ANIMAL SPECIALIST IN TRAINING PROGRAM
Leaders are not born, they are grown. It takes hard work and practice to develop leadership skills. Unfortunately, the most popular method of educating youth today is to ask them to sit down, be quiet, listen and write. At Cub Creek, we believe the best way to grow leadership skills is through practice!
The ASIT program was created with this idea in mind. We give high potential teenagers the opportunity to see, learn, and apply leadership skill in the fun and safe environment of summer camp. Our ASITs are role models and are looked up to by our campers. Because these teens are expected to lead by example, take on responsibility, and exercise independence, the ASIT Program is invitation ONLY and highly selective.
Who are the ASITs and What Do they Do?
At Cub Creek, our primary teen-leadership program is called the ASIT , Animal Specialist in Training, Program. Our ASITs are campers who have responsibilities around camp including assisting in the animal area during each morning's animal rounds. They are also role models at camp and are expected to be upholding camp rules, who are kind to others and are willing to meet someone new, and are enthusiastic about camp. ASITs are prepared to be silly and/or step out of their comfort zone in order to help enrich another’s camp experience. ASITs have opportunities to express and develop leadership and communication skills throughout the day by working alongside counselors for a cabin, assisting in camp’s activities, and occasionally helping during Evening Activity.
What Does an ASIT Gain from Camp?
When an ASIT leaves Cub Creek Science Camp at the end of the summer, our ultimate goal is that they are a more confident, skilled, and compassionate individual. We believe that day-to-day, camp is creating incredible individuals who naturally become more confident after being able to get 16 kids to sing a silly camp song with them; more skilled after learning how to halter and walk a llama; and more compassionate after helping a camper overcome homesickness.
We work very hard to intentionally work skill building into the ASIT Program. ASITs are given the opportunities to practice public speaking and boost the self-esteem of campers in many ways during a camp session. They also have dedicated counselors and leadership who plan enriching activities for them to discuss communication and team-work. ASITs also exercise their independence and ability to problem solve when working on solo-tasks and with their adopted cabins.
Former ASITs over the years have gone on to do amazing things. They have used their gained skills to apply for Veterinarian School, Animal Internships, and Prestigious Universities all over the country!
ASITs in the Animal Area
One of the favorite aspects of this program for many ASITs is the time spent with camp's animals. Over the course of a session, our ASITs can gain experience with an incredible variety of animals. ASITs assist our Animal Team each morning with taking care of camp's 300 animals. They learn basic care and feeding skills within this time we call "Morning Rounds". ASITs receive special hands-on training at the start of their session and throughout their stay; This one-on-one training is not offered to our other campers. During activity periods, ASIT assist campers in learning about and interacting with our animals. And because ASITs are trained in the safety of our animals, they are trusted to spend one-on-one time with our animals in their free periods!
Things Just for ASITs
Our ASIT team is incredibly hard working and has many responsibilities that help us make camp what it is. Because of this, we believe ASITs deserve opportunities to rest, enjoy their own camp experience, and spend time with their fellow ASITs. ASITs have smaller privileges like having their own break/meeting lounge and being allowed to keep their electronics/cell phones while at camp. We also have planned activities for ASITs to have their own unique events. ASITs have special time scheduled for their enjoyment of the ropes course and one afternoon each session is spent away from camp on a special ASIT bonding activity. These special day events are planned as a way of showing appreciation for our ASITs and are intended to encourage group bonding.
In giving ASITs more responsibility, we also believe that they deserve some added privileges!
The ASIT Lounge. ASITs are given a lounge as a meeting space and an area to relax on their breaks. This space was given to our ASITs in 2013 and has been a wonderful addition to the Program! The lounge is supervised by the ASIT Leaders and is a place for ASITs to work on projects, relax, and spend time together. The lounge also offers a space for the ASITs to keep their snacks and electronics.
Cell phones. A huge part of being at camp is being "tech free". We believe that in order to be able to experience camp to its fullest, you must be willing to not hide behind a screen and step outside of your comfort zone. Campers do not have their phones to help them get into all that camp has to offer without the distractions of technology. We want the same experience for ASIT. However, because they hold so many responsibilities around camp, we want them to be able to contact their ASIT Leaders, the Animal Team and Camp Management if they needed.
ASIT Outings. In addition, one afternoon each session is spent away from camp on a special ASIT bonding activity. This activity has evolved over the years to be focused on bonding. These special day events are planned as a way of showing appreciation for our ASITs.
