CIT Programs: Berkeley & Oakland Summer Camps - 510 Families

CIT Programs: Berkeley & Oakland Summer Camps

Thanks to Monkey Business Camp for sponsoring this guide to CIT programs and other leadership opportunities at East Bay 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 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, to learn some leadership skills, and to 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.

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CIT playing wall ball with campers | Photo: Monkey Business Camp

Youth Leaders program at Monkey Business

Monkey Business Camp (Berkeley)

Youth Leaders at Monkey Business bring caring, playful, and energetic vibes to co-create and assist in making magic that makes each camp unforgettable for the campers, other youth leaders, and staff team. This is a training program that provides practical experience for youth who want to take on more leadership, ideal for those who genuinely enjoy playing with younger kids, have stellar socio-emotional skills and regulation, bring a lot of kindness, and love the camp environment and the outdoors. Youth Leaders are assigned to a group of two experienced staff and one or two other youth leaders.

For Summer 2021, the camp will be following Covid-19 prevention protocols, with mask-wearing, extra handwashing, physical distancing, remaining outdoors, and being in smaller groups that stay stable for three weeks. Many current staff members were youth leaders at one time. The Monkey Business youth leadership program starts with CITs at ages 11 – 13, the JC program begins at age 14. Learn more >

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Youth Leader and campers on a scavenger hunt together (pre-covid) | Photo: Monkey Business Camp

More East Bay camps with CIT programs

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.

Find the Best East Bay Summer Camps with Youth Leadership Programs

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Monkey Business Camp

Camp description

Offering three 3-week sessions of unplugged time with art, group games, nature connection, and special surprises. Small, stable groups of campers with dedicated youth leaders and staff. Serving families 21 years, including in-person camps this past year.

Youth Leadership Program

Youth Leaders bring a caring, playful, energetic vibe, co-creating the magic and fun that makes each camp unforgettable for the campers, other youth leaders and staff, learning skills along the way.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay same rate as campers; JCs pay reduced rate.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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FireCracker Math Summer Camp

Camp description

Firecracker Math In-person Day Camps are for curious and challenge-loving kids ages 6 - 16. Camps combines half-day math instruction followed by optional fun activities in the afternoon. Hybrid live-online Summer Math Boost Program also available.

Youth Leadership Program

Firecracker Math Summer Camp is looking for energetic and enthusiastic counselors to lead campers through their daily programs. Create a Fun Camp! Support teachers and work with other team members.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs do not get paid. They do not pay camp fees.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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St. Paul's Summer Camp

Camp description

St. Paul's Summer Camp is a traditional day camp running three 3-week cohorts. Experienced, enthusiastic teachers & counselors love working with children. Specialized themes include art, math, basketball, cycling. Offering optional lunches and extended care.

Youth Leadership Program

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

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay reduced camp fees $525 per 3-week session
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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One Generation Camp

Camp description

One Generation Camp is an outdoor music and dance camp in Tilden Park featuring West African hand drumming and dance, Brazilian Capoeira, Cuban dance, body percussion, and exploration in nature. One Generation focuses on teaching kindness, community, and culture through the arts.

Youth Leadership Program

The ideal CIT has a desire to learn, to play, and to be a great example to our younger children. CIT program is extremely limited so apply early! Please contact us directly about interest.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Same as campers: $475/week ($950 for two-week session) | Earlybird pricing saves $50/week before March 15
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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CAMP 510

Camp description

CAMP 510 is a values-driven summer day-camp with the mission to cultivate confident and creative young makers. CAMPers learn cooking, welding, sewing, art, music, and more in the spirit D-I-T (do it together); guided through unique projects by professional artists and makers. Ages 6-14.

Youth Leadership Program

Counselors and CITs are the bridge between campers and teaching artists and make camp a terrific experience, all while developing skills and work experience and discovering new interests.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Counselors get paid, CIT's pay a camp fee
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Go Girls! Oakland

Camp description

Go Girls! is for girls and gender-expansive youth to make art & media, to perform theater & music - all while practicing the Go Girls! Culture Code, our highly effective social-emotional skills framework designed to help girls become their boldest, bravest selves.

Youth Leadership Program

Go Girls! Changemakers learn to EDUCATE, INSPIRE, & ACTIVATE girls to take center stage, as they learn advocacy and allyship for others in their family and community.

Fees and Payment for CIT: Changemakers pay $859 per 2-week session
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Mr. D's Music Club Summer Camps

Camp description

Mr. D's Music Club multi-award-winning, in-person summer camps offer hi-energy, super fun, "hip and cool" weekly day camps for the 2021 season. Singing, Dancing, Acting & Art. Picnics in the park, Pizza day, games, and more. For kids of all abilities. Ages 8-12. 75% outdoors.

