Princeton-Blairstown Center (2 positions)

by justineh

PICS Organization Name
Princeton-Blairstown Center


Princeton, New Jersey

Weekly Stipend

Public Transportation

Housing Provided

Former Interns
Irene Ross '20, Elisabeth Juechser '20, Alexandra Wilson '20, Katherine Frain '18

Organization Description
The Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC), an affiliate of Princeton University, was founded in 1908 by a committed group of Princeton University undergraduates and alumni. They joined together to take 30 impoverished boys from Philadelphia to a two-week summer program originally located at Barnegat Bay, NJ in order to teach “understanding and sympathy” and provide exercise and a respite from urban life. The organization was known as the Princeton Summer Camp and was all student run until the mid-1970s when the facilities were winterized, the name changed, and the program updated to focus on adventure-based education.

Today PBC’s mission is to empower young people, primarily from under-resourced communities, to strengthen their social-emotional skills through experiential, environmental, and adventure-based programming at our 264-acre Blairstown Campus near the Delaware Water Gap.

In 2015 the Center started its award-winning Summer Bridge program, a week-long academic enrichment and leadership development program designed to lessen summer learning loss and build leadership and social-emotional skills.  Students are divided into cohorts of 10-12 and paired with a PBC Facilitator and a teacher/chaperone. Each cohort spends approximately three hours a day engaged in hands-on literacy; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and project based learning work; an hour and a half a day in waterfront activities (swimming/canoeing/kayaking); and three hours a day in leadership, teambuilding, and problem-solving activities on our ropes and challenge courses. Students also engage in their choice of several recreational or STEAM activities for an hour each day along with daily restoration duties (stewardship of their cabins, the dining room, and the wash houses) that are designed to teach responsibility and community.

PBC will benefit greatly from sponsoring PICS interns. Having three PICS students work at our Blairstown facility as STEM or Literacy Instructors or as a Facilitator allows PBC to offer more intensive experiential STEM and Literacy programming to the at-risk youth that we serve which will ignite their curiosity about the natural world and written word. It will engage them in a dynamic way of learning about topics ranging from pond & stream study, composting, solar and hydro-electric power, the flora & fauna of the eastern woodlands, organic gardening, script writing, journaling, college essay writing, and many other topics.

Internship Description

Please note that you may apply to each of the following positions with a single PICS organization selection, however you must write a separate cover letter for each position for which you would like to be considered. Include all cover letters for this organization in ONE pdf document.

 Position: Literacy or Sustainability/STEM Instructor

  1. Design and document hands-on STEM or literacy curriculum around PBC’s unique outdoor environment with a focus on STEM/STEAM based program activities appropriate to the at-risk student population.
  2. Facilitate hands-on STEM or literacy sessions for at-risk youth that are designed to help students communicate cooperatively, problem solve and work together to achieve common goals.
  3. Co-lead evening student choice programs and workshops as needed.
  4. Facilitate restoration program activities.
  5. Facilitate occasional unchaperoned groups and provide overnight supervision.
  6. Set up a hands-on environmental discovery classroom or library that engages youth in learning and sharing STEM or literary finds/work.
  7. Oversee PBC’s organic garden and compost station or Peyton Library.
  8. Remain current on the developmental needs of youth.
  9. Ensure the safety of all participants at all times.
  10. Maintain a friendly, cooperative and professional relationship with fellow staff, chaperons, and partner organization stakeholders.
  11. Assist with program logistics and administrative duties.
  12. Assist with housekeeping and facility upkeep as needed.
  13. Participate in job-related training and staff meetings.
  14. Perform statistical, narrative, and record keeping duties as required including data entry.

Position: Summer Experiential Education Facilitator

  1. Develop, facilitate, and debrief adventure based/experiential education curriculum including adventure course, low and high ropes course, rock climbing, hiking, canoeing/kayaking and swimming, and restoration programming designed to help students develop social-emotional skills that include learning to communicate cooperatively, problem solve, and work together to achieve common goals.
  2. Facilitate occasional unchaperoned groups and provide overnight supervision.
  3. Design a sequence using PBC curriculum, create lesson plans, and develop new program activities appropriate to the participant population. 
  4. Ensure the safety of all participants at all times.
  5. Maintain a friendly, cooperative, and professional relationship with fellow staff, chaperones, and partner organization stakeholders.
  6. Correctly teach outdoor adventure, environmental education and expedition specific skills to participants as per PBC expectations and protocols.
  7. Lead off site day trips, river expeditions, and rock climbing.
  8. Assist with program logistics and administrative duties.
  9. Assist with housekeeping and facility upkeep as needed.
  10. Participate in job-related training and staff meetings.
  11. Perform statistical, narrative, and record keeping duties as required including data entry.

Internship Qualifications

  • Experience working with young adults, individually and in groups.
  • Knowledge of and comfort in the out-of-doors with an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), STEAM or Literacy.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Outstanding customer service skills, group facilitation skills and logistical planning experience. 
  • Experience living or working with people from diverse cultures or backgrounds preferred.
  • Able to work well with a team of others and a co-leader on a one-to-one basis.
  • Excellent communication and relationship building skills with an ability to prioritize, negotiate, and work with a variety of internal and external stakeholders in a multi-cultural environment.

Outdoor leadership skills (Outdoor Action), First Aid, CPR, Lifeguard Certification, Ropes/Challenge Course experience desirable.

Expected Start Time
8:00 am

Expected End Time
8:00 pm

Required Dates
June - August

Internship Length
10 Weeks

Meets Certificate Requirement

Additional Info
There may be preparation time outside of regular work hours.

Background checks are required for everyone who works at the Center since we work with youth.

Evaluation Excerpt

The main strengths of this organization were its incredibly helpful supervisors and director, the freedom that was provided in creating a lesson plan, and the amount of resources I had access to. The supervisors and director were always available to answer any questions I had or provide any assistance that I needed both during and outside of work hours. They guided me throughout the summer and offered feedback on my work in order to help me improve.
—Elisabeth Juechser '20

My internship absolutely met the goals put forward. My experience was extremely enriching, and I was able to connect to students who are excited about making changes in their communities and in the world. PBC cares about the people who come to campus and learn, and they also care about their interns. The motto of PBC is "A Place to Grow," and I believe PBC offers that to both the participants and the employees who are connected with the camp.
—Alex Wilson '20

My best work experience was facilitating growth and learning for children who had not yet experienced living in the outdoors, and working on life skills like team building, leadership, and communication. I loved when children who at first were skeptical of the experience came to me at the end and said they wished they didn't have to leave.
—Irene Ross '20

To see whether this internship is still accepting applications for 2018, please check the Second Round page.


To read evaluations written by former interns, please contact the
Student Program