We help our ASIT build confidence through preparation. To help them prepare we have developed a special ASIT orientation that begins one day earlier than our typical camp sessions. During this orientation, ASIT will bond as a group, learn each others' names and interests, get a sneak peak of all the changes that have happened at camp in the last year, and practice skills needed to put them comfortably into a leadership role from the moment campers arrive the next afternoon.
The training even begins before they arrive at camp! In the months leading up to summer, we will start some pre-camp training. To start, ASITs will be sent an ASIT manual. This guide is full of useful information that they should carefully read before their session start date. The ASIT Manual outlines expectations and also gives helpful tips to being successful as an ASIT at camp! Each year pre-camp training varies, but it often includes discussion on videos related to leadership, thoughtful emails about working with different personalities, and aims to get our ASITs in the right mindset for this role at camp.
So, You Want to Be an ASIT?
We are often asked by campers and parents how they/their camper can become an ASIT. This *new* section is here to help! We realize that sometimes it's hard to ask exactly all the information you need to know! We also want to be sure that campers who don't attend every year of camp know that they too can come back as ASITs!
What Do We Look for In ASITs?
As mentioned before, ASITs have a lot responsibility at camp. As you read this page, you will see that they work with us in the animal area, assist with camp classes, and spend time with our camper cabins. They are role-models who are important to the everyday camp operation! It is for this reason that ASITs should be first and foremost be responsible leaders who are able to uphold and follow camp's rules and also lead by example in positive attitudes and positive interactions with our campers, staff, and their fellow ASITs.
Every ASIT grows while in the program to develop skills in communication, team-work, collaboration, and more! But in order to be invited to the program and stay a part of the program, we should see that each ASIT is upholding the expectations of camp. That is why, prior to being an ASIT, we look for campers who: follow camp rules without having to be asked or repeatedly reminded; who are inclusive and kind to the campers in their cabin and around camp; who offer to volunteer to help even when not asked to; and who showed interest in our skill-building camp activities like ASIT for a Day and the LIT Program.
Who is Eligible?
The ASIT Program is for highschoolers who are current/past Cub Creek campers. All ASITs should be in highschool, having finished at least 9th grade, while in the program (no exceptions!). We also require that all ASITs have attended Cub Creek in the past for at least one year. Because there are so many responsibilities around camp, we want to make sure that our ASITs understand the camp schedule, camp rules, and how to navigate around camp comfortably! Anyone who fits that basic criteria is eligible for the program.
The Invitation Process
Each year, our camp staff contribute highly to letting us know who we should invite to camp as an ASIT in the coming summer. They submit their "Recommendations" for campers in their cabin and campers who take classes like ASIT for a Day and the LIT course. That information is gathered by our Assistant Director, Ari, who then compiles an invitation list.
There are 3 basic criteria that our Assistant Director uses to compile the invitation list:
1. Recommendations from their Cabin Staff. Each eligible camper will have recommendation information from their camp counselors. They let us know if during their time at camp they exhibited potential for the program.
2. Recommendations from LIT and/or ASIT for a Day. If a camper took LIT or ASIT for a Day, they will have a recommendation from that instructor letting us know their potential.
3. A Letter of Interest written to camp. We HIGHLY encourage campers who are interested in the program to write a letter of interest and send it via mail or email to camp.
Each staff recommendation is based off the following 8 categories: Judgement, Dependability, Communication, Teamwork, Leadership, Language, and Camp Rules. With guided information to go with each category, cabin counselors work together to comprehensively assess a camper's ASIT readiness in these areas. LIT and ASIT for a Day use the same 8 categories to formulate their own independent recommendations for eligible campers. A camper's letter of interest helps to boost their standing in the invitation process. Campers who take the time to write a well-thought-out letter about their own potential while also having great recommendations stand a better chance of being invited to the Program!
How to "Apply"
There is no formal application for the program. All the eligible campers from the last year of camp are placed into a spreadsheet with all their recommendation information. This is why we HIGHLY suggest that every camper who is interested in the Program send in a letter of interest! The letter of interest not only shows that that camper is serious about the opportunity, but it also gives campers the chance to lay out what they have done in the past to be considered highly for the program. The letter also gives campers who may not have attended camp in the year before their eligibility the chance to re-enter in the running. * Campers who did not attend camp in 2020 MUST write a letter of interest in order to be considered for the 2021 ASIT Program. *
The Letter of Interest
Let's talk about this "Letter of Interest". We would like to stress the importance of this letter to campers who are hoping to be seen as a candidate for this program. You have surely noted that we put "HIGHLY suggest" several times about writing the letter, but just as important as submitting the letter is the letter's content. This letter has no formal "criteria" but to help potential ASITs express their candidacy for being invited we say that a letter should contain:
- Why are you a good fit for the ASIT Program?
