Our latest on COVID-19 is available here

Summer staff

What are you doing this summer?

Join the Primitive Pursuits Summer Staff for a summer of outdoor fun and adventure!

We have concluded our hiring for the Summer 2020 season.
Thank you to all who applied!

Looking to spend your summer connecting with youth in the outdoors!

Do you have a deep connection with the natural world that you want to share with youth?

Do you love practicing primitive skills and playing epic games?

Do you thrive working on teams in the outdoors?

Primitive Pursuits is the place for you!


We are looking for people who:

  • Are excited to spend entire days immersed in the fields, forests and waterways of undeveloped nature in the Finger Lakes Region
  • Explore their own personal connection with nature so they can share stories, experiences, learning and inquiries with others
  • Live to connect with children and enjoy the company of youth of all ages
  • Are inspired by our radical approach to education which fosters meaningful connection to the outdoors through nature awareness, gratitude, primitive skills, curiosity, community and the mystery of the natural world.
  • Thrive working on collaborative teams to create meaningful and memorable experiences
  • Find gathering resources, crafting tools, navigating the landscape, mastering primitive skills and surviving limitless challenges an idea of a good time and time well spent!
  • Promote inclusive and welcoming environments that value diversity of staff and participants.
  • Value and practice self-awareness, professionalism and positive communication skills as a means to improve yourself as an individual, team member and citizen of the world.
  • Have a good sense of humor, be creative and flexible, and have a deep love for learning
  • Believe that connecting kids to the natural world in meaningful ways is a big part in improving the health of our planet for future generations.
  • Role-model engaged, compassionate, inspired, curious learners
  • Ask questions!

Summer Staff FAQ

Check out our Summer Camp Catalog page to see what exciting outdoor adventures we have planned!


Field Staff:

Administrative Staff:

Employment Application | Internship Application

Have questions for us? Continue reading below or fill out our interest form for more.

Summer Staff Interest Form

What staff are saying....

"I feel so supported by this community and continue to be impressed by the deep level of communication, mentorship and teamwork that exists at Primitive Pursuits." - Summer Field Staff

"For me, It's a tie between two things; being surrounded by forest nerds and the culture of growth and attitude of support for and within the staff" - Summer Field Staff

"The sentiment of "meeting everyone where they are at" has left me with a life long lesson to practice. My heart beams with gratitude for the empowerment, empathy and support I felt from my time at Primitive Pursuits. This experience allowed me to grow as a leader, teammate and individual." - Summer Camp Coordinator

“Working with Primitive Pursuits has taught me invaluable life skills. It combines learning, mentoring, exploration, daring, creativity, intuition, and practicality for an enriching experience, with the natural world as the classroom!” – Summer Field Instructor

Why live in Ithaca?

Ithaca is a very special place to spend your summer. See our 'Why Ithaca' page to learn more about our beautiful town, located on Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes of Upstate New York.

Primitive Pursuits, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension, is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and is an affirmative action employer. At Primitive Pursuits, we don’t just accept difference — we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment for the benefit of our employees, our programs, and our community.

Continue reading below for more information about Field Staff and Internship positions available this summer...

"This weekend made me fully realize that Primitive Pursuits is connecting me with the knowledge that I have been wishing to obtain in order to further my career and skill set. It is great to realize I don't need to travel far to gain this amazing knowledge." Z.K., Workshop Participant

Positions Currently Available for This Summer Include

Wilderness Instructor

Wilderness Field Instructors facilitate the core aim of Primitive Pursuits; bringing groups of youth into natural areas, away from facilities and without modern gear, and engaging them in a self-directed inquiry into basic, personal and group survival needs. Her/his key role in this task will be to assist and instruct youth on survival skills in the wild including but not limited to: primitive technology, fire making, shelter construction and procurement of food and water. Field instructors also mentor youth in naturalist skills and knowledge, promote stewardship and build healthful relationships in the outdoor environment.

With the help of instructors, youth aged
6-14 spend their entire days immersed in the fields, forests and waterways of undeveloped nature – gathering resources, crafting tools, navigating the landscape, mastering fire skills and surviving limitless challenges together.

We are looking for:

• Day Camp Youth Wilderness Instructors
• Overnight Camp Teen Wilderness Instructors
• Growing Wild (Ages 3-5) Instructors

Employment Application

Administrative Internship

Join our team at Primitive Pursuits to contribute to our national effort to develop social change and nature awareness. We offer cutting edge internships where you will test your knowledge and build your skills. You’ll receive support and guidance from a team of entrepreneurial minded program leaders dedicated to building financially successful models of lasting social change. Expect a great deal of learning opportunities and a friendly, innovative work environment.

Available Internships include:

  • Marketing Strategist
  • Photographer/Videographer
  • Non-Profit Administration

Interested applicants must have the ability to collaborate effectively with others, keep effective records, and demonstrate commitment to your own professional growth.

Internship Application

Field Internships Position

Our Field Interns combine wilderness survival skills and bioregional knowledge with the most effective tools of mentoring and professional development.

As part of a committed group that challenges, creates and leads together you will have many opportunities for personal growth and valuable workforce training. Interns act as assistant instructors for our summer camps and receive training in our unique approach to mentoring youth in nature, which focuses on curiosity, play and asking questions as much or more than delivery of facts.

Wilderness Instructor Apprenticeships

We have several summer Wilderness Instructor Apprenticeships available. Some of the benefits of being an Apprentice include:

  • Rustic accommodations
  • Weekly travel stipend
  • Full week of top-notch on-site training
  • Share in local CSA

Internship Application

Need a trail guide?

We’re happy to help you navigate. Give us a call at the office (607) 272-2292 ext. 195 or use the link below

Get In Touch

Don't miss a beat, add yourself to our list to get all the latest details.