WELCOME TO SOAR!
“No one can predict to what heights you can SOAR.
Even you will not know until you spread your wings and fly.”
Welcome and thank you for your interest in SOAR! You have accessed this site because you are interested becoming involved as a staff in our programs and services. For over 35 years, SOAR has been offering success-oriented opportunities for youth who need it most. Here’s an overview of who we are:
SOAR is a private, non-profit outdoor adventure program for youth with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders and/or Learning Disabilities . Our students range in age from 8-18 and are all ADHD and/or LD. Most are high functioning, very intelligent, and struggle with issues such as impulsivity, disorganization, inattention, poor social skills, etc. Some student may occasionally come with additional diagnoses such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Aspergers, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
- We offer 10 - 26 day outdoor adventure courses in NC, WY, FL, and CA. If hired, you would be initially slated for one of these primary course areas, but you could potentially be asked to work on any course in any area. We conduct activities such as backpacking, rockclimbing, rafting, horseback riding, kayaking, etc., most of which involves camping with the students off-base for the majority of the course. SOAR is accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA).
- This job involves being paired with a co-staff and supervising a group of up to 8 students for the entire length of the course (24/7) with an average of two full days off every two weeks and one evening off per course. Most courses are co-ed, although we will have single-sex teams as enrollment allows.
- You would be helping lead the students through outdoor activities but more importantly you would be helping the students work on personal growth goals that you helped them set for themselves. These goals typically address common ADHD/LD issues such as disorganization, poor social skills, impulsive behavior, etc.
- At the end of each course, staff will write an evaluation on each student that highlights their areas of strength and details their progress toward their three personal goals.
- You don’t need to be an expert in the outdoors, but you should be comfortable with extended periods in an outdoor environment in all types of conditions. We also expect the highest level of professionalism and integrity from our staff.
- Building self-confidence and self-esteem in LD and ADHD kids can be extremely challenging, and this most likely might be the toughest job you have ever had, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Are you ready for the challenge and the reward?!?
Job InformationStaff Application
Wyoming and California
- Course Director and Activity Specialist Training: May 22 - 23 & May 27 - 29, 2013
- Training for all staff: June 1- June 15, 2013
- Wilderness First Aid and CPR (for those that need it): May 30 - May 31, 2013
- Lifeguard Training: May 24 - 26, 2013
- Program Season: June 19 - August 17, 2013
North Carolina and Florida
- Course Director and Activity Specialist Training: May 14 - 17, 2013
- Training for all staff: May 20 - June 5, 2013
- Wilderness First Aid and CPR (for those that need it): May 17 - 9, 2013
- Program Season: June 8 - August 15, 2013
- We are not a traditional summer camp – our programs are adventure activity based and travel oriented. That means many days in a row of camping out with no showers, no air conditioning, no electricity, no bathrooms, and lots of backpacking food (i.e., pasta!).
- We are fun-focused – we want all of our students to have a great time while they are here. That is priority number one!
- We are not therapeutic, but we are personal growth oriented – we ask students to set three personal goals and we help them work on those goals throughout the course. However we are not set up to help youth work on major life issues (e.g., drug/alcohol additions, major behavioral problems, mental health issues, etc.).
- We are strength-focused – our students deal with the reality of their LD and ADHD challenges every day at home, so when they come to SOAR, we focus on the strengths and abilities that each one possesses and help them develop those skills.
- We are not an easy job – the hours are long, the kids require constant supervision and energy, and we keep going no matter what the weather.
- We are a great place for folks who have a strong work ethic and a professional demeanor – most of our summer staff are older (average age is 23) and have or are pursuing degrees in human services (psychology, education, therapeutic recreation, etc.).
Descriptions of Summer Program Areas:
- Balsam Base, Balsam, NC – Our Balsam Base is located in Balsam, NC, approximately 45 minutes west of Asheville. We are situated on ~10 acres of wooded, mountainous land that houses:
- The Lodge – this is our primary administrative area of camp with business offices, gear/food rooms, a group meeting and recreation space, and a dining area.
- The Bathhouse – this building is adjacent to the Lodge with private bath and shower facilities, a group meeting room, and a twenty-four foot climbing wall.
- Cabins – throughout our campus are 10 rustic cabins (named for various explorers) that serve as staff and student housing while they are on base. The cabins contain wooded bunks and are electricity free!
- ROPES Course – Balsam Base also offers both a low and high ropes course as well as an open field area for games, initiatives, archery, and hatchet throwing.
- The temperature in the mountains of NC during the summer is typically in the upper 70’s to mid 80’s during the day and upper 50’s to mid 60’s at night. This area of the country is also considered a temperate rain forest, so come prepared to work rain or shine!