- What have you done at camp or outside of camp to prepare you for this role?
- What are you hoping to gain from the Program?
- What are you hoping to give to camp?
Letters should be well-thought-out, attention to grammar and spelling should be considered, and they should be written professionally. While we love creativity at camp, letters should be either neatly written or typed, formatted appropriately, and should be mailed to camp's address or emailed. Please refrain from writing letters on construction paper, postcards, etc. A well written, professional, mature, and comprehensive letter goes a LONG way!
ASIT Program Dates & Rates
Find our session dates and rates below! * The ASIT Program is invitation ONLY *
You will find colored dots to signify availability for boys and girls in each ASIT session. When a red dot appears, you should call prior to registering. Red indicates that this session for boy/girl is very close to closing and spots may have been filled. Black indicates that session for a boy/girl is filled and currently only taking waitlist registrations. Please call for any questions you may have!
*A non refundable deposit of $250 per week is required with each registration. We cannot guarantee your space without this deposit.
To see how each ASIT session corresponds with a Cub Creek camper session, look at the table below.
ASIT Drop Off is the Saturday evening of their session, from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Green - Open Availability
Yellow - Limited Availability
Red - Session Closing
Black - Waitlist Only
Dates, Rates, and Availability
ASIT 1= Camper Week 1 & Week 2
ASIT 2= Camper Week 3 & Week 4
ASIT 3A= Camper Week 5
ASIT 4= Camper Week 6 & Week 7
ASIT 5= Camper Week 8 & Week 9
ASIT 6A= Camper Week 10
ASIT Combined Summer Adventure Dates & RatesCombine time at Cub Creek in the ASIT Program with two weeks on the island of Jamaica! In all options, campers come to Cub Creek Science Camp first then travel with our team to the island of Jamaica for two weeks.
Green - Open Availability
Yellow - Limited Availability
Red - Session Closing
Black - Waitlist Only
Shuttle FeesPlease see the chart below to plan arrival/departure of an ASIT. Times in YELLOW are our preferred times. Remember that ASITs arrive and depart from camp on Saturdays.
INCOMING - Arriving to Camp - Saturday
|ASIT||10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.||11:01 A.M. - 11:59 A.M.||12:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.||3:01 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.||4:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.|
|*SouthWest Airlines (Remote Terminal)||$235||$185||$135||$185||$235|
*Anything outside of the above times is $315.00*
OUTGOING - Leaving Camp - Saturday
|All Campers||1:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.||4:01 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.||5:01 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.|
|*SouthWest Airlines (Remote Terminal)||$165||$215||$250|
*Anything outside of the above times is $315.00*
There is a lot of information here! So for quick answers, check out this FAQ section!
- Who are the ASITs?
- How old does an ASIT have to be?
- Do ASITs have to pay for camp?
- When will I know if I/my camper has been invited to the Program?
- How many ASITs are there?
- How are ASITs invited to the program?
- How will I know that I/my camper is ready to be an ASIT?
- What if I/my camper doesn't want to be an ASIT?
- What steps can I take to be prepared to be an ASIT?
- Who are the ASIT counselors?
- What is the difference between the ASIT Program and general camp?
- What if we get an invite and we are already signed up for the Cub Creek camper program?
- What if I/my camper did't come to camp the summer I/they can be invited?
Who are the ASITs?
The ASITs are our teen-leadership campers. They were individually invited to the Program by camp's Director team based on their leadership skills and potential as Cub Creek campers. They help assist in the animal area for morning rounds, assist in classes, and have an "adopted" cabin that they help in every day. You can read more about ASITs at the very top of this page in the "Who are the ASITs" section.
How old does an ASIT have to be?
Campers must be in highschool to be a participant in the ASIT Program. At the time of their ASIT session, each participant should have completed at least the 9th grade.
Do ASITs have to pay for camp?
The ASIT Program is still a part of Cub Creek's camper program. The ASITs are in a position of leadership, but they still have counselors and a Program that is dedicated to their growth and learning. ASITs pay the same tuition rate as campers. You can find the rates for the ASIT program in the "ASIT Program Dates & Rates" table.
When will I know if I/my camper have been invited to the Program?
Invitations begin to go out in mid-September after camp. Campers being invited will get both an invitation in the mail and an email sent to the parents.
How many ASITs are there?
There is one ASIT cabin for males and one for females each with 16 bunks. The ASIT Program is maxed at 32 total campers per ASIT session.
How are ASITs invited to the program?
