Job Title

Collaborator / Camp Counselor - Use Power Tools and Make Art at Day Camp


Menlo Park, CA, 94025

Job Description


Artist? Engineer? Carpenter? Whatever the medium, we’re looking for people with a passion for making. You make stuff professionally or for fun - probably both. The urge to create and learn new skills is a driving force in your life. While you know how to do it “the right way” you are open to experimentation and improvise.

You love working on teams and have found sharing your knowledge with others both intuitive and fulfilling. You’ve worked with kids or novice adults on complicated projects and found you have that rare combination of confidence, competence, and patience that lets learners feel safe and inspired.

You get kids and connect with them easily. Around you, they feel heard, seen and loved. You laugh when a nine-year-old makes a joke - not because you're supposed to, but because it's freaking hilarious. You understand that being a powerful mentor and a good friend can often look similar, but you find holding appropriate boundaries intuitive. You're energetic, optimistic and empathic; when morale is waning, you know how to validate feelings and help get kids reinvigorated. Best with little kids? Prefer to work with Teenagers? Middle School you're sweet spot? Let us know in your application. We want to hire a range of age specializations. 

Popularized by our good friends at Tinkering School, the term collaborator gets to the heart of how we approach education. A collaborator is a teammate, not an omniscient leader. They join the kids as equals in all aspects of their project through conception, construction, revision, and presentation. They vulnerably suggest new ideas and humbly admit when they don’t know the answer. Their investment in the project is authentic; they’re stoked when an idea works, frustrated when a technical challenge seems insurmountable, yet convicted to keep moving forward. Collaborators uphold our community values (patience, creativity, curiosity, grit, empathy) by modeling them themselves.  

As leaders, collaborators keep an extra eye on their teammates’ engagement, safety, and learning. They constantly ask how they can make this experience more approachable and empowering for the kids who are struggling and more challenging for the kids who are excelling.


In some ways the job is very clear: Help kids execute on their crazy ideas while keeping everyone emotionally and physically safe. However, there is a lot involved. You'll be leading design sessions, teaching kids how to use tools (if you don't know, we will teach you during training), giving pep talks, holding firm boundaries, solving technical problems and NOT solving technical problems so the kids can feel the frustration and joy of working on hard problems. You'll be wrangling groups to lunch and park time, and holding space for small voices in end-of-day circles. 

There are also some day to day realities. Here are some duties you'll be expected to participate in:

On-going expectations:

  • Co-develop curriculum and pick the summer's projects with the rest of staff (we co-design summer to make sure everyone has a project they are stoked about)

  • Attend up to two weekly meetings to discuss improving camp and meeting kids' needs

  • Consult with other staff on the trickier parts of their projects

Participate in daily camp operations: 

  • Build large-scale, sophisticated projects with kids utilizing power tools

  • Facilitate group discussions and brainstorms

  • Identify teachable-moments and deliver mini-lessons

  • Play games outside

  • Set up and clean up camp each day and facilitate transitions

Maintain an emotionally and physically safe environment:

  • Uphold Project Ember’s tool use safety policies (to be covered in training)

  • Model and teach inclusivity

  • Facilitate meaningful collaboration and mediate conflict among campers

  • Bandage scrapped knees, have heart-to-hearts and celebrate vulnerability


  • You have started and completed a project of your own volition

  • You have experience working with children as a teacher, camp counselor, or mentor (informal experience welcome).

  • You are an excellent communicator.

  • You are swift to adapt to changing situations and have tolerance for uncertainty.

  • You are committed to safety and high-quality program delivery.

  • You can pass a criminal background check.

  • You are first aid certified (you can get certification after hiring and before camp starts)


  • Carpentry

  • Welding

  • The ability to understand and make oneself understood with Spanish speaking families

Thank you for applying to join our day camp staff this year. If you are interested, we are also hiring for overnight camp positions at the end of summer. If you are interested, please let us know in your application. At overnight camp housing and food are provided. The overnight camp schedule is also below for your reference.

Day Camp Collaborator

  • Where: Synapse School, Menlo Park, CA

  • Dates: June 4th - July 11th

  • Camp Sessions: June 11th - July 6th

  • Training Week: June 4th - 8th

  • Clean up and Debrief: July 9th - 11th

  • Full Time (40 hours/week)

  • Compensation: $16/hr - $21/hr depending on experience. paid bi-weekly, including training and clean-up weeks


Project Ember

Company Overview

Project Ember is a Bay Area based Overnight Camp and Day Camp dedicated to curiosity, grit and the creative practice.  At camp, kids use power tools and construction grade materials to build imaginative projects while collaborators make an amazing camp.  Learn more at