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Wyoming and California_DSC0329

  • Course Director and Activity Specialist Training: May 13 – 17th, 2020
  • Training for all staff: May 23rd – June 06, 2020
  • Wilderness First Aid and CPR (for those that need it): May 21 – May 22, 2020
  • Lifeguard Training: May 18-20, 2020
  • Program Season: June 10– August 11, 2020

North Carolina and Florida

  • Course Director and Activity Specialist Training: May 12 – 15, 2020
  • Training for all staff: May 17 – June 3, 2020
  • Wilderness First Aid and CPR (for those that need it): May 16 – 17, 2020
  • Lifeguard Training: May 9 – 11, 2020
  • Program Season: June 6 – August 14, 2020


  • 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.).



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.


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:
  1. On the coast: average high: 80; average low: 55
  2. Channel Islands: average high: 75; average low: 58 – breezy in afternoons and evenings
  • Northern CA Average Temperature:
  1. On the coast: average high: 66; average low: 52
  2. Yosemite: average high: 89; average low: 56
  3. S. Tahoe: average high: 80; average low: 40
  4. Coloma: average high: 91; average low: 64



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, including electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, 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. Our policy also prohibits the use or possession of marijuana, even in states where use is legal.
  • 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.