National Leadership Conference Jobs

1st-4th Year Program Specialist

NLC Program Specialists are interested, interesting adults from diverse backgrounds and experiences who specialize in leadership development.

Our days are simpler. We challenge often but have more fun. The outdoors is our home. We work together to create a community where individuals are respected, and where our values guide our actions. We gain confidence, share, and have fun.

Set on 360 wooded acres and a mile of private Lake Michigan shoreline, Miniwanca is a breathtaking and inspiring setting for growth. Towering sand dunes and pines line our beach. This creates a perfect environment for discovering and developing your personal best.

During the National Leadership Conference, part of the day is spent with a leadership development group. This group is made up of individuals from the same class and the Program Specialists that support them. Program Specialists facilitate the age-appropriate curriculum to help individuals grow to reach their full potential as leaders.



Program Specialists typically:

  • Love working with young people and are team-oriented.

  • Have a willingness to learn and facilitate curriculum to a group of people.

  • Are enthusiastic about making meaningful connections with others.

  • Create opportunities for growth and personal development.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the dates of employment?

    Staff training begins on June 10th. NLC begins on June 13th and runs until the 21st. Employment, therefore, runs June 10th-21st.

    What do we do in staff training and how long is it?

    From June 10th-13th, 2019, leaders will learn all about the mission, philosophy and values of the American Youth Foundation. They will learn how to work with participants, how to facilitate activities, and will work to build our positive community. By the end of staff training, leaders will be prepared to lead curriculum, teach Interest Group activities, and more.

    Are food and housing provided?

    Yes, food and housing are provided for the entirety of your time at Miniwanca.

    What do the living arrangements look like?

    There are a few options for housing during NLC, but it’s important to recognize that those spaces are really only used for sleeping. Most leaders will live in our rustic cabins with a few other staff members. Some of our cabins have open windows with no screens on them and have flaps that roll down to cover the windows in inclement weather. We suggest leaders bring mosquito netting to cover their twin size bed. We also have housing available in our Seay and Compton dorm buildings.

    What is the salary?

    NLC positions are volunteer positions. We do offer a $200 travel stipend for everyone hired onto the NLC Staff Team.

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

    Miniwanca will provide transportation on the 10th from the Grand Rapids airport and bus station. It’s also common for staff members to carpool from different cities. A travel form will be made available once you are hired where you can let us know what your travel arrangements are.

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

    That is totally okay! We are always looking to build a staff that is representative of our participant community, and many participants will be new as well. So long as you are open to new experiences and people, we are open to having you join our team.

    What does a typical day as a Program Specialist look like?

    Program Specialists will work with 1-5 co-facilitators to bring the Leadership Development curriculum to life. Leadership Development time takes place primarily in the mornings after breakfast, and involves groups of participants from the same class learning and practicing leadership tools. It is up to the Program Specialist to facilitate those activities and teach those tools. The most important responsibility of any NLC staff member is fostering a positive community. We all pitch in where we can to keep things running smoothly, and attend/participate in all activities to ensure objectives are met.

    What if I have dietary needs?

    Miniwanca is able to work with a variety of dietary needs and allergies. At each meal, Miniwanca will provide a dairy free, gluten free, and vegetarian option. Miniwanca is peanut and tree nut aware and will not serve anything with those products in it. Some snacks and desserts may be created in a facility that uses peanuts or tree nuts, and safe alternatives will be offered when those are the general option.

    “My time as a First Year Specialist was priceless. The connections I made and the ways in which I got to see others grow was awesome. I’ve grown a lot too, which is very special.”

    What a summer at NLC looks like: