Teen Leadership Institute

3 weeks of leadership development, service and outdoor experiences at Camp for rising 11th graders


July 3 – 22, 2022
3 weeks during Session 3


Rising 11th graders (current 10th graders)


A Note About COVID-19 and Tawonga’s 2022 Season

In order to prioritize the health and safety of our campers, staff, and entire Tawonga community, we have made some changes to our 2022 programs and Camp practices, which will apply to the TLI program. New for 2022, all campers who will be eligible for the vaccine by the time their summer program begins are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as are all Tawonga staff. You can read about these changes to our 2022 season here in our FAQs. Please read below to learn more about our TLI program.

Program Overview

This 3-week program takes place at Camp Tawonga during Session 3 for rising 11th graders.

The Teen Leadership Institute is an opportunity for teens to experience Camp in a new way, emphasizing leadership as they transition into role models for the Camp community. Veteran staff lead teens through thoughtful programs focusing on social justice, environmental sustainability and current events. Teens will walk away feeling confident that they can continue to make a difference in their community and beyond.

By giving back to Camp and the surrounding Stanislaus National Forest through service projects, teens will be able to see the positive impact of their labor and effort. Through a variety of outdoor excursions as well as classic Camp activities, teens will form bonds within their cohort that will last a lifetime.

Our work together in the TLI program is physically and mentally demanding. Applicants should be ready for thoughtful conversations and rigorous service days in nature.

During our three weeks together, we will complete 2-3 work projects giving back to Camp, 1-2 service projects outside of Tawonga, and venture on a 4-night backpacking trip! Applicants should have a strong interest in community service and stewardship of nature.

In March 2022 we will share a more detailed program calendar.

Three teens smiling at Teen Leadership program
Teens posing for a group photo at Teen Leadership program

2022 Applicants: How to Apply

Teen Leadership Institute applicants must complete all four steps in the below application process to be considered for the program.

  1. Make sure your parent or guardian registers you through their Camp-In-Touch account, just like they would for any other Tawonga program. You will be automatically put on the waitlist.
  2. Complete the online Teen Program Application and indicate TLI as your program choice.
  3. Request a reference to go along with your application. Copy and paste this link and send it to a supervisor, coach, teacher, youth group advisor or anyone else who has seen you in a professional or leadership context. They can submit the form electronically. Please note that your reference must come from outside of the Camp Tawonga community, i.e. not your most recent Tawonga counselor.
  4. Contact Sean Keelan, Assistant Director of Teen Programs, to schedule an interview. Email sean@tawonga.org or call 415.543.2267. Interviews are conducted virtually over Zoom and generally last 45 minutes to an hour.

Application Period

Registration for our Teen Leadership Institute program began on November 10, 2021. There are four parts to your registration and application.

  1. Register for the TLI program*
  2. Complete the application
  3. Send reference link
  4. Schedule and complete program interview

*When you register for the TLI program, the system will automatically change your status to “waitlist”. All applicants are placed on a waitlist until we make final program decisions in early February 2022.

Teens posing for a group photo at Teen Leadership program

A Note on Waitlists

While we would love to welcome every teen who applies, TLI has a limited capacity. At this time, we have received more applications than we have spots for in the program, and will place you on a waitlist once you submit an application. However, there is often movement on the waitlist, and as spots become available, we will contact waitlisted applicants in the order they were received.

Teen Testimonials

I love Tawonga and loved being a camper, and this program was the perfect next step.Aliza Louis

TLI was an amazing, eye-opening experience that I’m so glad I applied for. It was so educational and super fun at the same time.Mariah Fisher

I loved being able to give back to the place I love so much.Puck Hartsough

I will recommend TLI to everyone who is a year younger than me. Literally everyone.Travis (Eli) Lane

This was a fantastic experience that made me realize how much I want to keep returning to Camp T.Jeremiah Haumeder

Check Out TLI on the Blog

Read how TLI teens gave back to Tawonga by “tikkuning” (repairing) an area of Camp called the Freedom Forest.


Please contact Assistant Director of Teen Programs, Sean Keelan if you have questions about the program or application process: sean@tawonga.org or 415.543.2267.

Camp Tawonga is grateful to the supporters of our Teen Programs:

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