CIT Programs: Berkeley & Oakland Summer Camps - 510 Families

CIT Programs: Berkeley & Oakland Summer Camps

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 CIT programs, some that start as young as 11 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.

This guide is for Counselor-in-training programs and other leadership opportunities at East Bay summer camps. We thank the following sponsors:

  • One Generation: Jr. CITs, ages 11-14, pay reduced camp fees, and CITs, ages 15-18, are volunteers.
  • Monkey Business Camp: Youth leaders, ages 11-17, receive coaching and practice leadership during their time at camp. Families pay tuition to participate.
  • GrowFit Sports Camp: CITs, ages 13-17, pay $10 per day and earn volunteer hours.
  • FireCracker Math: Counselors-in-training are rising 11th and 12th graders who work as volunteers.
  • Call of the Wild: Free internship for 9th-12th graders (or paid internship for OUSD students).
  • Armada Swim & Adventure Camp offers leadership to ages 13-14 year-olds who are strong swimmers and love adventure. They pay reduced fees.
cit with campers making slime and doing crafts outside
Fun with slime in the great outdoors | Photo: Monkey Business Camp

Find the Right East Bay Camp with CIT Programs (2024)

The following camps have let 510Families.com 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

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Camp Galileo

Camp description

At Camp Galileo, every week is a unique adventure full of engaging STEAM projects, collaborative design challenges and classic camp fun like silly skits and face painting for K-10th graders. Extended care 8am–6pm.

Youth Leadership Program

8th - 10th grade CIT’s experience Galileo in awesome new ways, mentoring younger campers, making camp magic and building lasting innovation and leadership skills.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Pay reduced camp fees of $390 per week
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Monkey Business Camp

Camp description

100% unplugged and outdoors. Kids enjoy nature exploration, arts & crafts, food projects, games, songs and special surprises in Tilden Park! 3-week sessions with same kids and staff, with some 3 day to 2-week options. Campers ages 5.25-10. Youth Leaders 11+.

Youth Leadership Program

Youth leaders, ages 11-17, participate in activities of the day, supporting campers, learning from staff, and participating in weekly coaching meetings. Most of the paid staff were previous YLs.

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

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FireCracker Math Summer Camp

Camp description

Math camp for curious and challenge-loving kids ages 6 to 16. Instructions employ math games, projects, and magic tricks, sparking kids’ interest in math and boosting their skills and confidence. Morning classes are followed by fun activities in the afternoon.

Youth Leadership Program

FireCracker Counselors In Training are rising 11th & 12th graders who love math. They work as volunteers.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Unpaid internship
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

Contact [email protected] for leadership position information.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Contact [email protected] for leadership position information.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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St. Paul's Summer Camp

Camp description

St. Paul's Summer Camp staff has a love and understanding of children, excellent communication skills, buckets of enthusiasm, and serious creativity! Families choose from a variety of classic on-campus activities or engage in day trips by bicycle or using private transportation. CIT roles grade 7+

Youth Leadership Program

C.I.T.s (rising 7-9 students) will develop and practice skills in leadership, critical thinking, communication, conflict resolution, and organization by working directly with lead teachers.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay reduced fees $200 per week
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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UC Berkeley Youth Recreation (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 for ages 4-17. Drop-ins, 1- and 2-week sessions, extended care. Youth leadership opportunities age 13+

Youth Leadership Program

UC Berkeley Youth Recreation offers several experiential leadership opportunities for youth ages 13-17 to develop leadership and work skills while cultivating relationships with counselors & mentors.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Varies depending on age and program
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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GrowFit Sports Camp

Camp description

Experience this fun-filled camp for kids aged 4-12 with 9 daily sports and games, from basketball to bubble soccer in a socially safe environment where traditional and innovative games bring joy. Sign up for your child's opportunity to shine and grow! Youth leadership program begins at age 13.

Youth Leadership Program

CITs (13-17) gain leadership skills, earn volunteer hours, and play sports with kids under a coach's supervision, enhancing their resumes.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay $10 per day.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Call of the Wild Camps

Camp description

Outdoor nature camps where K-5th graders connect with nature, hike, explore, read, write, create nature-inspired art, make friends, and play in Berkeley and Oakland forests. Theme weeks: Enchanted Forest Reading, Enchanted Forest Art, Enchanted Vegan Nature, and Enchanted Forest Writing.

