One Heartland


PICS Organization Name
One Heartland

Willow River, Minnesota 

Organization Description

Since 1993, One Heartland has been creating life-changing camp experiences for youth facing social isolation, intolerance, or serious health challenges. Our program began to address an unmet need in the HIV/AIDS community, and over the last decade, our programs have expanded to serve other populations as well. Currently the majority of our programs are for LGBTQ+ youth, and we also offer a program for youth who have experienced housing instability/homelessness.

Our camps provide a welcoming environment where children, youth and young adults can feel completely accepted for who they are—sometimes for the first time in their lives. We offer recreation, education, and healing activities for over 600 youth each year through overnight summer camp sessions at our camp facility in Willow River, Minnesota. At One Heartland, our campers develop the skills, confidence, and friendships they need to succeed in life through a week of play, hands-on learning, and time spent together in the great outdoors!

Our work simply couldn’t happen without the team of passionate, dedicated staff & interns who join us for the summer! Our summer team comes from a wide variety of backgrounds, brings a wide variety of skills and experience, and comes from all over the country (and even internationally), and past PICS interns have been a valuable addition to this team!

Internship Description

Note: The below describes the planned/expected role, which is almost always the best fit for interested undergraduate students without experience at One Heartland or a similar program. Our other positions and their qualifications can be viewed at and can be discussed during an interview provided the candidate meets the minimum qualifications and the role has not yet been filled.

Program Counselors are the backbone of camp, responsible for ensuring the physical, emotional & spiritual health, safety and well-being of each individual participant. In addition to living in a cabin with their group of 4-10 participants, they also work individually and with other staff to plan and lead programs & activities, along the way helping our participants build life skills, confidence, friendships, and memories!

Specific duties:

  • Attend and participate in all staff training (early June)
  • Live in and participate as an active leader of an assigned cabin community, working to ensure participant health and safety as well as positive, fun, safe, inclusive, and equitable camper outcomes and experiences
  • Supervise and ensure the safety of the participant group at all times
  • Ensure the appropriate, accurate, and timely documentation and communication of any camper-related concerns, including timely referral of concerns to healthcare or leadership staff
  • Coordinate the daily schedule of the cabin, including ensuring campers get to the correct activities prepared and on time, and that participant’s daily needs such as medications, sleep, nutrition, and hygiene are met
  • Plan and facilitate cabin activities, including nightly reflections, daily “cabin time” programming, other cabin community-building activities, and leading songs, games, or other activities to fill downtime.
  • Facilitate, or assist activity specialist staff in facilitating, assigned daily program activities
  • Mediate and address conflicts or behavior concerns within the cabin group
  • Follow and enforce all relevant One Heartland policies and procedures as well as all relevant health and industry regulations such as state of Minnesota and ACA (American Camp Association) standards
  • Conduct themself in a professional and friendly manner to ensure positive relations with participants, families, community members, volunteers, visitors, and other staff
  • Support other team members/projects as needed. (Such as helping clean up after a meal or helping get the facility ready for the next group).

Benefits, as described by past interns:

  • You gain a variety of life skills such as time management, team building, self-awareness, leadership, and customer service.
  • Being on staff felt like being part of a family.
  • You are able to meet some of the most hilarious and positive people I've ever met.
  • You are able to be active every day.
  • Being weird and [silly] is part of the job description.
  • You have a continuous purpose and never get judged at camp.

In addition, on-site housing & meals are provided.

Weekly Stipend # of Weeks Required Dates Start Time End Time Housing Provided? Public Transportation? Certificate Requirement? Can be Remote?
$450 10 6/7/21 - 8/1/21 8:00 am 10:00 pm Yes Yes No No

Internship Qualifications

  • Experience with youth between the ages of 7 and 17 (formal or informal), and excited about the idea of spending your summer with young people in this age range!
  • Connection to or knowledgeable about one or more of the populations we serve (LGBTQ+, HIV/AIDS, currently or formerly unhoused) and most importantly a commitment to respectfully work with, and honor the identities or experiences of, our participants from all of these populations.
  • Strengths in: communication, collaboration, flexibility, empowering and encouraging others, creativity, organization, resiliency, compassionate, safety-conscious, energetic, initiative
  • Open to new learning and new experiences
  • Commitment to active inclusion and making sure everyone feels welcome, included, and celebrated
  • Works well as part of a team
  • Physical Requirements:
  • Able to tolerate prolonged work hours
  • Frequently exposed to crowds and high noise levels
  • Must be able to move about camp indoors and out and work in outdoor weather conditions

Additional Qualifications

CPR & First Aid Certification is required, but provided by One Heartland during the training period.

Helpful, but not a requirement:

  • Experience with one or more camp activity areas: canoeing, archery, bicycling, climbing wall, low ropes/teambuilding facilitation, high ropes course, arts & crafts, cooking, dance, drama, sports/games, nature, swimming, fishing, teen leadership/life skills development
  • Teaching or activity facilitation skills or experience

Additional Info
Background check (One Heartland covers cost), physical within a year with vaccination records, and a TB test required

Intern will be trained on-site during internship

Former Interns
Kandace Rosser '19, Chels Johnson '18

Evaluation Excerpt

My best work experience was working with 7 year old girls one week. They were amazing kids, despite their circumstances and the lives they were given. They were a joy to be around and they were very loving and playful no matter what. They inspired me to be more positive.
—Chels Johnson '18

I did connect with the service mission of the organization, which was to help children who come from less than ideal backgrounds have a life-changing week of camp. I have learned how much I love working with children as a result of this internship. —Kandace Rosser '19