Our summer camp staff gives our Assistant Director a "Recommendation" for all of our eligible campers (going into at least the 9th grade in the Fall). Based on those recommendations and each camper's participation in ASIT for a Day, LIT, and a written letter of Interest our Assistant Director will compile a list of invites for the coming summer's ASIT Program. Because there are only 16 spots in each week for male and female ASITs, and because many ASITs return to the program, the list of invites is highly selective. Campers who have stellar recommendations from our camp staff, have taken LIT and ASIT for a Day AND received outstanding recommendations from those instructors, wrote a Letter of Interest and who in their time/years at camp an ability to follow and uphold camp rules, can be trusted with more freedom and independence, and who have shown great potential for the program are invited first in September. The invitation process typically ends in mid-October and the end is signaled with an email to all our eligible aged families letting them know invitations are done for the year.
How do I know if I/my camper is ready to be an ASIT?
We notice and appreciate the growth in campers over their time here to know that as they grow here they show new skills and abilities. We believe that the most important sign for "if someone is ready to be an ASIT" is less about the "hard skills" they have and more about them be WILLING and ABLE to step out of their comfort zone to help make another camper's experience at camp better. ASITs should be RESPONSIBLE, DEPENDABLE, and TRUSTWORTHY. Not only do ASITs have to complete the tasks given to them in their assisting duties, but they are should be trusted to do the right thing on their daily breaks. We can help train ASITs in communication skills, working with animals, and assisting in classes and cabins. But we cannot "train" trust, dependability, or responsibility. We think that in determining whether or not you/your camper is ready consider this: When everyone else is doing something the wrong way or breaking the rules, and you/they know there is a right way or the proper rules, are you/they the one who will do what is right or do what everyone else is doing?
What if I/my camper doesn't want to be an ASIT?
That is OKAY! We think that there is value in also wanting to be a camper for a long as they want/can! Sometimes, our campers want to wait until they feel ready or they don't necessarily feel like the ASIT program resonates with them. We welcome campers all the way until 17 so we still want them here with us at camp!
What steps can I/my camper take to be prepared to be an ASIT?
Our staff are typically college students, with a love of animals, science, children, and the outdoors. Many of them are education, science, or animal science majors. We also hire former campers of Cub Creek!
Who are the ASIT counselors?
We call the counselors for our ASITs the "ASIT Leaders". Like our counselors, they live with the ASITs in their cabin and are responsible for the ASITs daily schedules, program needs, and are their go-to counselors for advice or help. Like all our camp staff, they must complete an in-depth application and interview. A clean background check, accurate employment history, and good references are also mandatory. Our Assisant Director oversees the ASIT Program! As a former ASIT Leader (2013) herself, she is passionate about the success of the ASITs and their experience and growth in the Program. You can read more about her HERE!
What is the difference between the ASIT Program and Cub Creek's general camper program?
ASITs don't partake in the activities offered for our general camper program. Instead they assist with those activities. ASITs are most commonly found in the animal area, but they also assist at Ropes Course, arts activities and any other activity that requires extra help. ASITs have additional responsibilities added to their daily schedule including Morning Rounds every morning at 7 am, time with their adopted cabin at 9 am and again after evening activities, daily group meetings during lunch, and weekly training after dinner. ASIT sessions also require a non-refundable deposit of $250 per week as opposed to the non-refundable $100 deposit required for the camper program. We ask for this commitment because inviting ASITs is an in-depth process and once all the invites have been sent out for the year, we do not invite more campers. ASITs also have special privileges at camp like having a once a week outing away from camp, their own lounge, breaks, and their cell phones.
What if we get an invite and we are already signed up for the Cub Creek camper program?
That is alright! We are able to transfer your registration into the ASIT Program. Since the deposits for the ASIT Program is $250 per-week, you will have to pay the remaining amount left to hold your ASIT's spot. But that is not a problem at all 🙂
What if I/my camper did't come to camp the summer I can be invited?
Campers are invited to the program starting the year they enter highschool. If you/your camper did not attend camp the summer before you were eligible and therefore did not get the most recent recommendations from our camp staff, you can still write a Letter of Interest and send it in to camp! The deadline is the 1st of September each year, so write one quickly before invitations are finalized! If you attended Animal Camp Jamaica, we do recommendations for that program! The ACJ counselors turn in ASIT Recommendations for that program like our counselors at Cub Creek do. Again, we suggest that anyone- a camper last summer or not write a letter to show their interest and increase the chances of being invited. If you have never attended Cub Creek, you are not eligible to be invited to Cub Creek's ASIT Program.
ASIT Hours and Experience Log
ASITs gain many community service/volunteering time from their time in this role at camp! We have made a comprehensive log to help them calculate their hours and describe their time as an ASIT. You can download the log here! If your ASIT needs another form signed, you can email that you camp's Assistant Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.