Youth Leadership Program

Free Nature Camp Counselor Internship for 9th-12th graders to have fun teaching kids and develop job skills as future educators.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Free, unpaid internship (except paid internship for OUSD students)
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Kids' Club Summer Camp at Claremont Club & Spa

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 11+

Youth Leadership Program

The Claremont CIT camp is a wonderful opportunity for your child, age 11 to 14, to gain experience in the childcare field while having a blast this summer.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay regular camp fees $750 per week for non-members | $650 for members
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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CAMP 510

Camp description

CAMP 510 is a multi-media art day camp for grades K-8. Fabulous teaching artists strive to cultivate confident & creative young makers. Youth leadership program available for ages 12+

Youth Leadership Program

CAMP 510 Counselors In Training (ages 12-15) build leadership skills through assisting counselors and teachers. Counselors are 16+

Fees and Payment for CIT: CIT training program has a fee but they will receive a stipend for working 3 or more weeks.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Future Star Baseball Summer Camp

Camp description

Future Star Baseball summer camps invite players of all ability level to expert instruction and play lots of fun games. Campers will come home happy and exhausted as they improve baseball skills. Ages 5 to 13.

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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Bliss Belly Kitchen: Yoga of Cooking, Sweets, and Knife Skills Camp

Camp description

Eco-conscious and soul conscious cooking classes utilizing farm fresh ingredients, yoga, and mindfulness. They use healthy locally sourced organic ingredients to teach children to make simple, delicious, and nutritious meals. Campers learn knife skills and culinary fundamentals.

Youth Leadership Program

Age 13 - 16. CITs are expected to serve as a role model in yoga, mindfulness, cooking and cleaning. Email Chef Neelam for specifics [email protected]

Fees and Payment for CIT: Email Chef Neelam
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Camp Doodles

Camp description

Camp Doodles is a project-based, hands-on STEAM camp. The philosophy emphasizes fun in maker and art labs to encourage creativity, coupled with plenty of outdoor time. Spark Program for 1st - 5th graders + Primo Program for PreK - Kindergarten. Youth leadership 6th grade+

Youth Leadership Program

LITs are rising 6th through 10th graders who help the assistant coaches and coaches with younger campers.

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

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One Generation Camp

Camp description

Through world music and dance campers explore world cultures, build community and develop kindness all in the great outdoors! Offering West African Dance and Hand Drumming, Cuban Dance, Body Percussion, Brazilian Capoeira, and hiking for ages 5-12. Jr CIT program starts at age 13.

Youth Leadership Program

Jr CITs (13 - 14) and CITs (15 - 18) support campers during classes and hikes and facilitate free time activities.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Jr CITs pay discounted camp fees of $300 per week, CITs are volunteers.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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ANTS Sports Explorers Camp

Camp description

The ultimate multi-sport camp in the Bay Area for kids ages 5-11. Beginner and more experienced players welcome to explore tennis, soccer, basketball, flag football, dodgeball, floor hockey, capture the flag in a non-competitive, progressive, and FUN environment.

Youth Leadership Program

ANTS Coaches in Training will learn how to coach kids, assist adult coaches, and create fun lessons plans in a structured camp environment.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Unpaid 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. CITs are 14+

Youth Leadership Program

CIT's (14-17) help with drawing and painting materials, demonstrating techniques, help with walking to the park, a small amount of clean-up.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Pay reduced camp fees of $625 per week
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Steve & Kate's Camp

Camp description

Campers choose from a variety of activities including sewing, coding, maker crafts, sports & more! Buy any number of days to use at any time. Unused days are automatically refunded at summer’s end. Est. 1980. Lunch, snacks & all hours (8am–6pm) included.

Youth Leadership Program

Select Camp Locations offer a Mentorship Program for teens who might want to work at camp some day or who just aren’t quite ready to give up that sweet camper life.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay a discounted daily rate. Email your local director for specifics.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Adventures 4 Kidz

Camp description

Adventures 4 Kidz camps are local, operating out of Alameda. They offer kids spring and summer camps with water and land activities, mindfulness, Yoga, nature lessons, games, safety, kayaking, and stand up paddling with nonstop fun and adventure!

Youth Leadership Program

25-day internship includes essential on-water skills and coaching. These experiences give kids an advantage over their peers and a noteworthy addition to their resumes. Not age-based

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs (interns) do not pay camp fees and volunteer their time.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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PERSPECTIVES Youth Photography Summer Camp

Camp description

PERSPECTIVES Programs are 5-day courses where students learn manual settings in a practice-based environment with close 1:1 instruction from a professional photographer, how to create impactful images that tell stories by photographing throughout the Bay Area, and how to edit finished work.

Youth Leadership Program

Counselors in training will be leading activities in photography, they will receive training in how to use a DLSR camera and will travel throughout the Bay Area with the camp!

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay 1/2 price camp fees of ~$300-$375 per week
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Albany Armada Swim and Adventure Camp

Camp description

Armada Swim & Adventure Camp is open to 6-12 year olds who love swimming and the outdoors. Also suitable for competitive swimmers who are seeking additional development on stroke techniques and training. Fridays include fun outings. CITs age 13-14.

