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Smithsonian Summer Camp 2020 - Presented by Smithsonian Associates
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Youth Teaching Assistants (YTA)

Applications must be submitted by March 20, 2020. Volunteers will be notified via email by April 10, 2020.

Apply to be a YTA

We are looking for responsible and highly motivated teenagers 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 on a weekly basis from June 22 through August 21, 2020. Summer camp sessions are five days long and run Monday through Friday, with the exception of the week of July 4th, when camp sessions will meet for a four-day week, Monday through Thursday. 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 camp guided by Smithsonian instructors and the camp program manager. Students entering grade 9 in Fall 2020 or who are at least 14 years old are eligible to participate.

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 have an intriguing experience to add to a resume or college application.

Youth Teaching Assistant (YTA) Responsibilities

YTA Responsibilities

  1. Mandatory attendance at a YTA orientation session
    This session will occur on Saturday, June 13, 2020, from 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM at the S. Dillon Ripley Center.
  2. Hold and maintain the monitor packet for your assigned camp.
    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, pick up your campers from Before-Camp, and be stationed in front of the Ripley Center by 9:00 a.m. for morning drop-off. 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 on Mondays.
  6. Wear your nametag at all times and manage camper name badges.
    You will need to bring your nametag 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 name badge for each camper daily and that it remains on the camper’s clothing during the day.
  7. You are responsible for each child's whereabouts at all times
    Assist with restroom trips for campers under 12. Also act as a "go for" if necessary. Check in with instructors before you leave the camp room.
  8. Be active, engaging and participate, as the instructors require.
    Don't just watch—get involved! 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 Field Trip Form on the door of the classroom when the camp leaves the Ripley Center, 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 together from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at a designated outside location, weather permitting. Lunch will be supervised by Camp Staff.
  11. Assist the instructors with classroom set up and clean up.
    Classrooms must be left clean at the end of each day. You will be provided with a room cleaning policy. Sometimes the classroom will need to be reset in the mornings if there was another program in the room the night before.
  12. Pass out and collect evaluations at the end of camp on the last day of the week.
    Pass out camper evaluations for campers in grades four and up. Fill out your YTA evaluation form and give the instructors their evaluations as well. As parents come for the Friday Show and Shares, pass out and collect parent evaluations.
  13. Supervise pick-up at the end of each camp day.
    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 must make sure each child leaves with an adult with the appropriate drop off cards.
  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 for purchasing meals are not available. 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 on the Ripley Center concourse.
  17. Mobile phone use must be limited to break times or emergencies.
    Please do not use your cell phone during the times when you are attending to campers, especially drop-off and pick-up times. Bring your cell phone with you on field trips in case Camp Staff needs to contact you for emergencies but remain attentive to the campers.
  18. Represent the Smithsonian positively.
    Throughout your entire time with us, on field trips, in the classrooms, and at lunch, you are a representative of the Smithsonian. We expect our YTAs to behave professionally, engage with campers kindly, and present themselves maturely.