, teach children to live in partnership with nature, and offer children a positive experience of spirituality. The campers’ experience is the focus of all staff, whether counselor or prep cook, lifeguard or backpacking leader, office staff or driver. The work is demanding, with long hours, high intensity, and little privacy. The rewards are great — the delight of helping children grow, the beauty of the mountains and river, and the joy of working as part of a team of enthusiastic and caring staff. This outstanding team includes people with both Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds, all of whom enjoy the Jewish customs and culture which come alive at Camp Tawonga.

The Employee Experience

A Camp Tawonga staff position is a rewarding and coveted position where you get to change the lives of children immeasurably for the better. Working to help realize Tawonga’s mission with over 160 peers will be one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever have, and love! 

Room and Board

Tawonga provides room and board for all staff members. Living situations vary among different positions. Counselors live in cabins with their campers, and staff members who do not work directly with kids live in communal cabins with other staff members. Our terrific kitchen staff cook family style meals that are served in our dining hall. 

Employee Perks

  • Work, live and play in beautiful Stanislaus National Forest. 
  • Explore spectacular Yosemite National Park, only a 20 minute drive from camp!

Getting Here and Getting Around

We offer a staff bus from our San Francisco office at the beginning and end of the summer. Staff may also chose to drive their personal vehicles to camp. Camp Tawonga is a residential camp and all staff live on-site for the duration of the summer. 

Our Jobs

All staff contracts are for the entire summer season (June 10-August 14, 2018), and applicants must be prepared to commit themselves for the full 10 weeks. All employees must be at least 18 years old as of June 17, 2018 with a High School diploma. Additional education or age requirements apply to specific positions. An Equal Opportunity Employer, Camp Tawonga provides equal opportunities without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status.

All positions working directly with children require First Aid and CPR certification.



Counselors care for and live with children as role models ensuring the physical and emotional well being of their campers. As facilitators of the camper experience, counselors strive to raise self-esteem and foster the bunk group dynamic by actively participating in all camp activities offered by specialists, including: ropes course, backpacking, arts and crafts, Jewish programs, and more, as well as creating programs of their own. Excellent communication skills, childcare experience, and love of outdoors are essential. Counselors work most sessions as a Bunk Counselor (with a co-counselor in a 12 camper cabin) but may also spend one or more sessions as a Unit Counselor supporting multiple bunks. LGT and WFA certifications are encouraged.



Drive 8-passenger SUVs, often towing a trailer, on mountain roads and highways, maintaining safety as highest priority. Run camp errands including shopping. Provide regular assistance in camp office such as mail sorting, phone and radio coverage. Transport campers, staff and/or luggage to and from Bay Area at the beginning and end of each session. Must be 21 years old and have an excellent driving record.

Maintenance Staff


Responsible for all grounds-keeping, janitorial, and housekeeping needs. Work 70% outdoors, 30% indoors. Physical work, fun crew! 



Counselor on special assignment. Provide care for children of staff at camp. Must be responsible, warm, loving, creative, and flexible. Experience with children preferred.

Prep Cook


Responsible for meal prep, fast-paced food service, and kitchen cleanup. Must have experience with and like working around food. Work either morning shift, evening shift, late night shift as pantry assistant, alternative foods assistant, or laundry shift. Must work closely with others in an intense environment.

Waterfront Staff


Lifeguard at beautiful Olympic-sized pool, and small lake. Create and lead fun water games at the pool for campers. Hike with groups to river areas as safety monitor and lifeguard. Current lifeguard certification required. One Waterfront Director position available. Make schedules and supervise Waterfront program and staff. LGT certification required; experience teaching lessons and WSI preferred.

Wilderness Leader


All wilderness leaders must be at least 21 years old with current Lifeguard and Wilderness First Responder or WEMT certification (possible reimbursement for certification courses). Experience with children and prior backpacking experience essential; natural history, environmental education, challenge course facilitation, and Judaic knowledge helpful. Wilderness Staff rotate through one or more of the following programs throughout the summer:

  • Backpacking Trip Leader: Lead bunk groups of 12 campers and 2 counselors on one and two nightbackpacking trips in the Sierras. Drive vans, lead hikes, set up camp, cook dinner on a camping stove, supervise swimming in mountain lakes and streams, teach LNT ethics and lead nature programming. Keep the group safe and happy, helping them bond with each other and with Mother Nature.
  • Teen Adventure Quest Leader: Co-lead a group of teens on a multi-week van trip through California or the Pacific Northwest. Lead backpacking trip, drive vans, manage cooking and cleaning with teens, lead programming and group building, and interface with professional outfitters for rafting, kayaking, rock climbing and surfing.
  • Adventure Challenge Course Facilitator: Facilitate groups through low and high elements at our challenge course and climbing tower. Prior ropes course facilitation experience and rock climbing/belaying experience helpful.
  • Naturalist: Engage children in creative activities to foster nature appreciation and environmental education. Lead day hikes, river rock hops, fire building, orienteering, and storytelling, as well as garden-based programming in our organic garden. Implement traditional Tawonga programs and create new activities to engage campers about natural history, ecology, Jewish connections to nature, and Native American culture.

How to Apply

To apply, fill out our online application at Then, call our office to schedule an interview. 

To be considered in our first round of hiring decisions, you must submit your online application, references, and have an interview by January 19, 2018. After that, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis for any remaining open positions.. Please contact Associate Director Aaron Mandel at or 415.543.2267 with any questions. 

Contact Info