NBTSC Worktrades, 2017

Here’s what you need to know before applying for a worktrade.
After you’ve digested all this and are sure you want to apply, you’ll do that online.
(Simple to do after you’ve registered for camp.)

Application deadline: March 31

Important info for all worktrade applicants

For campers with special skills and for families who couldn’t otherwise afford NBTSC, we offer a variety of worktrade positions. Here’s what you need to know before applying. Please read carefully to avoid misunderstandings!

If it is important to you to get into NBTSC with a reduced fee, we encourage you to apply for as many types of worktrades as you would be willing to accept. The most difficult positions to get are often (but not always)  full worktrades – we strongly encourage you to apply for one if you like to work hard, but you stand a better chance of getting some kind of assistance if you’re also willing to take a partial trade. (We give full worktrades to just a few reliable, hardworking people we know from previous camps; financial need is a factor, but less important than the applicant’s ability to convince us that we’ll be happy we chose her/him.) If we can’t give you the kind of worktrade you say you’re interested in, it’s possible we’ll offer you another option.

Also, while you can specify all kinds of parameters when you apply for a worktrade—kinds of work you aren’t willing to do, limiting the number of hours you want to work during camp, etc.—the more limits you set, the less likely we will choose you.  Seems like common sense to us, but sometimes there are so many stipulations on a person’s application that we wonder if this thought hasn’t occurred to them.

In order to apply for any kind of worktrade, you must also register for camp and send in a deposit, by March 31. If you do not receive a worktrade you are not obligated to attend NBTSC.  When you register, you will be asked whether you will attend NBTSC whether or not you receive a worktrade. Answer “no” if you want your deposit back.

We rarely give worktrades to one individual for more than one session per year. Also, people who are planning to attend more than one session of camp do get lower priority, since our purpose is mainly to make it possible for people who can’t afford camp to be able to come to at least one session. There are exceptions to these policies, though. In fact, it occasionally happens that we’ll give a full worktrade to someone rock-solid for one or even two sessions, and they attend as a regular camper another session also.

We take all applications seriously, and try to give trades to as many people as possible, sometimes even when we need to exceed our budget to do so. For this reason, we ask you also to take this process seriously, and to apply only if you really need financial assistance and sincerely want to take on the responsibility of a worktrade.


Notes on filling out the application

In most cases, the camper and parents should collaborate. If an application describes the parents’ financial situation (most do), then parents must at the very least read it over and sign it.

Say enough.

The application will instruct you: “Please explain your family’s financial situation, telling why it would be helpful for you to receive financial assistance. ” Sometimes people say not much more than “money is tight.” That doesn’t tell us much – maybe it’s tight because you’d rather spend it on clothes or a cruise. “Four of us are living on a teacher’s salary” is a little better, but really not that helpful. Specific numbers can be useful if you’re willing to share them, but so can explanatory info such as:

We are a single parent household: my brother, my mom, and me. My mom works part time so that we can unschool. Although my parents have been divorced for a long time, my dad has only recently stopped supporting my “extra” activities financially. Sometimes just paying for our regular monthly expenses is challenging, so saving up for extras can be difficult. I’m used to doing yardwork for neighbors and working to pay for a lot of my extras and I have a plan for paying for NBTSC, but without the worktrade, it will be extremely difficult for me to save the full tuition.

Make sure your online account has your accurate, current email addresses (for the camper and at least one parent). Unless you tell us you don’t have email, this is the only way we will notify you whether you received a worktrade. Make sure you check your email, and let us know if your email address changes.  Make extra-sure that your filter understands that we are not spam: while we keep your personal information private, we do send out our worktrade-response emails in batches. (Corollary: if a month or more has gone by since the application deadline and you don’t seem to have heard from us, check your spam folder.)

You’ll hear from us within a month after the deadline. It takes a while for us to carefully read all the applications and consider them in relation to each other and to our needs and our budget. We’ll get back to you, via email, by April 30.


  • We rarely give worktrades to individuals older than 18. (We focus our resources on people of regular camp age.)
  • All campers are assigned approximately 4 hours of work during an 8-night camp week (more or less for longer or shorter events), and worktrade expectations are in addition to that basic requirement.   To keep worktraders’ schedules from getting too complicated, they usually do the same type of work both for their regular camp chores and for their worktrade.


NBTSC worktrade categories


Financial Details

Fine print

  • Worktrade amounts are discounts from the camp pricetag, not amounts-to-pay.
  • Rebates: all worktraders, including full worktraders, must earn back their rebate just like any other camper. Hence, all “half” discounts and such are calculated from the total (early registration) cost, minus the $100 rebate amount.
  • Deposits: All worktrade applicants — including full worktrade applicants — pay the $150 camp deposit, just like everyone else. For most worktraders it just goes toward the amount you still owe us. For full worktraders, it acts as collateral: come to camp and fulfill your worktrade agreement, and we refund that deposit right after camp. But if you cancel your registration after our cancellation deadline or simply don’t show up, you forfeit your deposit. If you come to camp and don’t do your worktrade, you don’t get it back either. (Not to mislead–our full worktraders have almost never let us down;  quite the opposite.)
  • Campers with half-or-greater worktrades are not typically eligible for the multiple session $100 discount. That is, if you register for two sessions and are given a half worktrade for one session, you pay full price for the additional session. (Why? Because you are already getting a significant discount. We credit your work at roughly $10 per hour, and your worktrade discount generally adds up to much more – at least $100 more – than what you earn by working.)But, if you register for two more sessions, in addition to your worktrade session/s, the $100 discount applies to the second non-worktrade session.   (And if you have only a light worktrade, you are fully eligible for the $100 multiple session discount.)

Specific discounts and work requirements



“I went to camp because there are not a lot of homeschoolers in my area, and even fewer unschoolers, like myself. I was really hoping to meet some people with like-minds, to put me at ease and show me that I’m not the only one. NBTSC went FAR beyond my expectations, from walking off the bus to an army of purple shirts and welcoming hugs, down to closing circle on the last night. In seven days my life totally changed in so many positive ways! I LOVED all the music, I was so inspired and excited to meet so many other young musicians; to be able to sit on the porch or in the field or the lodge and just play guitar and talk and be free was so wonderful. The food was awesome, the talent shows were hilarious and inspiring and jaw-dropping, the workshops were really interesting.”