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Orkila Summer Staff Info!

This page is meant for staff who are working at Camp Orkila for the 2019 Summer Season. Welcome!! 

If you're interested in learning more, you can view a full copy of our staff manual here


Employment Eligibility Reminders

Background Check:
All staff must pass a pre-employment background check performed by the YMCA of Greater Seattle

Drug Test:
All staff must pass a pre-employment drug test which will be conducted within 48 hours of your start date. We are testing for both legal and illegal substances through a urine sample. For more information regarding the human body and legal substances in Washington State, please click here


Required Certification:
All staff must hold a current CPR/First Aid certification, valid through end of employment agreement with Camp Orkila. If you are still in need of a certification, we suggest checking with your local Y, Fire Department, colleges/universities in your area, or one of the following acceptable certifying bodies.

Staff Training

All trainings will take place at
YMCA Camp Orkila
Please note these start dates and times are for Summer 2019.
Assistant Directors: 2:30pm on Monday, June 3rd, 2019
Aquatics Program Counselors: 2:30pm on Thursday, June 6, 2019
Adventure Team Program Counselors: 9:00am on Saturday, June 8, 2019 or 9:00 am on Tuesday, June 18th
Unit Directors: 9:00am on Monday, June 10, 2019
Teen Expeditions: 9:00am on Monday, June 10, 2019
Arts and Earth Program Counselors: 2:30pm on Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Riding Instructor Program Counselors: 2:30pm on Thursday, June 6, 2019
Day Camp Counselor: 2:30pm on Monday, June 17, 2019
Cabin Counselor NEW (first year on staff): 2:30pm on Monday, June 17, 2019
Cabin Counselor RETURNING (If you have attended a staff training at Orkila as an OSI or staff): 10:00am on Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Getting to Camp Orkila

We are located in the beautiful San Juan Islands of Washington State, on Orcas Island. Staff are responsible for their own transportation to Camp Orkila, and we hope the following information will help you solidify your travel plans. The Staff 2016 Facebook page is an additional resource for you to connect with one another on carpooling/coordinating travel plans. Please keep in mind that the start date of your contract is the day you will being training at Orkila. Different positions have different start times, please make a note of yours and ensure that you arrive on camp property before then. For those coming from far away, we will do our best to accommodate you the night before your training begins. Keep in mind this is on an as needed basis as we do currently have other programs running, and will have limited capacity on camp property.

Driving to Camp Orkila

The most common way to get to Orcas is by driving to Anacortes, WA and then taking a ferry to Orcas. Anacortes is about a 1.5 - 2 hour drive from Seattle, and the ferry ride to Orcas is about 1 hour. If you are driving to camp, be sure to make a reservation for your ferry, and arrive in the designated time-window. To learn about the reservation system and to make a reservation please visit: Washington State Ferries Reservations

Driving from the Orcas Island Ferry Landing to Camp Orkila:
When you drive off the ferry, take a left after the boarding ramp (most vehicles will be going this way) and follow this road, Orcas Road, for about 11 miles (18 km) until you come to Mt. Baker Road. Make a left here and follow it all the way to Camp Orkila. Look for a large sign on the left near the end of that road! Parking for the summer is available in Foxfire Field, the large grassy field on the left as you drive in. There will be signs and probably people directing you.

Flying to Eastsound

Eastsound, WA is the main town on Orcas Island, and the airport is just down the road from Camp Orkila. Kenmore Air charters flights there on small planes, or sea planes. It costs more, but it's a lot faster (40 minutes from Seattle!) and offers beautiful views.

Walking onto the Ferry

If you are getting dropped off at the ferry landing in Anacortes or arriving via the Airporter Shuttle, then you can walk onto the ferry, and we will pick you up once you arrive at Orcas Island. We can only guarantee transportation for the ferry that coincides with the start time of training. If you must arrive on a different boat, let us know and we will do our best to pick you up. We encourage carpooling and connecting with other staff to both save money and make friends! There is the Orcas Island Taxi in case a ride is unavailable.

Flying to Seattle

If you are arriving by plane, you are most likely flying into Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA), located in the city of SeaTac, which is 13 mi (21 km) south of Seattle, about a 20-min drive. The Central Link light rail provides service from the airport to Seattle in 35 minutes. Read on to “getting from Seattle to Anacortes.”

Getting from Seattle to Anacortes

You may drive yourself, get a ride with someone else, or take public transportation. The Airporter Shuttle leaves right from the airport and will take you to Anacortes, with one transfer along the way. To carpool, please use the staff Facebook group to connect with others who may have an extra seat in their car.


What to bring to camp

During staff training and in between camp sessions, we will stay in a few different cabins. With one of camp's luggage carts, we should be able to carry our belongings from Point A to Point B. Try to balance packing light with being prepared and comfortable. Keep in mind that you may be jumping in the cold ocean and rolling around in mud pits, and you can sweat in the sun and then walk into the shade and feel cold. Nights also get chilly, especially toward the end of the summer. *Label belongings with your name, especially electronics and other valuable items. Due to the number of things lost every summer, we cannot stress this enough!

Please do not bring clothing that relates to or promotes the use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, weapons, violence or profanity.

Please do bring:
T-shirts, Shorts, Jeans / Trousers, Sweaters / Jumpers, Warm Jacket (Fleece), Rain Jacket, Hat / Baseball Cap (think sun!), A Watch (mobile phones don't count!), Socks, Underwear, *Close-Toed Shoes and Comfortable Shoes (Sneakers, etc.), Sandals (something that can go in the water), Sleepwear, Swimsuit (Should be modest for everybody).

Goof Ball is held once a week, for which dressing up in goofy outfits is highly recommended. We encourage you to bring as many costume-like pieces as you wish!
Formal Dinners happen every week in which we can reflect on the week's adventures and enjoy our newly formed camp friendships where you are invited to wear more formal attire (please use your best judgment in appropriateness of dress as camp dress codes still applies)
Get Wet, Get Dirty" and other activities, give us the chance to get muddy, so bring some clothes that you can use for this :)

*Close-toed shoes and long pants are required for all of our challenge course elements and for horseback riding.


Bring whatever you would like to sleep in all summer. This could be a sleeping bag. It could be your down comforter from home. Maybe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sheets. Maybe you put sheets on your twin sized mattress AND use a sleeping bag. It's really up to you! Keep in mind that sand and dirt are easily tracked into our cabins.


  • Sunscreen

  • Chapstick

  • Soap

  • Shampoo/Conditioner

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Floss

  • Towel and Washcloth


  • Flashlight / Torch (Headlamps are especially useful)

  • Watch *cell phones are not acceptable time telling devices around campers

  • Battery-operated alarm clock

  • Water bottle

  • Backpack, Day Pack, or Bum Bag

  • Notebook

  • Personal medication


  • Musical Instruments (highly encouraged)

  • Camera

  • iPod / Portable Music Device

  • Laptop

  • Mobile Phone

  • Self-Care related items (eg: books, journal, face masks, art supplies, anything you need for fitness, your favorite pillow)

We strive to make Camp a completely safe place. However, with so many people coming through, we encourage everyone to be conservative in what they bring to camp, particularly when it comes to electronics and anything valuable. There will be a secure room in the Camp Store where personal items can be checked in and out during set hours, including electronics that need charging.