Summer Staff Guide
Thank you for your interest in Wildwood Hills Ranch of Iowa! We are excited that you are passionate about being a part of our life-changing programs and serving children at-risk.
Here are a few answers to FAQ’s and tips for what to expect when you join our summer program team
Q: When should I arrive at Wildwood?
A: Director & Support Staff: May 21 / All other summer staff: May 27
Q: What happens the first week?
A: You will have training the first week until Friday early evening. You will then have the weekend off and are expected to arrive back at the Ranch at 7pm on Sunday. Training involves spiritual development and team/community building and is position specific.
Q: When do kids arrive at Wildwood for summer programming?
A: Kids arrive June 4 for summer programming.
Q: What will my schedule be like?
A: You will be on duty at the Ranch Monday – Friday. Your weekend will begin at approximately 4pm on Friday and you will be expected back at the Ranch by 7pm on Sunday.
Q: Is there any holiday time?
A: Yes, you will have June 29th @ 4pm until Friday, July 6th off. From Friday, July 6th – July 8th is a spiritual leadership retreat for summer staff to attend before the second half of summer programming begins.
Q: What are my accommodations like?
A: Bunk house style living and you will be sharing a bathroom with kids and staff members. Flashlights and alarm clocks are typically provided. We recommend that bring your own bedding (sheets, comforter etc.) but it’s not required. And, that you bring a shower caddy.
Q: What should I pack?
A: Great question! Check out this list here.
Q: Do I bring my own car?
A: You are welcome to bring your own vehicle (we have plenty of parking) but if you don’t have one don’t worry as there are always plenty of people willing to carpool on-site.
Q: What will I get paid?
A: The starting stipend for staff members is $150 per week. Depending on your position your stipend amount may increase. Ask us about potential monetary signing bonus opportunities for joining our team within a time window and for referring a friend (if hired) to join our team.
Q: What’s the food situation like?
A: Meals/Snacks: You can bring your own snacks (we have adequate but limited storage) but we do provide kid-friendly meals as well as a salad bar. You will get to eat with the kids and staff 3x’s per day Mon-Fri plus 1-2 extra snacks are given throughout the day (afternoon canteen and house parents often provide an evening snack). Weekend meals will be on your own.
Q: What does an example of a day during summer programming look like for summer staff?
-Wake-up/Breakfast @ 7am
-Rotations Session 1 (Examples: Team Building, Art, Creative Arts, Agriculture, Fitness, Aquatics, Equine (Horses) )
-Rotations Session 2
-Canteen (Afternoon Snack)
-Rotations Session 3
-Bed time for Ranchers @9:30pm
-Staff Nightly meeting 1
-Staff Nightly meeting 2
-Staff in Bunks by 11pm
Q: What are fun things to do in the area on weekends?
A: Great question! Here are some ideas…
Downtown Des Moines: Farmer’s Market, East Village Shops, Sculpture Garden, Capitol, Science Center, Gray’s Lake Park (paddle board/boat rentals available) I-Cubs games at Principal Park
Des Moines Area: The Art Center, Greenwood Park, Racoon River Park, Jordan Creek Shopping Center, Valley Junction shopping, Jester Park (large nature area, biking, camping, wildlife and golfing)
Des Moines Area Restaurant Recommendations: La Mie Bakery, Gateway Market, Exile, Iowa Tap Room, Old West, Eatery A, The Cheese Bar, Tursi’s Latin King, Centro, South Union Bread Café, Fuzzy’s Tacos, Blaze Pizza, Jethro’s, The Drake Diner, Waveland Café
Q: What are some other things that would be helpful for a summer staffer to know?
Our students that are ages 8-12
Our students that are ages 13-15/16
Leaders for Life
Our students that are ages 15/16-18
Girl Group Categories (ages are approximate)
Does (age 8)
Fillies (age 9)
Bears (age 10)
Otters (age 11)
Eagles (age 12)
Boy Group Categories (ages are approximate)
Bucks (age 8)
Elk (age 9)
Bison (age 10)
Hawks (age 11)
Wolf Pack (age 12)
Additional Helpful Tip
Our young leader boys’ summer program runs for 2 weeks in June. Our young leader girls’ summer program runs for 2 weeks in July.
Please contact Genelle Engelhoven with any questions you may have at: firstname.lastname@example.org