Work-Based Learning at Keystone Science School: Building Skills for the Future Workforce

We create future leaders who can problem solve and work together in an ever-evolving world and workplace environment. -Keystone Science School’s Mission

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While Keystone Science School is best known for inquiry-based learning programs that teach science, outdoor skills, and community building to children, we also develop the next generation of leaders through work-based learning programs for young professionals.

Work-based learning integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with hands-on experience and skill development in a workplace setting. KSS internships, apprenticeships, and seasonal jobs provide an excellent opportunity to explore and prepare for a career in outdoor education, the outdoor industry, teaching, marketing, or non-profit work while developing skills essential for the future workforce.

Critical Skills for the Future Workforce

As automation and global connectivity continue to transform the modern workplace, “uniquely human” skills, such as adaptive thinking and social intelligence, are at a premium. Unfortunately, a 2019 report by the Society for Human Resources Management finds that employers are challenged with recruiting qualified talent. The top 3 missing soft skills are:

  • Problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation and creativity;
  • Ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity;
  • Communication.

Keystone Science School students, interns, apprentices, and employees practice these skills every day, with guidance and support from mentors and supervisors.

Teaching outside and working with children is inherently unpredictable. Instructors are often faced with unique and unexpected circumstances, to which they must respond with creative ideas and solutions. How do you react when a nearby forest fire creates poor air quality, but you have a full day of outdoor lessons planned for 100 kids? What do you do if a child gets homesick during an overnight camping trip?

Our classroom Risk Management Training teaches Instructors to assess their environment and approach decision-making intelligently, and by using problem-solving skills to address real-life situations, outdoor educators hone their ability to confidently deal with ambiguity.

There are few environments more perfect for developing social intelligence--“the ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way”--than at summer camp. Throughout the summer, staff and students become a community as they learn to problem solve, work together, and resolve conflict during educational, recreational, and daily living activities. By learning to foster open and honest relationships with their students and teammates, Instructors build a foundation of strong communication that they can use throughout their personal lives and careers.

Work-Based Learning at Keystone Science School

Keystone Science School offers paid summer work-based learning opportunities for candidates ages 18+. Summer Instructors teach and supervise students in our day and overnight camp programs, while candidates with prior experience can supervise and inspire Instructors in a Lead or Manager role. Many past employees have used a summer job at KSS to fulfill their school’s internship or service leadership requirements, and we’re happy to work with students to meet their individual learning objectives.

For Instructor roles, we welcome candidates of all experience levels, though we require an interest in working with children and current Wilderness First Aid and CPR certifications. Employees earn a competitive salary, plus free housing and meals. We also offer a paid summer seasonal Digital Marketing Internship.

High School students ages 13 to 17 can learn about work and build skills for the next generation workplace by enrolling in our week-long Camp Leadership Programs: the Counselor Assistant Program or the Program Internship. Students serve as role models for younger campers, develop as leaders, and make a difference in the lives of others while receiving personalized feedback and a letter of reference from their Instructor Mentor.

Although there is a fee for participation, KSS is committed to serving students from diverse backgrounds, and we strive to make our programs accessible across the socioeconomic spectrum. We offer financial aid to families with demonstrated need, and Campership applications are accepted through April 1, 2020.

Beyond the summer season, work-based learning at Keystone Science School is alive and well, with a 10-month Instructor Apprentice program for recent college graduates, seasonal Internships for current college students, and flexible part-time jobs for high-schoolers.

Work-based learning supplements classroom education with hands-on experience in professional settings, yielding positive outcomes for both students and organizations. While students benefit from professional growth and skill development in a hands-on environment, organizations create and recognize a more prepared, proficient future workforce.

Learn more about Keystone Science School’s work-based learning opportunities and camp leadership programs. If you have any questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..