Camp Thunderbird

Experience Camaraderie, Community and Friendship

If you're looking for opportunities that helps you grow, are ready to work hard and are looking for people who share your interest and lifestyle, then Thunderbird is the community for you.  Check us out and see why a summer at Thunderbird will change your life. 

Residential camp with a distinctive and unique 5 week Expedition Programs in Washington and Oregon and Western States and Canada. Adventure programs in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and BWCA that take 14 year old campers out on three to nine day backpack, canoe and bike trips.

Jobs in the Spotlight

About Camp Thunderbird

We are excited to celebrate our 75th season in 2021! 

Summary of Thunderbird: Multi-Specialty Camp in Minnesota with distinctive Expedition Programs in Pacific Northwest, Western States and Canada. Boys and Girls Camps are two miles apart with social opportunities available for staff. With an unusually large staff team, some of the best people you will ever meet and campers who can't wait to call you friend and mentor, Thunderbird is a second home our campers and staff. Want to learn more or ready to apply? Look below!

At Thunderbird, campers and staff come from all over the United States and 12 countries across the world. Our campers typically start at age eight and stay with us to be staff members. Whether you are with us for one season, or ten, the friends that you make at Thunderbird are the ones you can call on a moments notice and pick up right where you left off! Our brother/sister camps operate independently from one another, but allow the opportunity for a co-ed social experience during time off.

Thunderbird is first a residential summer camp that as our campers grow older, they can participate in our Expedition Programs. In camp, campers learn, challenge themselves, and bond with friends at more than twenty activities each day. Our skilled staff instruct in one or more of these activities and help our campers acquire a level of skill that enables them to independently participate. Being a part of this experience as a staff member is one of the most reaffirming moments you will have at Thunderbird. These moments combined with laughter, bonding with peers/campers and actively creating and growing a community based on friendship, acceptance, support and so much more makes Thunderbird an unforgettable opportunity.

As campers grow, they often seek new challenges. These challenges come in many forms: new activities, higher skill levels, or a completely new set of opportunities like our out of camp experiences.

Distinctive Wilderness Programs: Campers who have an interest in wilderness travel are able to explore this throughout their camp years by participating in optional cabin overnights and other shorter trips close to camp. In our younger ages (8-12), these trips typically range in length from one to three days and include biking, climbing, fishing, kayaking, sailing and canoe.

At the age of fourteen, campers interested in participating in our T-Bird Expedition program, launch into our more advanced wilderness programming. This program is called Progressions and involves furthering their wilderness skills and partaking in 3, 5 and up to 9 day backpack and canoe trips to areas such as the BWCA, Quetico in Canada, Porcupine Mountains in Michigan and Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota. . Campers who participate in Progressions, have the best of both worlds, activities and wilderness trips. 

Tbird Expeditions: Our adventure programming is truly unique. Only Thunderbird offers campers the opportunity to transition into a Teen Adventure Program experience so they never leave their camp friends or community. Campers completing 9th-11th grade opt into these trips and travel on multi-week adventures that start and finish at Thunderbird. You can’t beat the excitement of experiencing new challenges in some of the United States and Canada’s most renowned places with their friends and counselors from T-bird! 

We send campers to: Pacific Northwest, Western States, Canada, Quetico, BloodVein River and more. Visit our website to learn more. 

After closing due to COVID in 2020, we can't wait to get back to Thunderbird and are looking for staff who are dedicated to making this one of our most memorable summers.  

Facilities, Our Lake and More: Thunderbird sits on a quiet and large lake that is eleven miles around. We own about 1+ miles of shoreline and other directors have said that our boys camp waterfront is one of the best in the country. A natural beach with a descending lake depth in a cove that we own. Girls camp is also amazing, so don't worry!  Both camps utilize the entire lake and on a typical day, you will see a dozen boats and half of them are ours. Our sites are up to date with central washhouses at boys camp and a bathroom in cabins with central shower houses at girls camp.  We are twelve miles from the town of Bemidji and three hours from the Canadian border. We care deeply committed to our staff well being. For the 2021 season, we are hiring an additional leadership team member to assist with staff time off planning. In addition, we have assembled a staff committee to make sure that staff needs and mental health are a top priority. 

We Are Hiring: Cabin Counselors who teach activities, Activity Specialists who run activities and may live in or out, Trip Leaders for trip program and T-Bird Expeditions, Leadership Team to work closely with staff and campers and help with the daily runnings of camp and last but definitely not least, Support Staff: Cooks, Assistant Cooks, Kitchen Assistants, Nurses, Office Staff and Maintenance.  

Staff Dates: June 8-August 12. We are likely only able to consider full season contracts to keep our community health a focus. Interested in applying? An optional week of work on either end of the contract are available. Click the Apply button below. 

The Employee Experience

If you're ready to make connections with other college age+ staff and have the summer of your life, then Thunderbird is the community for you. Who knows, maybe you will become one of those people who find work for nine months so they can return to Thunderbird for three!

Ideal Candidate

Think you have what it takes to be a Camp Counselor or Trip Leader at Thunderbird? Our staff members are high-energy, fun, nurturing and compassionate. They care about kids and love to have fun and be silly. A camp job is challenging (think 14 hour days 6 days a week), but our staff are ready to work hard to meet those challenges. They're also great role models; counselors are often like superheroes in their campers' eyes. Most of all, our staff are focused on ensuring that their campers have an amazing, safe and memorable camp experience.

Room and Board

All staff live in comfortable, spacious cabins. Cabin Counselors and Trip Leaders live in cabins with 6-10 campers, but enjoy a separate living space.  All of our cabins have electricity. At Boys Camp, each village has a central washhouse. At Girls Camp, in addition to the village shower house, each cabin has its own bathroom. Staff without cabin responsibilities live in communal buildings in either individual or shared rooms, bathrooms and showers.

Employee Perks

We believe that our staff work hard and therefore should have the time to relax. All staff receive each week: one 7 am-7 am day off, one 5 pm-7 am evening off and one 10 pm-12 am evening out.  In addition, there are opportunities to participate in many of the activities that we offer to campers. And, if you are coming to summer camp and to make meaningful connections with your peers and our campers and fully experience a camp community, we offer all of that as well!  In 2021 we are offering a COVID Vax stipend and will be asking all of our staff to take their time off at camp. We will provide food, private space to hang out, games, equipment, satellite internet and more.  You are our frontline workers and your happiness is critical to our community. Join us!

Getting Here and Getting Around

We offer a shuttle to and from the Minneapolis airport on designated travel days. Or, you are welcome to drive to Bemidji, it is four hours north of Minneapolis.  

Once at camp, we offer shuttles on days and nights off to those staff who need a ride.

For Fun

At Thunderbird, we believe that staff work hard and need to play hard to stay fresh and engaged. We offer other times of the day when staff can take a break and check in with friends and family, go for a run or sit and read a book. In addition, we offer cross-fit classes, yoga, dodge-ball games, game nights, water fights and other super fun ways to hang out with your peers.

How to Apply

A bit more about our dates:

June 1-June 18: Pre-season work available. We also offer Lifeguard, Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder during this time.

June 8-August 12: Camp Season for all

August 13-August 19: Post-season work available. Join us for a week of family camp.  Thunderbird runs like a resort and you work a short day and have a chance to participate in camp activities.


Contact Camp Thunderbird