CIT Programs: Berkeley & Oakland Summer Camps - 510 Families

CIT Programs: Berkeley & Oakland Summer Camps

This guide is for CIT programs and other leadership opportunities at East Bay summer camps. We thank One Generation, UC Berkeley Recreation Camps, Little Theater Company, and Monkey Business Camp for sponsoring it.

My kids have envisioned themselves being future counselors at every camp they’ve attended. But how do they get there? Many summer camps have Junior Counselor or Counselor-In-Training programs, some that start as young as 10 years old, through which kids get a chance to get a little more behind the scenes, learn some leadership skills, and prepare for future employment opportunities. The details of CIT programs range greatly: some campers earn the title just by signing up and paying fees, while some require an application process.

  • One Generation — Jr. CITs, ages 11-14, pay reduced camp fees, and CITs, ages 15-18, are volunteers.
  • UC Berkeley Recreation Camps (formerly Cal Youth Camps) — Teen leadership program spans ages 13 to 18. 13-14-year-olds pay reduced camp fees; 15-17-year-olds are volunteers; 16-18-year-olds are paid wages.
  • Little Theater Company — Jr Counselor Camp is for kids Ages 13-15 and involves CPR training week for a fee. The camp experience week is a volunteer experience.
  • Monkey Business Camp — Youth leaders, ages 11-17, receive coaching and practice leadership during their time at camp. Families pay tuition to participate.

Find the Right East Bay Camp with CIT Programs (2023)

The following camps have let know that they have a youth leadership or CIT program. Find details such as age and application process on their websites. These other camps let middle school kids be campers >

Find the Best East Bay Summer Camps with Youth Leadership Programs

monkey bus 2023

Monkey Business Camp

Camp description

Classic day camp, 100% unplugged and outdoors. Join the 25th summer full of nature exploration, arts & crafts, field games, songs, hikes, board games, storytelling, food projects, and community building. 3-week sessions help build connections between staff, campers, and the land in Tilden Park.

Youth Leadership Program

Youth leaders, 11+, bring a caring, playful vibe to assist staff in creating a fun, magical, and memorable experience. Most of the current staff were former youth leaders.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Based on 3-week sessions, CITs pay camper fees on a sliding scale $1908-$2388 | Junior Counselors pay reduced fees $308-$748
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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UC Berkeley Youth Recreation (formerly Cal Youth Camps)

Camp description

UC Berkeley Youth Recreation offers a wide variety of award-winning summer camps, sports and outdoor activities, including swimming, sailing, windsurfing, skateboarding, gymnastics, martial arts, rock climbing, and more for ages 4-17. Drop-ins, 1- and 2-week sessions, extended care.

Youth Leadership Program

UC Berkeley Youth Recreation offers leadership opportunities for junior high and high school youth. The experiential leadership programs bridge junior and high schoolers from camper to leader.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CILT pays camp fees; CIT is volunteer position; JC is paid position
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Mr. D's Music Club

Camp description

Mr. D's Music Club's multi-award-winning summer camps offer high-energy days of singing, dancing, acting, art, fun, and friends. Camp includes picnic lunches, games, talent shows, pizza lunch, and a Friday performance for friends & family. Discover one of Oakland’s "best-kept secrets."

Youth Leadership Program

Leader-In-Training (LIT) program is designed for 14-15-year-olds to have a work-like experience while developing leadership skills, assisting Teaching Artists, and participating in camp activities.

Fees and Payment for CIT: LITs pay camp fees. Discounts for multiple weeks.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Little Theater Company

Camp description

Over 2 weeks campers will audition, memorize lines, learn choreography, create backdrops, imagine costumes, and rehearse. Campers work together to put on a 1-hour show with traditional camp activities and playtime in between. The atmosphere is encouraging and joyful.

Youth Leadership Program

Jr Counselors (age 13+) will become CPR and first aid certified as well as learn how to manage groups of children, conflict resolution management, games, songs, health and safety.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay reduced camp fees $675 per week
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Future Star Baseball Summer Camp

Camp description

Future Star Baseball summer camps are celebrating its 20th summer camp season! Players of all ability level will receive expert instruction and play lots of fun games. Campers will come home happy and exhausted as they improve baseball skills.

