Merrowvista Jobs

Four Trails Leader

Four Trails Leaders (summer camp counselors) are seasonal youth development professionals who co-lead a cabin group of 10 to 12 campers during backpacking and/or canoeing trips off-site and on Merrowvista property. Trips may be 2 to 17 days in length.

Summer 2022 includes two weeks of paid staff training beginning June 16, followed by two three-week camp sessions ending August 14.

  • Lead and mentor a cabin group for each camp session, living and eating with campers as they adjust to camp life and helping them achieve their personal best.
  • Manage behavioral issues, homesickness, injury, or unforeseen circumstances from remote locations in conjunction with your co-leader, Coordinator and support team.
  • Facilitate group activities that support the mission of the AYF, guiding discussions and debriefing after completion.
  • Adhere to established safety procedures and guidelines for backpacking, canoeing, and other outdoor experiences outlined in Trip Leader Handbooks.
  • Learn and teach Leave No Trace outdoor ethics and camp craft skills such as outdoor cooking, fire and stove safety, tent and equipment repair, bear bagging, and general care for self, others, and equipment in the wilderness.
  • Establish personal and professional goals for the summer and work toward those goals
  • Complete all job functions including recordkeeping and reporting before and after a trip, and other duties as assigned

Questions? Please contact the Merrowvista team at merrowvistacamps@ayf.com.



What should I know before applying?

Four Trails Adventure Trip Leaders are responsible, experienced, and camper-focused youth development professionals from diverse backgrounds and experiences. We are seeking individuals…

• Who have experience with group management, facilitation and/or outdoor education

• Who are committed to creating open and inclusive communities

• Who have experience hiking, canoeing, and/or kayaking

• Who will be at least 21 years old

What can I expect if I am hired?

• Our base salary for first-year leaders is $4,800, with additional bonuses available based on relevant experience and certification.

• All food, housing, and trial gear is provided while you work at Merrowvista, and you'll have access to a number of pro-discounts on outdoor equipment and apparel.

• You will receive free tuition for Wilderness First Responder, CPR, and Lifeguard courses offered at Merrowvista.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of kids can I expect to work with?

Four Trails campers are from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and geographies, and they range in age from 13 to 18 years old. Many of our campers return each year, though Four Trails Leaders can also expect to work with campers who are experiencing the program for the first time.

What is the format of the summer?

The summer is split into a three-week Session A and then a four-week Session B.  Campers stay for the duration of one session, and are assigned into villages of 8 to 12 campers and two leaders. Four Trails Leaders work with two villages (one during Session A, one during Session B) during the summer.

Do I apply to lead a specific trip?

No, we do not hire leaders for specific trips. We hire our leaders as youth development professionals. Trip assignments involve many factors, and so we need people who can lead any trip experience. There is no hierarchy of trips, and each experience is equally important in the progression of the Four Trails Program with its own unique rewards and challenges.

We do our absolute best to place leaders on trips where they will be most successful and best able to serve our campers. These trip assignments are created prior to the pre-trip planning process.

What equipment can Merrowvista provide for trip leaders?

Merrowvista provides as much gear and equipment as possible for campers and staff of the Four Trails program. In general, we ask leaders to provide personal gear including personal clothing, a backpack, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad.

Merrowvista will provide all essential group gear (including backpacks, tents, camp stoves, etc). We encourage all trip leaders to consider cost-effective options for acquiring gear including borrowing from friends and family or purchasing secondhand items that are in good condition. A detailed packing list will be provided prior to the summer. If acquiring any equipment is a hurdle, we will help find a solution.

What does a typical day look like as a Four Trails Trip Leader?

Though most days will look different based on where you are and who you’re interacting with, trip leaders generally find that there is a rhythm to being on trail: waking up early, packing up camp, and then traveling to your next campsite by boat or the power of your own legs! Along the way, you’ll stop to see some of the most beautiful vistas, lakes, rivers, and forests in the Northeast. You will always plan to be in camp in the early evening where you will work with your campers to set up camp, prepare dinner, and lead evening activities which typically involve a reflective component.

I have never been to camp before. Is that okay?

Yes! We welcome anyone new to the Merrowvista community, and we are excited to benefit from new perspectives. It is not uncommon for staff to experience Merrowvista for the very first time. All staff should be open to new experiences and ways of operating when they come to camp, especially if this is their first time at Merrowvista or at a summer camp in general.

What if I have dietary needs?

We provide vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free meal options.  If you have any other specific food restrictions or allergies, we will work with you to create a menu.

I don’t have a car. How do I get to camp?

Merrowvista will pick up staff on specific days from local airports and bus stations. If you do not have a car and are interested in using public transportation to get to camp, you can talk to your supervisor about what options are available to you.