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Youth Teaching Assistants (YTA)

Applications must be submitted by March 8, 2019. Volunteers will be notified via email by April 5, 2019.
We are currently looking for responsible and highly motivated teenagers and young adults to assist with Summer Camp. Youth Teaching Assistants (YTAs) are ages 15 and older and offer support to the instructors. YTA options will be available from June 17–August 16, 2019, on a weekly basis. Summer camp sessions meet for a five-day week, Monday through Friday. There is no camp on July 4th and 5th, 2019. Summer camp sessions are held on the National Mall in the S. Dillon Ripley Center, unless otherwise stated.

YTA Boot Camp (Must be at least 14 years old)

Learn the skills needed to become an outstanding future Youth Teaching Assistant (YTA) in a one-week intensive training program guided by Smithsonian instructors and the camp program manager. Students entering grade 9 in fall 2019 or who are at least 14 years old are eligible to participate. This special camp is scheduled for two sessions: One on July 8-12, 2019, and the second from July 29-August 2, 2019.

It's Great Experience!

Serving as a YTA provides an extraordinary way for teens to be involved with a national organization, the Smithsonian Institution. YTAs befriend, help, and act as role models for younger children. Assisting a professional instructor, YTAs are introduced to the world of teaching.

The wide range of programs offer YTAs the opportunity to experience and learn about new subject areas or increase and share their understanding of a more familiar subject such as art, science, or theater. YTAs can earn community service credits and also have an intriguing experience to add to a resume or college application.

Youth Teaching Assistant (YTA) Responsibilities

YTA Responsibilities

  1. Must attend a YTA orientation session on Saturday, June 8, 2019, from 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM.
  2. You will be given a monitor packet for your class.
    This packet contains a roster of participants, copies of each child's medical release forms, and other important information. It is your responsibility to keep the monitor packet in a safe place and have it with you during all classes, on all field trips, and during drop-off and pick-up of campers. Monitor packets must be given to the YTA supervisor at the end of the day and should not be taken home.
  3. Arrive at 8:15 a.m. on Mondays and 8:30 a.m. the rest of the week.
    During this time, you will help the instructor prepare for the class. Check with the instructor for specific needs and assignments. During this time you will also meet with the other YTAs and the YTA supervisor.
  4. Be prepared for the arrival of campers.
    Have your monitor packet in hand and be stationed in front of the Ripley Center by 9:00 a.m. Check in each camper upon arrival and provide supervision for the campers in front of the building and on the way to the classroom to meet the teachers.
  5. Verify medical release forms.
    Make sure you have every participant's medical release form during drop-off the first day.
  6. Wear your name tag at all times.
    You will need to bring it to and from home each day to assure access to the Ripley Center before the building is opened to the public. Make sure you have a nametag for each camper. Campers leave their nametags with you at the end of each day.
  7. You are responsible for each child's whereabouts at all times.
    Take the participants to the restroom (students under 12). Also act as a "go for" if necessary.
  8. Be active, engaging and participate, as the instructors require.
    Don't just watch. Be a positive role model for the younger participants.
  9. Assist with field trips.
    Keep tally of campers, have a positive attitude, and help the instructors as requested. Always leave a note on the door of the classroom when the class goes out, informing people where the camp group has gone, when you left, and when you expect to return.
  10. Oversee the lunch hour and participate in or lead safe games and organized activities.
    All camps will have lunch from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at a designated outside location, weather permitting.
  11. Assist the instructor with class clean up.
    Classrooms must be left clean. You will be provided with a room cleaning policy.
  12. Pass out and collect student evaluations at the end of camp on the last day.
    Fill out your YTA evaluation form at the end of each week. Don't forget to give the instructors their evaluations to fill out.
  13. Supervise drop-off at the close of camp.
    Ensure you have all of the children, and escort campers to after-camp or upstairs to the drop-off point in front of the Ripley Center. You will ensure that each child leaves with an adult with the appropriate drop off cards. Collect name tags from campers before they leave and give them to the YTA supervisor.
  14. Promptness and attendance are musts.
    Not adhering to the schedule is cause for dismissal as it could jeopardize the safety of the campers.
  15. Dress code is informal, but neat.
    Short shorts, torn clothing, flip-flops, spaghetti strap tank tops, and shirts that expose midriffs are not considered appropriate for camp. You will be provided with a camp t-shirt to wear on Mondays and any other day you wish.
  16. Bring a non-perishable lunch and drink(s) with you each day.
    Facilities previously open to volunteers for purchasing food may no longer be available. A soda and snack vending machine is available to you in the Ripley Center, but it is not available to the campers so please be discreet. Please keep in mind that YTAs must be with the campers for their entire lunch period so plan accordingly. No food or drink is to be consumed in the Ripley Center concourse.
  17. Mobile phone use must be limited to break times or emergencies.
    Please do not use during the times when you are attending to campers, especially drop-off and pick-up times.