Youth Leadership Program

CIT's work as counselors and are trained in how to work best with kids of different abilities. About half of CIT's end up earning paid positions with FSB in the future.

Fees and Payment for CIT: no cost to being CIT.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Jumpin' Gymsters Jumpin' to Summer Camp

Camp description

Sports - Parkour Courses - Bumper Balls - Legos - Scavenger Hunts - Games - Arts n’ Crafts - Science, Monster Trucks - and Music.

Youth Leadership Program

Jr. Coaches, ages 9-12, assist with activities & creating obstacle courses. Assistant Coaches, ages 13-15, work directly with staff to implement & lead daily activities.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Junior Coaches (9-12yrs) pay $295 per week or $545 for 2 weeks | Assistant Coaches (13-15yrs) get $100 per week stipend
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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One Generation Camp

Camp description

An outdoor music and dance camp for ages 5-10, and a CIT program for ages 11-18: West African Dance and Hand Drumming, Cuban Dance, Body Percussion, Brazilian Capoeira, and hiking. Kindness, community, and culture through music and dance.

Youth Leadership Program

CIT’s learn how to navigate groups and behaviors, and earn leadership skills. Training is ongoing throughout the program.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Jr. CIT's (ages 11-14) pay $300/week, CIT's (ages 15+) are volunteers
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Bay Club Kids Camps

Camp description

Kids of all ages and interests can find their fit at Bay Club Kids Camps, from little explorers for kids as young as 3 to multi-sport and activity or single sports camps for ages up to 17. Availability and timing of camps vary by location.

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St. Paul's Episcopal School Summer Camp

Camp description

Choose from a variety of classic on-campus camps (academic, arts, sports) or engage in active day trips on foot, by bicycle, or using private and public transportation. Sports in 5,000 ft² gymnasium. Games and activities on four outdoor play areas including Lakeside Park and the Lawn Bowling Club.

Youth Leadership Program

C.I.T.s develop skills in leadership, critical thinking, communication, conflict resolution, and organization by working with camp teachers.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay $200 per week C.I.T. fee
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Crafty Makers Camp/Camp 510

Camp description

Crafty Makers Camp/Camp 510 is a local artist-run day camp. Campers learn new art techniques through multimedia projects, including performative art. Unique projects are carefully chosen for each week of camp and are scaled to be developmentally appropriate for each age group.

Youth Leadership Program

C.I.T.s main roles are connecting with and helping the kids in any and all areas in which they need support (making art, making friends, transitioning, etc.). Plus, they gain work experience!

Fees and Payment for CIT: C.I.T.s pay camp fees
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Aurora School Summer Camp

Camp description

Choose from Creators & Explorers, a general camp that includes woodshop, science, creative writing, coding, crafts, and sports; Theater Arts Camp performing Suessical the Musical; and LEGO and Engineering with TechKnowHow. Camps fill up fast, if a session is full register for the waitlist.

Youth Leadership Program

CITs are for campers entering 7th - 10th grade, and assist in all aspects of the Aurora run camps (Creators & Explorers and Theater Arts Camp

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay camp fees.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Claremont Kids' Club Summer Camp

Camp description

Adventure Day Campers will return home happy and fulfilled from a day full of creativity, excitement, and discovery. A day in camp will consist of arts & crafts, swimming in the Claremont pools, field games, and recreational activities.

Youth Leadership Program

The CIT objective is to develop confident young individuals through leadership exercises, positive communication skills, and peer-to-peer relationships. Ages 11-14.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay regular camp fees
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Camp Doodles

Camp description

Campers age 3-12 grow their creative intelligence through making and art with engaging weekly themes incorporating science and engineering activities. There is something to inspire every child including building, woodworking, 3D art, sculpting, cooking, sports & games.

Youth Leadership Program

LITs assist with general camp operations, guide younger campers through projects, and work on their own projects.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Pay camp fees
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Berkeley Day Camp

Camp description

This traditional outdoor day camp is held at the Berkeley marina. Campers explore shoreline habitats, canoe, make arts and crafts, and play at the acclaimed Adventure Playground with some day trips. Many former campers are now part of the awesome staff.