Youth Leadership Program

Counselor-in-training opportunities (age 13-14) with reduced camp fees as well as paid counselor positions. All CITs and counselors must attend training sessions and orientation.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay camp fees of $150 per week
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

ad for jumpin gymsters camp

Jumpin' Gymsters Jumpin' to Summer

Camp description

Jumpin' to Summer! Campers take control of their day independently choosing their next move whether they are climbing rock walls, playing soccer, reading a book on a blanket or playing chess with a friend. Paid youth leadership begins at age 13.

Youth Leadership Program

Assistant coach program is for experienced Jumpin' Gymster campers who are ages 13 to 15.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Assistant coaches receive $100 stipend plus training
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Sees the Day Summer Program -- A Classroom without Walls

Camp description

Sees the Day is committed to helping children develop respect and appreciation for each other and the natural world. Activities include guest educators, storytelling, improv, music, imaginative play, cooperative games, beading, fairy house/fort building, gratitude circles, and classic summertime fun!

Youth Leadership Program

Ages 12-16. Sees the Day provides an opportunity for teens to acquire fundamental leadership skills through direct hands-on experience. Counselors assist with every aspect of the daily program.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CIT's pay modified camp fees: $400 per week (age 12) or $300 per week (age 13-16)
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Berkwood Hedge School Hill Campus Summer Camp

Camp description

Theme weeks range from theater, writing, art, Minecraft, and sports. Campers experience a mix of physical activity and creative expression daily while being immersed in their chosen interest - learning new skills and forming lasting connections. Need not be a Berkwood Hedge student to attend.

Youth Leadership Program

The Leader in Training (LIT) Program will give kids, grades 9-11, an opportunity to develop communication, decision making, management and leadership skills.

Fees and Payment for CIT: LITs will pay reduced cost camp fees of $450 per week
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Sticky Art Lab

Camp description

An exciting array of art-based maker camps with different themes and lead artists each week including clay, fantasy play, mixed media sculptures, painting, printmaking, sewing, and woodworking. Camp offers a balance of structured teaching and free-build exploration with a focus on reuse. Youth leaders age 14+

Youth Leadership Program

Sticky Art Lab CIT (14+) will demonstrate that they are responsible, reliable, creative, compassionate, and will cultivate good leadership skills while crafting with campers.

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

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Skate Like a Girl: All Gender Skateboard Camps

Camp description

These camps are designed for ages 5-13, all genders & skill levels welcome. Youth progress their skateboarding through discussion & practice of life themes such as self-confidence, humility, and the power of determination. Kids make friends, have fun, and learn new things.

Youth Leadership Program

The Y.E.S. Program gives teens the opportunity to gain professional skills through skateboarding and make a positive impact in their community.

Fees and Payment for CIT: It's FREE and they get volunteer hours or can apply to work our camps.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Girls Summer Camp by Julia Morgan School (JMSG)

Camp description

Experience the magic & confidence-building culture of an all-girls environment. Weekly themes include art + STEAM (4th-6th graders), middle school soccer, basketball, and volleyball. Youth leadership opportunities for high school students. Note: 6th grade camps are intended for rising JMSG students.

Youth Leadership Program

JMSG students and alums volunteer to be teaching assistants in the summer.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Leadership positions are voluntary
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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KIDS for the BAY Summer Camp

Camp description

Let’s get outside! Join KIDS for the BAY for a fun-filled summer of hands-on science and nature exploration in the outdoors. Campers investigate unique ecosystems, make discoveries at creek, bay and ocean habitats, and become an inspired Environmentalist! CIT opportunities, grade 6+

Youth Leadership Program

A leadership opportunity for middle and high-schoolers to engage with children and nature, and gain experience in teaching best practices in environmental education.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs are unpaid and attend camp for free
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, the 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. There is an in-person youth job fair on Saturday, February 24, and a virtual job fair on Saturday, March 2.
More details >

Teen Volunteer Match (throughout Alameda County)

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

Hidden Genius Project (Oakland, Richmond)

The Hidden Genius Project is encouraging Black male youth entering 9th – 11th grade to apply to a 7-week summer program leading into a 15-month holistic mentorship experience that provides computer science, software development, entrepreneurship, and leadership training in the Bay Area and locations around the country. Apply before Feb. 16 for this free program >

Youth Umpire for NOLL/SOLL (Oakland)

Oakland’s Little League offers the opportunity for new umpires, ages 12 to 17, 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.

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

Thanks again to Call of the Wild, GrowFit Sports Camp, FireCracker Math, Monkey Business Camp, and One Generation for sponsoring 510Families.com.

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