- Eagle View Ranch, Dubois, WY – Eagle View Ranch is located four miles west of Dubois WY, situated on ~22 acres of ranch and woodland. Its facilities include:
- The Dining Pavilion – constructed of lodgepole pine, this area houses the kitchen, bath and shower facilities, and a covered dining area with fireplace.
- The Riding Area – with horseback riding as the focus of Eagle View Ranch, this area provide students with a wonderful venue for honing their equestrian skills.
- The Eagle View Lodge – this facility houses administrative offices and classrooms. A second kitchen complex is adjacent to the Lodge, as are the horse corrals and tack buildings.
- Student & Staff housing – for their time on base, students and staff stay in outfitter-style shelters and tipis that are electricity free!
- The weather during staff training has a tendency to be cold and wet with a couple of days with snow. Be prepared with plenty of warm clothing, weather proof layers, and warm comfy footwear. The entire training is conducted outside in rain, snow, and sunshine.
- June can bring highs of mid 70's to low 80's during the day and 30's and 40's at night. July warms up with temperatures in mid 80's during the day and 40's and 50's at night.
- Florida Keys, FL – Our Florida Standard and Florida SCUBA programs are facilitated in the Middle Keys. The campsite is located in the Spanish Harbor Channel on West Summerland Key and overlooks both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. All staff and students stay in tents throughout the summer, and will have access to bathroom facilities.
- 4. California- Our California Standard program is based at Leo Carrillo State Park south of the Big Sur region of California. The students will travel to the Channel Islands NP, and stay at Montana de Oro SP. The California Expedition begins in Monterey Bay, and then travels to Yosemite NP and the Lake Tahoe region. All staff and students stay in tents throughout the summer, and will have access to bathroom facilities.
There is a marine layer that typically burns off by noon…but may hide the California sunshine all day long.
Southern CA Average Temperature:
On the coast: average high: 80; average low: 55
Channel Islands: average high: 75; average low: 58 – breezy in afternoons and evenings
Northern CA Average Temperature:
On the coast: average high: 66; average low: 52
Yosemite: average high: 89; average low: 56
S. Tahoe: average high: 80; average low: 40
Coloma: average high: 91; average low: 64
Staff Policies and Protocols:
At SOAR, we have developed staff policies and protocols over the years that will provide the best and safest experience possible for our students, provide clarity for the staff as they perform their job, and insure the integrity of the program. Below are some of the primary protocols:
- Time On and Off – Due to the travel and camping nature of our program, staff are with their “crew” 24/7 during the course, except for specified days or evenings off. Staff will receive a minimum of nine days off per summer. The placement of these time-off periods will vary according to the length and nature of the course.
- Base Camp Amenities – Staff may have access to phones and internet during their time off and as coordinated with their Course Director. Cell phone use while on course should be limited to necessity-only. Meals and housing are provided during time off. Storage space is extremely limited, so staff are encouraged to bring only what is listed on the Staff Gear List. SOAR is not responsible for the security of items stored on base or in our vehicles.
- Food – SOAR can accommodate vegetarian food requests. All other food needs (lactose intolerance, vegan, allergies, etc.) will need to be met by the staff at their expense.
- Driving – All SOAR staff are provided with driver training and are required to transport students in 15-passenger vans. As such, staff are also responsible for the safe transport of students and for maintaining the original condition of the vehicle. Damage to SOAR vehicles due to staff negligence will result in staff being held fiscally responsible for up to $500 (the amount of our insurance deductible) per incident.
- Smoking and Tobacco Use – SOAR is a Non-Tobacco Use program. As such, SOAR staff and students are prohibited from utilizing or carrying tobacco products during program or anywhere on SOAR program areas or in SOAR vehicles. In addition, SOAR asks that if staff smoke during their time off, that they return to work with no cigarette smell on them.
- Alcohol and Drug Policy - Our No Alcohol or Drug Use Policy state that staff will not use or have in their possession any alcohol and/or drugs during work, at any SOAR program site, or in SOAR vehicles. It also states that SOAR staff will cease consumption of such substances at least 12 hours prior to reporting to work.
- Equipment and Vehicle Use – SOAR staff are responsible for the course gear that is checked out to them and will be held responsible for damage or loss due to staff negligence. Course gear (with the exception of rock climbing equipment) or vehicles may be utilized during time off only if authorized by the logistician.
- Pay Schedule – Staff will receive paychecks every two weeks beginning June 30th and ending August 30th. Your salary is a private matter between you and your supervisor, so staff are prohibited from discussing their compensation package with one another.