Youth Leadership Program

The Berkeley Day Camp Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program combines the fun of Berkeley Day Camp with building practical skills and confidence to help teens grow and prepare for their road ahead.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay camp fees. Resident: $217 / Non-Resident: $260
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Adventures 4 Kidz SUP Camp

Camp description

Stand-up paddleboard camp includes nature lessons, games, safety, and paddling. Campers foster new friendships, build a thoughtful connection to nature, and feel empowered to live an active lifestyle through outdoor aquatic sports. No prior experience is required.

Youth Leadership Program

Adventures 4 Kidz & Mike’s Paddle offer a 25-day Teen Internship Program for selected graduates of the 4-day Leadership Training. Ages 12-16 are eligible.

Fees and Payment for CIT: $599 fee for Leadership Training course. Camp season itself is an unpaid 25-day internship
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Dancing Paintbrush Studio

Camp description

An award-winning art camp, Dancing Paintbrush demonstrates a variety of techniques and hosts special guests to nurture artistic development; provides lessons to spark the creative process; and encourages individual exploration of personal interests, working together, and sharing ideas.

Youth Leadership Program

14 to 17 yr old campers are automatically enrolled in the Counselor-in-Training program. CIT leadership is helping younger students, passing out materials, and washing brushes, rollers and trays.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay $700/week 8:30-4:30pm; or $575 for 9am to 3pm
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Sticky Art Lab

Camp description

Find an exciting array of art-based maker camps with different themes and lead artists each week. With a focus on reuse, each day offers a balance of structured teaching and free-build for creative exploration. Themes include Clay, Sewing, Mixed Media Sculptures, Woodworking, and Animation.

Youth Leadership Program

Sticky Art Lab CIT will demonstrate creativity, compassion, collaboration, and will cultivate good leadership skills while crafting with our campers.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs do not pay fees
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Ad Foris Outdoor Summer Camp by TeeterPal

Camp description

As Foris means "to nature". Each day is packed with nature hikes, group activities, and engaging hands-on projects so kids can detach from technology and urban life. Both Day Camp (age 5-12) & Overnight Camp (9-15) are available.

Youth Leadership Program

Outdoor Camp counselors demonstrate the ability to organize group activities, communicate with parents, and keep kids safe. They will develop leadership skills under the supervision of instructors.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Volunteer position
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

Other cool summer programs for teens & pre-teens in the East Bay

Echo Lake Camp and Tuolomne Family Camp CIT Program

For kids entering 10th-12th grade who are comfortable being away from home, City of Berkeley hosts a training program at these residential camps, where teens will be either at a Family Camp as staffers or an overnight camp for kids. More details >

East Bay Regional Park District Youth & Student Employment

Older teens may find a fit working outdoors for EBRPD.
More details >

Community Reading Buddies (Oakland)

For teens who want to do service work over the summer, Aspire Education project has created Community Reading Buddies through which Middle and High School students will work with Pre-K-3rd grade reading buddies in school settings around Oakland. The goal is literacy intervention and the teens will be trained on a reading curriculum. Learn more >

Teen Volunteer Match (throughout Alameda County)

This website lists volunteer opportunities such as assembling lunches for homeless people, walking dogs at the SPCA, and office work. Visit Volunteer Match >

Urban Adamah (Berkeley)

Counselors in Training will work on leadership skills in an environment that focuses on team-building in concert with nature. The urban farm setting offers additional skill-building in homesteading and survival skills. Learn more >

Youth Umpire for NOLL/SOLL (Oakland)

Oakland’s Little League offers the opportunity for new umpires to register and get trained. Learn more >

Program for El Cerrito Youth Baseball

For kids 12 and up who would love to be out on the field, El Cerrito Youth Baseball has an umpire training program that will help young teens get their first job and reference source. Learn more >

Please share other great ideas for teens and tweens in the comments.

camper children and CIT named Grace are under a giant colorful parachute
CIT playing under the parachute with campers | Photo: Monkey Business Camp

Some summer camps are designed with older, teen campers in mind. Search by age & interest on our summer camp guide >

Thanks again to One Generation, UC Berkeley Recreation Camps, Little Theater Company, and Monkey Business Camp for sponsoring

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