Youth Leadership Program

Kids must have attended 2 or more Mr. D's summer programs. Must be high school Freshman or above.

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

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Camp Gan Israel

Camp description

Outdoors at Oakland Hebrew Day School, June 21-July 16, Gan Izzy gives children from diverse Jewish backgrounds pride in their heritage and love for the outdoors with field trips, fishing, swimming, gardening, crafts, sports, science, challah baking, and overnights. Multiple East Bay bus pickups available.

Youth Leadership Program

The Counselor-In-Training program gives campers the opportunity to enjoy the fun of camp while honing their leadership skills.

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

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Discovery Camp at Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito

Camp description

Discovery Camp at Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) is summer as it should be. Campers are invited back this summer to have a blast with robust programming that provides the perfect blend of BADM's exhibits and the surrounding National Park, Fort Baker.

Youth Leadership Program

The perfect opportunity for BADM's oldest campers, as a Junior Counselor, 5th - 9th-grade children will step into the role of leader as they support and assist their lead teacher.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CITs pay $675 for 3 Weeks
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Cooking Round the World

Camp description

Your child can become a mini-chef, have a blast cooking & discovering, and be safe all at the same time! Cooking Round the World offers weekly camp fun in Oakland, Lafayette, San Leandro, Albany, and other cities through Parks & Recreations depts: Walnut Creek, Concord, Danville, El Cerrito.

Youth Leadership Program

Open to high school juniors & seniors who have worked with kids, can follow recipes, & act responsibly. Work permit needed. Send contact info:

Fees and Payment for CIT: Youth leaders get paid
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Camp Urban Adamah

Camp description

Urban Adamah campers play, plant, sing, work, and get to know life on an urban farm with dirty hands and bellies full of fresh organic produce. Kids explore community, teamwork, and interconnectedness while integrating Jewish traditions. Sprouts: ages 3-5 | Roots: grades 1-5.

Youth Leadership Program

CIT’s are invited to join as part of a 3-week long cohort with our summer camp. CIT’s will spend their day mentoring and playing with campers in their kvutzah (small group).

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

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Cal Youth Camps

Camp description

Cal Youth Camps offers a variety of in-person camps and sport/outdoor activities, including swimming, soccer, skateboarding, rock climbing, gymnastics, martial arts, STEAM, sailing, and more for kids ages 4-17. 1- and 2-week sessions available on the UC Berkeley campus. No price increases for 2021 and payment plans available.

Youth Leadership Program

There are several different ways for tweens and teens to practice their different leadership skills beginning with students entering ninth grade.

Fees and Payment for CIT: CILT pay reduced fees; CIT position is unpaid and no cost; JC position is paid
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

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Camp Elmwood

Camp description

Under the Redwoods, you'll find a place of peace and acceptance, where they value the abilities and interests of each camper. All are welcome. This community service program emphasizes creativity, values, and concern for the environment and others, since 1993.

Youth Leadership Program

TLC will develop the Camp Elmwood curriculum (games, learning opportunities, and activities) around the camp theme, “Better Together.”

Fees and Payment for CIT: Counselors will receive an honorarium of $50 in appreciation for service, with an official certificate for 60 Community Service hours.
View Camp Website for Camper Leadership info >>

Other programs for teens in the East Bay

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 >

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 >

Berkeley YouthWorks (Berkeley)

For residents of the city of Berkeley, jobs are available in 6-7 week commitments for the summer. Must be 14 years old. Positions will be assigned in City of Berkeley organizations, ranging from childcare centers to the animal shelter or library or city offices.
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. Find one on our summer camp guide >

Kids dance in the field at Monkey Business camp
Campers dance in the fields in Tilden Park with young leaders (pre-covid) | Photo: Monkey Business Camp

Thanks again to Monkey Business Camp for sponsoring

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3 thoughts on “CIT Programs: Berkeley & Oakland Summer Camps”

  1. Are there any free CIT Programs available for teens to help out with this summer? I only saw two programs that didn’t charge for teens to participate in CIT programs.

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Beth, That’s a great question. It really depends on the camps and it is all over the place. I know that Cal Youth Camps has a pretty discounted program for CILTs (younger teens) and a no-cost/volunteer program for CITs (older than 10th grade). FootFire soccer camp CIT program fees are the same as camper fees.

      Both City of Oakland and City of Berkeley have paid teen opportunities to supervise their camps and playground programs.

      I’ve heard good things about junior lifeguard programs, but have no information.

      If your teen has a specific passion (taekwondo, baseball, fencing, crafts, etc.), you could reach out directly to a smaller camp and ask about a free or reduced CIT rate.

      One more idea that has worked (in the pre-covid past) is to ask your old preschool or daycare about sending a helper.

      This was created for summer 2019 but might still be worth a browse:

      Good luck!

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