Child Life Educational Opportunities
As the Child Life Practicum Student, under the supervision of FHF’s full-time certified child life specialist, you will complete a 300-hour, residential clinical child life practicum in both FHF’s on-site medical center and throughout camp. In this position, you will have the opportunity to observe the CCLS engage campers with complex medical needs in therapeutic play, procedural education and support, new diagnosis education and processing, grief support interventions, psychosocial response calls, and child life programming. Additionally, you will engage in written and oral assignments, and have ongoing opportunities to execute practicum-level interventions.
Your work will include observing and supporting the CCLS in the ebb and flow between helping campers and their families to navigate some of life’s most challenging moments to supporting camper growth and transformation through the camp experience. Creating a trusting environment conducive to validation, growth, and reflection, while obtaining foundational knowledge, skills, and abilities valuable to clinical child life internship entry are some of your top priorities.
This position is an unpaid, largely observational educational experience. Most requirements will take place in-person; however some assignments may be required prior to arrival and following completion of the on-site component. In this role, your best work is achieved when being held to high, but attainable, standards to demonstrate knowledge of child development, gain foundational clinical child life experience, prepare for child life internship opportunities, and support the ongoing mission of FHF.
Above all, as the child life practicum student, you must feel connected to the FHF organizational values: Be All In, Take Initiative, Be Trustworthy, and Have an Attitude of Optimism.
FHF follows the Child Life Practicum Recommended Standards recognized by the Association of Child Life Professionals. For more information about FHF’s validation of these standards, click here.
The FHF child life practicum will be offered Summer 2024, with dates TBD.
The Psychosocial Department, as part of the Operations Team, engages and supports campers and their families to provide an integrated camp experience through medical safety, psychosocial support & dietary adaptations.
Child Life Practicum Student Expectations
- Observe and support CCLS engage campers with complex medical needs in therapeutic play, procedural education and support, new diagnosis education and processing, grief support interventions, psychosocial response calls, challenge by choice sessions (pill swallowing, advancement in autonomous medical care, developmentally appropriate skill advancement, etc;) and child life programming.
- Participate with CCLS in frequent formal and informal check in with counselors, volunteers, and seasonal staff to identify needs and concerns
- Follow CCLS’s role in camper placement process, including but not limited to psychosocial evaluation of campers by sessions, communication with families on camper status, follow-up during and after camp sessions
- Observe and support CCLS in the development and implementation of psychosocial programing for campers, caregivers, and families
- Actively participate in child life and camp programming to increase foundational knowledge of child development, internship readiness, components of the child life profession and certification
- Discuss and observe CCLS’s role on the Emergency Staffing table and during camper emergency medical / mental health transports
- Plan and execute practicum-level evidence-based, developmentally supportive activities
- Collaborate with medical, psychosocial, and other members of the camp operations team in conjunction with CCLS to support the developmental, psychosocial, and medical needs of campers
- Enhance rapport building skills with campers, caregivers, families, volunteers, and staff members
- Apply child development theory into practice during camper interactions, as well as in written and verbal communication
- Engage in written and verbal assignments including but not limited to; article reviews, goal establishment, journaling, developmental assessments, internship KSA linking, mock interviews, and other assignments deemed appropriate by the supervising CCLS
- Explore ways in which to support the advancement of child life services at FHF’s through a practicum-level final project of the student’s choosing
- Report any concerns for abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities
- Reside on-site during camp sessions (housing and meals provided)
Expectations & Requirements for all Flying Horse Farms Staff
We live our Values. We are each responsible for knowing our values and nurturing our culture:
- We are All In. We demonstrate a willingness to do what it takes to get the job done, we are supportive and loyal, show up present and ready and we are passionate about "Campers First."
- We have an Attitude of Optimism. We find what is working and make more of that happen, demonstrate adaptability within ambiguity, spread joy and hope and ensure everyone we interact with feels "Welcomed Home."
- We are Trustworthy. We are consistent, dependable, and steady, truthful and operate with transparency, take ownership for our work and "See the Best" in others.