- Dogs – Summer seasonal staff are not allowed to have their dogs with them at basecamp, on SOAR courses, or in SOAR vehicles. Please leave your companion animals at home..
- Role Modeling – Staff will exhibit the highest level of professionalism and integrity at all times. This includes several important components:
- Cursing is not accepted or tolerated from either staff or students.
- Staff will maintain appropriate personal appearance and hygiene. If asked, staff should be prepared to cover excessive piercings or tattoos.
- SOAR asks that staff commit to limiting disclosure of their personal life history and beliefs.
- Since organization and good time management are critical instructional components to SOAR courses, we ask that staff manifest those positive traits in their work lives.
There are so many benefits to working at SOAR. Here are but a few:
- The opportunity to make a difference in the lives of exceptional children
- The leadership and supervision of seasoned professionals in the field.
- Insightful, written feedback to guide your own growth and development.
- Internship opportunities and potential college credit.
- Working in beautiful, outdoor settings.
- An extensive and comprehensive two-week staff training.
- Wilderness First Aid and CPR Certifications opportunities
- Lifeguard Certification opportunities
- Meals and lodging (except personal tentage) during work and time off.
- The opportunity to offer feedback and help with program assessment.
“The first summer I worked for SOAR was among the best in my entire life. Each day was an incredible experience; I woke up in magnificent places, shared my days with remarkable and unique children, participated in fantastic adventure activities, and laughed so hard that sometimes it was hard to breath. The best part…it was MY JOB to appreciate and value these amazing students and have fun! It is just about the healthiest way to spend the summer as I could ever imagine.” BB
“Before coming to SOAR, I didn’t have an understanding of either the challenges or the gifts that LD and ADHD can bring to a child’s life. Now I feel like I can see the strengths within every individual regardless of their life situation. And I learned about the strengths within myself as well!” LP
“Working at SOAR is not a job to me, it is a lifestyle. Being an adventurous people person, there is no lifestyle I would rather live than that as a SOAR employee. I am not in the business of making money but in the business of changing lives.” LW
“More than anything, the one thing that keeps me coming back to work at SOAR is seeing how proud the kids become of themselves when they achieve things they never thought were possible.” CM
“ SOAR has meant so much to me personally and professionally. As challenging as the job can be, I truly enjoy being a part of enriching the lives of the youth we serve and the atmosphere that comes with this growth. Spending time in the outdoors is also a plus!” CT
“It is truly rare to find a job where you can invest one-hundred percent of yourself in the lives of the others around you. At SOAR you have that opportunity. Not only do you invest your time and energy in the lives of the exceptional youth we serve you also invest in the other staff that serve along side with you. You give more of yourself than at most any other job, and on the flip side you receive so much more. The rewarding feeling is worth every minute you spend.” JN
Questions? Contact Laura Pate at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-456-3435.
If you'd like to speak with someone to help you with an application or question right away, please contact us at:
NC Base Camp (828) 456-3435
P.O. Box 388, Balsam, NC 28707
Philosophy: SOAR believes all individuals identified with learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit disorder (AD/HD) possess inherent talents and gifts. These abilities can mean incredible success in adulthood once these students negotiate the challenging obstacles of childhood, adolescence, and a traditional education system, usually unable to respond to individual learning styles.
Therefore, the SOAR model is based on two fundamental principles. First, youth with LD and AD/HD flourish when they are encouraged to focus on their strengths in an experiential setting. The second principle acknowledges that success can be generalized by encouraging our students to develop and utilize strategies, enabling them to compensate for those challenging characteristics of LD and AD/HD. To this end, SOAR staff strive to ensure success for each student across a wide range of experiences. Such success, in turn, builds essential self-esteem and self-confidence.
Based on these two foundations, SOAR participants develop problem solving skills, effective communication strategies, increased self-awareness, and social skills. Program activities include a broad base of wilderness adventure experiences that empower students to make healthy choices, learn more about themselves, overcome challenges, and establish relevance from these experiences to other aspects of their life.
SOAR's Specialty Courses are open to SOAR alumni and students with the maturity and experience level to be successful on the course. Acceptance is conditional on the approval of the course director. Most specialty courses are led by one of SOAR's year-round staff including Richard Peters, John Willson and Joe Geier.
SOAR’s programs are designed to allow students the opportunity to increase their independence while away from home. Independence is gained through self-motivation and life skills instruction. With this in mind, we involve our students in many decision making processes, such as setting individual goals, developing group guidelines, as well as trip and meal planning. This also comes into consideration when developing SOAR’s communication policy, detailed in our Parent Handbook.
SOAR is dedicated to serving the needs of individuals with learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit disorder (AD/HD) and is proud to be the finest: