One Heartland

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 most of our programs are for LGBTQ+ youth. 

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, community-building, and healing activities for up to 600 youth each year through one- and two- week long residential 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! 


Willow River, MN

Internship Description 

Two tracks are available based on the intern’s interest and experiences: 

Program Counselors’ primary focus is the physical and emotional well-being and community formation/dynamic of an assigned small group (cabin) of participants during each session, acting as a primary caregiver and support person. They:  

  • Coordinate the daily cabin schedule, including helping campers practice good time management by arriving at scheduled programs on time and ensuring that camper’s medication, sleep, nutrition, & hygiene needs are met 
  • Plan and facilitate programming/activities for the cabin group, including those aimed towards building community, nighttime rituals and reflections before lights out in the evening, and productive use of transition time 
  • Support Program Specialists during specialty/elective activity area programming via the practice of behavior management and safety awareness 
  • Act as the primary/first-level support to all participants in the cabin in addressing conflicts or concerns 

Program Specialists’ primary focus is delivering safe, intentional, and effective programming to participants in 1-3 specialty areas (Visual arts, performing arts, nature/outdoor exploration, leadership & career development for teens, high/low ropes courses & climbing wall, archery/slingshot, bicycling, swimming, canoeing, fishing, and sports/large-group games). They: 

  • Develop and deliver engaging programming in their specialty area(s) for all ages and abilities of participants 
  • Assist in the management and care of the specialized program area(s) by (but not limited to) maintaining program equipment, maintaining program inventory and planning for replacement of supplies in a timely manner, ensuring the safety and cleanliness of spaces, and conducting final inventories at the end of the summer 
  • Support Counselor(s) in their assigned cabin with participant supervision and cabin group activities when not occupied with program area responsibilities 

Both position types will: 

  • Plan and facilitate one or more unique one-hour programs to offer as an elective to all participants, according to the intern’s skills and interests. 
  • Live in a cabin with a group of approximately 8 participants and 3 staff/interns 
  • Attend training sessions throughout staff orientation geared towards the development of safe, fun, inclusive, and equitable participant outcomes and experiences 
  • Ensure appropriate, accurate, and timely documentation and communication of any camper related concerns, including timely referral of concerns to healthcare or supervisory staff 
  • Work as part of an overall team, supporting other team members and projects as needed 
  • Attend and participate in staff meetings, communicate clearly and appropriately with supervisors and peers about the wellness and development of campers, and support general logistics of camp programming, such as assisting with camper arrival and departure or camp clean-up at the end of a session 

Interns gain training and experience in areas including youth development, program planning, conflict resolution, communication, teamwork and collaboration, physical and mental health first aid, and non-profit program administration 

# of weeks Required Dates Start Time End Time Public Transportation Housing  Format
10 6/5 - 8/13 2022 8:00am  10:00pm Yes Yes In person

Housing Information

Housing provided free of charge

Internship Qualifications

  • Experience working with youth between the ages of 7-17 in a non-peer role (can be formal, like work or volunteer experience, or informal, like being a regular caregiver for family members). 
  • Connection to or knowledgeable about one or both populations we serve (LGBTQ+, HIV/AIDS) and most importantly a commitment to respectfully work with, and honor the identities or experiences of, our participants from these populations 
  • Commitment to active inclusion and making sure everyone feels welcome, included, and celebrated  
  • Commitment to stewardship and conservation by using resources effectively and efficiently 
  • Organized, logistically minded, creative, participant-focused, and safety conscious  
  • Ability to effectively teach, direct, supervise, coach, and support diverse groups of youth 

Physical Requirements: 

  • Must be able to tolerate prolonged work hours 
  • Must be able to move about camp indoors and out and work in outdoor weather conditions 
  • Must be able to tolerate exposure to crowds and associated high noise levels 
  • Must be able to assist participants in an emergency (fire, evacuation, illness, or injury) and possess both physical and mental strength, endurance, and composure required to maintain constant supervision and support to participants 
  • Ability and willingness to live in camp setting with daily exposure to the sun, heat, and wildlife/insects 

Additional qualifications: 

  • Prior experience planning and facilitating activities with youth  
  • Prior experience with the populations served by our programming 
  • Experience in one or more of the following camp program areas: High/Low Ropes Courses & Climbing Wall, Archery/Slingshot, Visual and Performing Arts, general outdoor skills/nature, teen leadership development, bicycling, swimming, canoeing, fishing, sports or large-group games, HIV/AIDS and/or LGBTQ+ specific educational programming (required for Program Specialist track) 

Writing Sample Required


Special Requirements

  • Background check
  • Physical within a year of start date with record of up-to-date vaccinations as medically appropriate
  • CPR and First Aid certification is required; additional certification such as Lifeguarding, Archery Instructor, or Challenge Course Facilitator/Belay may be required for Program Specialist track depending on focus area(s). All certification courses are available on-site with costs covered by One Heartland during orientation.