Working at CELP

Catalina Island provides an awesome work environment. The ocean is incredibly full of life and we see amazing things every time we snorkel, kayak or walk along it. Living with the land through the changes of the year opens one’s eyes to the incredible lessons that nature offers.

You have the opportunity to be trained by naturalists of The Ocean Futures Society, an organization headed by Jean-Michel Cousteau.

The students who come to see us are eager to learn and even after a few short days, they impact your commitment to life and learning.

The job is a remarkable experience in learning about the environment, working with children and being part of a unique community.


CELP Instructor

Most staff members start as a CELP Instructor. Instructors are provided a thorough and well-rounded training into all of our program areas and curriculum.
For inquiries about other job opportunities please contact us at

Other positions: Senior Instructor, Dive Coordinator, Garden Coordinator, Challenge Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator.


In our years of experience with children we have learned that good staff members are the key to reaching our high standards.

  • All staff have a college degree in environmental science or a related field or are at least 21 years old with appropriate work experience.
  • All staff have experience working with children and are hired based on skills, character, personality, attitude, and leadership ability.
  • Each candidate completes a thorough application and two part interview process. We contact all references to confirm the strength of each applicant.
  • Staff go through extensive training with experts from the Ocean Futures Society and Catalina Island Camps.
  • All staff are first aid and CPR certified. Staff leading waterfront activities are lifeguard certified and receive thorough safety training at our waterfront.


CELP staff will go through a 1-2 week training at the beginning of each season.  The aim of this time is to give staff the resources needed to generate lesson plans and the teaching skills needed to effectively reach the diverse audience of students who attend CELP.
With that said, it is not realistic to think you can absorb everything you need to learn before the students arrive. Throughout the season additional trainings give staff more resources to expand their knowledge base. The instructor mentor program also allows for on-going training by pairing senior instructors with new staff to provide feedback and support.


There are many advantages to living in a close-knit community, but it is important to consider some of the challenges associated with this type of environment.


We are remote from the mainland and we are remote on the island. Two Harbors, a yachting community with a small store, snack bar, restaurant and bar, is 6 miles away via dirt road. Transportation to and from town is generally limited to a two-hour hike or a 30-minute bike ride. There is no regular access to “city life” such as shopping, entertainment and other comforts.
There are ferries to and from the mainland for about $75 roundtrip fare.  As a staff member at CELP your boat tickets for your arrival and departure to and from the island are covered.  Boats depart from the San Pedro harbor.  If you want to leave your car at the boat terminal there is a monthly rate of about $80.  Avalon is a 2 hour drive from camp so reservations must be made to pick-up/drop-off in Two Harbors. There are limited boat times to and from Two Harbors, especially in the winter months, which can make weekend trips to the mainland short and rushed. Check out the ferry company here:
Catalina Express


Cell service is sporadic for most carriers. We have Verizon repeater so some spots have more reliable coverage with that company.  Our phone line is generally reserved for business use, however may be used by staff upon request from a director.  We have a basic wifi connection that will allow you to connect to social media and email. There are two computers in the office for staff use.

Division of Work

As the saying goes “many hands make light work,” and several hours at the start and end of the week are dedicated to a staff “work party”. Staff pitches in to help with cleaning the dining hall, sweeping cabins, helping with garden and compost projects, doing maintenance on waterfront equipment, and other tasks to help improve our facility and prepare the site for upcoming groups.

Weekend Groups

Staff are scheduled to work some weekends with groups that require lifeguards and climbing instructors.


We live in simple rustic cabins with up to 3 other CELP staff. Staff cabins are in close proximity to guests so we honor the 10pm quiet hours.  Catalina Island Camps institutes a dry camp policy.  No drugs or alcohol are allowed on-site.  Bathroom facilities are located within a short walk of all cabins. The showers are pull chain operated at a pre-mixed warm temperature.


Staff members at CELP live and work in close proximity every day. This provides a wonderful opportunity to interact and form strong bonds with your peers. This can also be challenging as personal space and time is limited. We strive to cultivate a sense of respect for one another to maintain a positive working environment.

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