*2024 Requirements and Application will Updated Soon for 2024


*This year we have changed the criteria for who can apply to be a volunteer. Now, volunteers who are entering 9th grade, 10th grade, and 11th grade (up to 16 years old) can apply. Before volunteers were determined by ages, instead of grades. Before, volunteers could start at the age of 14.5 (during camp months) and they needed have spent at least one Summer away from camp. We are aware that some campers might not fit our current criteria because of the change. Please contact, Amy Harris-Ambrosio at campersupport@campriverlea.com, if this is the case, and we can discuss what is the best camp fit for the youth.

At Riverlea, our volunteers are called “Orcs”. They are responsible for safely escorting campers to their activities, assisting counselors in departments, supervising campers on the playground, and fulfilling duties such as cleaning and setting up for juice break. Orcs are a vital part of Riverlea and many become counselors at camp. We encourage young people entering the 9th grade and older who are interested in building and sharpening their leadership skills, working with younger children, and learning about what it takes to be a counselor to apply. Campers must spend at least one summer away from Riverlea after their final year as a camper before returning as an Orc. This time away from camp enables Orcs to develop some maturational separation from the camper community, as well as to reflect on and consider their past and future roles at Riverlea.

Orcs may choose to volunteer for 1, 2, or 3 sessions, and all are required to complete a few hours of online training and attend an in-person orientation session on Sunday, June 4th. First-time orcs will attend from 9am-3pm, and returning orcs will attend from 1pm-5pm

Online training will be during the weeks leading up to the orientation date and/or the session(s) for which the young person will volunteer. On Orc orientation day, Orcs will learn about their responsibilities, including group management, Camp Riverlea policies and procedures, age group characteristics, and fun activities to do with campers. Complete details about online training will be provided later this Spring, with plenty of time for volunteers to work at their own pace.

HOW TO APPLY: Prospective Orcs must fill out the camper application with a parent and select one or more of the Orc session options. In addition, Orc applicants must also submit the “Supplemental Orc Application”, which can be accessed after we enroll the Orc applicant in our computer system. To find it, log in to CampInTouch, and click the yellow “Forms and Documents” icon (this is where all other necessary forms are: health history, transportation, etc.). Once the supplemental application is submitted, the volunteer is officially enrolled for the applied sessions.

What skills will I learn as an Orc? MANY. The fast-paced, supportive, and positive culture makes Riverlea makes an excellent place to learn and practice new skills like..

  • Leadership and responsibility (be responsible to and for others; guiding, leading, inspiring, and supporting others; leverage strengths to achieve a common goal)
  • Flexibility and adaptability (adapt to ever-changing priorities; incorporate feedback effectively and adjust to what you learn)
  • Initiative (set, balance, and manage personal short- and long-term goals; use time effectively; self-motivate and work independently)
  • Self-directed learning (demonstrate initiative to advance learning and skill development; commit to life-long learning; reflect critically on past experiences to inform future progress)
  • Creativity and innovation (think and work creatively with others; implement new ideas)
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving (reasoning; systems thinking; making judgments and decisions; quickly understanding and integrating what you see/hear; support others and ask for help when needed)
  • Communication and collaboration (clear communication with young children, peers, counselors, and supervisors; working collaboratively on diverse teams; presenting your own and understanding others’ ideas)
  • Social and cross-cultural skills (be professional; understand when to listen and when to speak; be open-minded to diverse ideas and opinions; leverage differences to create better, more creative and inclusive solutions)
  • Productivity and accountability (prioritize, plan, and manage work and priorities; work and participate actively, positively, and ethically; be accountable)
  • Information literacy (seek out, access, evaluate, use, and manage information; critically evaluate similarities and differences to understand outcomes and solutions with different campers and/or in different contexts)

If I volunteer as an Orc, am I guaranteed to be a counselor?  No. Participation in the Orc program does not guarantee you a spot as a counselor. Nor do we expect all orcs will want to be on staff; we know everyone has diverse interests and responsibilities outside of Camp. Working hard to improve your leadership skills, reflecting on and implementing what you learn, working well with others at camp, and always contributing to a positive camp culture are some of the things that will increase your chances of becoming a counselor. While preference is not given to Orcs who work the most sessions, those who do work more sessions have more opportunities to practice and improve their skills and to demonstrate their performance and learning to counselors and supervisors. Of course, leadership skills can and should be practiced elsewhere, and demonstrating your learning year-to-year is perhaps one of the best ways to increase your chances of becoming a counselor.

Please contact our Program Director with questions about the Orc program at programdirector@campriverlea.com.

A camp tradition for Durham area children

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