- We Take Initiative. We are driven, work towards goals with fortitude, pay attention to details and find innovative solutions with "Fearless is Free" attitudes.
At Flying Horse Farms, we believe in providing opportunity to engage and learn cross departmentally. To demonstrate this and underscore our operating core value of All In, every employee at FHF participates in organization-wide and/or cross departmental efforts.
While included in all team member position responsibilities is the agreement of “other duties as assigned” or “not assigned,” we at FHF desire to be All In and agree too and partner on tasks, projects, and teamwork that support the operations and mission of the organization by completing tasks or assignments that may normally fall outside of your job description.
Examples of this include but are not limited to fundraising, event assistance, program participation, facilities assistance work, “volunteering/working” for a camp session, and supporting alternative revenue efforts as appropriate. At FHF we fondly refer to this approach as The One Barn.
Housing is included and accessible throughout the duration of the child life practicum (including when camp is not in session). Housing will be in the Big Red Barn with dorm suite style rooms with bathroom, fresh linens, pillows, quilts, towels, coffee maker, and small refrigerator provided in each suite. Suites are shared with seasonal staff or volunteers. A full kitchen is available in the Big Red Barn and laundry facilities are accessible on-site.
Meals are included during all camp sessions. Meals are not included during professional development intercessions (due to no kitchen staff being on-site during these periods). FHF’s full-time chef, medical team, and seasonal kitchen staff can accommodate ANY dietary needs and are available to discuss any dietary concerns. Additionally, snacks, coffee, drinks, and other food items can be accessed in the dining hall 24’7.
Due to the immersive nature of this practicum experience, residing on-site is required. All housing and meals are included at no cost to the student. Transportation to and from camp is the responsibility of the student.
Required Skills & Experience
- Active academic pursuit of becoming a certified child life specialist (affiliated and unaffiliated students accepted)
- Completion of a minimum of 5 courses in child life or related topics
- Experience working with children / families (minimum 75 hours of paid or unpaid experience)
- Ability to meet all volunteer requirements prior to start date (see below)
- Ability to temporarily relocate (housing and meals included)
Preferred Skills & Experience
- Experience volunteering or working in a healthcare setting
If accepted FHF’s will require:
- Self-reported medical history annually
- Attestation of childhood vaccination
- Infectious Disease Questionnaire
- Proof of:
- TDaP (10 yrs)
- COVID-19 vaccine primary series
- Background check via email
- Reference check
Summer 2024 application is open from: November 1st 2023 – January 5th 2024 at 11:59pm.
Applicants are encouraged to apply through Microsoft Forms after the application launches. All information is to be submitted virtually. No mailed applications will be accepted.
In alignment with the Association of Child Life Professionals’ Internship Readiness Project, FHF’s does NOT require a resume, cover letter, reference letters / forms, or verification forms of volunteer hours for practicum application. If additional verification or information is needed, FHF’s will reach out to the applicant directly.
Application requirements to be submitted via Microsoft Forms
- Personal Information
- 3 - 6 relevant experiences
- Essay questions
- Please describe how a child life specialist contributes to the healthcare experience for patients and their families. (200 words or less)
- Please share with us what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you and why they’re important in the work of a child life specialist. (200 words or less)
- Please describe a time that you used play to meet the developmental needs of a child. (200 words or less)
- Please share about how you feel a practicum at Flying Horse Farms will support you in your pursuit of becoming a certified child life specialist? (200 words or less)
- 3 references (name/phone number/email)
- No reference letter/form is required, however FHF’s may reach out to references at any time throughout the application or interview process
Unofficial transcripts outlining a minimum of 5 courses in child life or related topics
- Please email to
All applications must be submitted by January 5th 2024 by 11:59pm to be considered.
Applicants will be notified of their status in the application process throughout review of application materials and interviews.
In alignment with the ACLP’s recommended offer and acceptance dates, review will close and an offer will be extended to the selected applicant on February 13th 2024.
What does the typical schedule of the FHF Child Life Practicum look like?
