NCOF offers unique work experiences for teens. Through farm work, they learn new skills, problem solve, and become good citizens and leaders.
Leader in Training (LIT) / Ages 14-16
8:30 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
The LIT position is an unpaid, volunteer opportunity for motivated teens to assist in one or more weeks of our 10-week summer program with children ages 3-11. LITs learn from and work alongside our summer staff as we educate kids about farming, food, the environment, and sustainability. If you would like to explore the field of farm work, outdoor education, or teaching, you might be a great fit as an LIT!
APPLY: To ask questions or apply, LIT candidates (not parents) must email 1-2 paragraphs explaining their interest to the Assistant Farm Director of Education at [email protected]. Please include emails and phone numbers of two references (adults from a school, religious organization, job, Scouts, sports, etc.).
Teen Work Crew TWC/ Ages 15-18
8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Our TWC program offers paid, mentored work experience for teens. Teens work 24 hours per week, and scheduled for 2-4 weeks in a 10-week summer. TWC tackles the “big jobs” around the farm, such as fencing, mowing, splitting wood, rebuilding animal enclosures, and more.
APPLY: To ask questions or apply, TWC candidates (not parents) must email 1-2 paragraphs explaining their interest to Casey Townsend, Farm Executive Director, at [email protected] between February 1‑March 31. (Early applications will not be accepted.) Prospective candidates will be invited to a 2-hour work interview in April (date TBD) before final hiring decisions are made by April 23.
Mentoring Teens through Agriculture Apprentice Program / Ages 14-17
This program provides year-round job training and paid work experience to teens who wish to master the wide range of skills it takes to run a diversified farm. Candidates are selected by farm staff based on participation in other farm programs for their skills and “can do” attitudes. By working closely with farm staff and each other, Apprentices tackle independent projects, building confidence and leadership abilities while forming life-long friendships. Many go on to school and careers in agriculture. This program is by invitation-only from the Farm Executive Director.
What Our Teens Say:
“I used power tools to help build a table for the Gnome home. I’m really proud of that–maybe not of the table itself–but of the journey to build the table. I’ve learned how to be a leader here too, and that it’s OK to make mistakes.” – A.
“I’ve learned to think for myself, and to take responsibility. To listen more and to talk less. My favorite moment was Casey teaching me to drive the tractor.“ – J.
“I’ve gotten to know an awesome group of people here. I like working with others and being part of a team.” – G.
“I’ve learned farm skills, but I think I’ve learned more life skills, like working with people. When you’re leading people, they don’t always work up to your expectations. You have to be able to account for that.” – G.
What Their Parents Say:
“Initially my teen was unsure…within the week, she was explaining to me the intricacies of building a successful rabbit hutch and asking me if she’d be free enough to sign up for a regular gig during the year. Novel thinking and learning about nature will help her to grow and the farm to deliver.”—R.
“Working physically gives the kids troubleshooting skills that you just don’t learn typing on a computer.”—C.
“The program is great because it allows him to be outside, work with others, and feel the accomplishment of getting projects done. It has given him independence with purpose.”—A.