Job Type: Temporary
Salary Details: 17.13 Hourly
Deadline: Feb 27, 2023

We’re looking for individuals who have experience working with children in an educational setting who are energetic, flexible, and creative, with a positive attitude and strong interest in education, wildlife, and conservation.

Metro Parks Tacoma (MPT) is a CAPRA-accredited and AZA-accredited, independent park district that leads efforts to build a healthy, sustainable community.  Metro Parks Tacoma is located in Tacoma, Washington. The system is comprised of many different park facilities that offer residents a variety of recreational opportunities. From waterfront access to local neighborhood parks to large regional facilities and attractions, the MPT system is both a local community asset and regional destination.

These eight core values will guide future decisions, business and operations, and the manner in which MPT treats staff, customers and the community:

•Innovation  •Excellence  •Equity  •Inclusiveness  •Sustainability  •Accountability  •Safety  •Fun

Camp Program Instructors are part of the zoo’s Conservation Engagement Department and work in a collaborative team including other instructors, teenaged camp assistant volunteers, Programs Specialist and Programs Coordinator.

In the performance of their respective tasks and duties all employees are expected to conform to the following:

  • Perform quality work within deadlines with or without direct supervision.
  • Interact professionally with other employees and participants.
  • Work effectively as a team contributor on all assignments.
  • Work independently while understanding the necessity for communicating and coordinating work efforts with other employees and organizations
  • Observe applicable safety requirements, use safety equipment provided, implement appropriate safety practices at all times and report immediately any unsafe working conditions or hazards.

Essential Duties

  • Engage with campers of all age levels (4-year-olds to 11th grade graduates) in various roles as needed. (Previous experience with this entire age range is not required.)
  • Present lessons and activities in a fun and engaging manner while actively involving the campers in the learning process and keeping in mind their social and emotional needs. (This will be covered in training.)
  • Build and maintain a strong sense of community between campers, staff, and volunteers (with the support of a co-instructor) with competence and patience, individually and as part of a group, in various environments on Zoo grounds, in Point Defiance Park and in a classroom setting.
  • Ensure the safety and wellbeing of the campers under your supervision.
  • Adhere to and assist in the enforcement of all policies and procedures for camp operations.
  • Work cooperatively and compassionately with other Zoo staff and volunteers. Maintain open communication between the Program Coordinator, Program Specialist, the Program Instructor team, Volunteers, and other departments around the Zoo. 
  • Participate in the check-in and check-out process with adults dropping off and picking up their campers.
  • Assist with the overall maintenance, cleaning, and storage of program materials and equipment and indoor and outdoor learning spaces.
  • Uphold all zoo safety and personnel policies and support the overall mission.
  • Exhibit consistent professional characteristics such as initiative, emotional maturity, and self-responsibility. 
  • Adhere to Team Commitments, which will be discussed during training. Adhere to and assist in the enforcement of camper/staff agreements, which will be discussed during training and each day of camp. 
  • Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Experience working with children in an educational setting.
  • Able to engage school-aged youth during educational experiences with enthusiasm, patience, and a sense of fun. (Or be willing to learn and practice these skills.)
  • Able to lead groups of children throughout the entire zoo grounds and Point Defiance Park gardens, forest, and marine areas within a pre-determined schedule.
  • Able to work indoors and outdoors, in a variety of conditions.
  • Comfortable sharing own knowledge about wild animals and wild places and willing to expand that knowledge base.
  • Awareness of and interest in local and global conservation issues affecting people and wildlife. 
  • Willing and able to work cooperatively and supportively with an assigned co-instructor.
  • Willing and able to be flexible with changes in assigned duties within the camp program.
  • Excellent customer service skills. 
  • Available to attending group interview, all trainings, and work at least 7 weeks of camp. 
  • Current valid First-Aid and CPR cards required before June 17th.
  • At least 18 years old with reliable transportation


  • Have or working toward a degree in education, natural sciences, or related field.
  • Experience team teaching, either formally or informally.
  • Familiarity with community building techniques. 
  • Passion for Justice, Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion. 
  • Informal education experience at a zoo, aquarium, nature center, science center or museum.

Additional Information
Please include a COVER LETTER with the required online application form explaining why you think you would be a great addition to the Camp Instructor team.

Group interview is Saturday, March 4th, 2023 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Attendance is required – if you are unavailable, please still consider applying and reach out to

  • Camps sessions run June 22nd – August 25th, 2023. 
  • Work schedule during camp weeks is Monday through Friday, approximately 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participation in all camp instructor training is required. 
  • Some remote meetings will be held on scheduled evenings in June. 
  • In person training dates are June 17th and the 20th-24th. Metro Parks Tacoma recognizes June 19th – Juneteenth as a holiday. 


  • Be active and mobile for extended periods of time.
  • Lifting and carrying equipment as needed.
  • Leading a large group throughout the zoo and aquarium in both light and dark conditions


  • Indoor and outdoor environment in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Extensive contact with the public.

Contact with dissatisfied or abusive individuals.

All qualified persons will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, political affiliation, disability or any other merit factor. Members of ethnic minorities, women, special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam-era, recently separated veterans, and other protected veterans, persons of disability and/or persons age 40 and over are encouraged to apply.

MPT employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

MPT is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Human Resource (253) 305-1089 or

Employment is subject to a national background check. This position is an at-will position with no written or implied contractual agreement.

To Apply
Please Apply on Metro Parks Tacoma Job and Internship Opportunities website: