The Watch Leader Program at Mystic Seaport Internship in Environmental Education at the Joseph Conrad Overnight Sailing Camp

The Watch Leader Program at Mystic Seaport

Internship in Environmental Education at the Joseph Conrad Overnight Sailing Camp

 The Joseph Conrad Overnight Sailing Camp at Mystic Seaport is seeking 2 Williams College interns with an interest in environmental science and education.  Conrad Camp is entering its 69th year of fostering youth development and connection to place through maritime training.  In this unique residential sailing program, campers sleep aboard the historic sailing ship Joseph Conrad, learn to sail a dinghy, and have the opportunity to participate in maritime history, astronomy, and environmental science programming.  Almost 100 years ago, the Conrad sailed around the world with a crew of youth; we’ll spend each week of camp learning what life aboard was like for those young mariners.

The program is seeking two highly motivated Williams College students to serve as shipboard Watch Leaders and environmental science instructors for the Summer 2018 season.  The time commitment is June 4-Aug. 24. The program is ideal for candidates with an interest in teaching, outdoor education, sailing education, maritime history, or museum studies.


  • Serve as a caring and open-minded role model for campers aged 10-15 and Counselors in Training aged 16-18.
  • Live in semi-private cabins aboard the (renovated) historic vessel Joseph Conrad during two weeks of staff training, nine weeks of camp, and one week of “clean-up.”
  • Supervise residential campers.
  • Aid instructors in teaching sailing lessons and other activities on land and on the water. Plan and co-teach four innovative science lessons per week under the guidance of camp instructors.
  • Prepare a weekly update on the status of ongoing efforts to improve the quality of the program’s environmental education, connection to place, and environmental responsibility.
  • Oversee the camp’s compliance with Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regattas initiative.
  • Participate in activities including sailing, climbing the ship’s rigging, operating a safety powerboat (training provided), maritime skill lessons, skit nights, and other fun and silly camp games.
  • Adhere to all camp safety guidelines and set a positive example for campers.
  • Participate in basic equipment maintenance and other routine camp duties, including one week of “clean-up” and record keeping at the close of the season.
  • Watch Leaders work Sunday-Friday as part of the camp staff “watch system,” which includes significant blocks of time off every day. A willingness to work a flexible schedule (given in advance) according to the needs of the camp is essential.

Necessary Qualifications:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Experience with and enthusiasm for working with youth
  • Coursework or equivalent experience in ecology, marine biology, environmental science, astronomy, or related fields
  • Sailing experience, or the willingness to learn about the sport before staff training begins
  • NASBLA safe boating certification, or willingness to obtain
  • The ability to work outdoors in hot, cold, muddy, and wet conditions
  • The ability to help lift small sailboats and other equipment
  • Swimming ability
  • Strong teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills; patience, flexibility, and a great sense of humor

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Experience working in summer camp settings
  • Experience supervising youth in a residential setting
  • Informal teaching experience, preferably in an outdoor, environmental, or scientific context
  • US Sailing Level 1 instructor certification
  • Lifeguard certification


Watch Leaders receive a $4400 stipend as well as comfortable shipboard housing and three gourmet meals per day (while camp is in session) at the museum restaurant.

Watch Leaders enjoy behind-the-scenes access to museum grounds, facilities, and extensive collections. CPR & first aid certification, in addition to water safety, leadership, and youth development training, are included as part of summer staff training.

Additional Benefits:

Spend your summer in a picturesque New England beach town! Newport, RI is just an hour away and a train station within walking distance runs directly to Boston and New York. Camp staff enjoy use of our fleet of kayaks, sailboats, and row boats. Summer interns with an interest in any aspects of maritime history including ships, engines, music, art, or other crafts have the opportunity to explore the museum’s research collections and to be mentored by world-renowned museum experts.

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information for two professional references to [email protected]. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.  Preferred candidate review begins March 15.  Questions are welcome by email or phone (860-572-5369).