The child life practicum student will follow FHF’s full time CCLS’s schedule while living on-site. Due to the immersive nature of this experience, work days likely will start in the early morning/afternoon, into evening/night hours depending on the scheduled shift, with the majority of shifts lasting 12+ hours. Breaks and days off will take place throughout. Assignments will be completed during scheduled work times and professional development intercessions.
While the supervising CCLS does provide scheduled overnight coverage, the child life practicum student will not be required to shadow overnights.
Are the dates for the Child Life Practicum flexible?
Due to the structure of the child life practicum program and established camp schedule, we are unable to adjust the dates of the child life practicum.
How does the housing and meal component of the practicum work? Will I have access when camp is not in session?
Housing and meals are included free of charge to the child life practicum student.
Throughout the duration of the practicum experience (including when camp is not in session) the student will have access to their housing. Included housing features dorm suite style rooms (in the Big Red Barn) with bathroom, fresh linens, pillows, quilts, towels, coffee maker, and small refrigerator provided in each suite. Suites are shared with seasonal staff or volunteers. A full kitchen is available in the Big Red Barn and laundry facilities are accessible on-site.
Meals are included during all camp sessions. FHF’s full-time chef, medical team, and seasonal kitchen staff can accommodate ANY dietary needs and are available to discuss any dietary concerns. Additionally, snacks, coffee, drinks, and other food items can be accessed in the dining hall 24’7, including when camp is not in session. Meals are not included during professional development intercessions (due to no kitchen staff being on-site during these periods).
Transportation to and from camp is at the discretion of the student, a vehicle is permitted to be on-site with no cost for parking. If the child life practicum student does not have a vehicle on-site, they may coordinate with FHF’s full time staff for additional needs during intercessions, and with arrival/departure coordination.
The application mentions requirements and “some assignments” before arrival--what does that include?
After offer and acceptance, a brief, one hour meeting will take place with supervising CCLS and selected practicum student to cover expectations, goals, and overview of arrival processes. During this meeting, pre-camp assignments surrounding learning styles and goals will be established and pre- camp readings will be assigned. Pre-camp reading assignments will be provided to the student for their use via email.
Additionally, all volunteer requirements (self-reported medical history annually, attestation of childhood vaccination, Infectious Disease Questionnaire, proof of: TDaP (10 yrs), COVID-19 vaccine primary series, Flu (Nov-Mar), Recommended: Hepatitis B, Meningococcal, Hepatitis A (Kitchen), background check via email, and reference check) must be completed after acceptance and before arrival.
How will I hear about the status of my application?
FHF’s child life practicum program values strong communication throughout the application and interview process. Our review process will begin following the application deadline. All applicants will be notified via email of decline or progression following the completion of each phase of the application review and interview process.
Following completion of the interview process, FHF will extend an offer via phone call on February 13th 2024 to the selected applicant.
When is the offer date?
Following completion of the interview process, FHF will extend an offer via phone call on February 13th 2024 to the selected applicant.
I am not ready to apply for a child life practicum, but I am interested in coming to camp in another way. How can I get involved?
We would love to invite you to join us here at camp in another capacity! Volunteering as a Family Sidekick, Cabin Counselor, on our Activity Team, or other roles at camp can be a great way to get involved with camp, gain relevant experience, and grow as an aspiring professional.
Additionally, during all weekend Family Camps and summer Residential Camps, aspiring child life specialists are invited to participate in an optional 1-hour professional development and networking event.
Want to learn more about volunteering? Visit Volunteer Opportunities - Flying Horse Farms or email
Flying Horse Farms has a variety of volunteer experiences that contribute to your growth as an aspiring child life specialist.
Family Sidekicks are responsible for implementing camp programs as well as engaging and supporting camper families. As a whole, Family Sidekicks are generalists who play many different roles throughout the weekend... including welcoming them "home to camp" and helping the
families to get situated and acquainted with their surroundings. Family Sidekicks at different times supervise groups of campers, lead activities and work behind the scenes to help us keep camp on the go.
Activity Team members are responsible for facilitating all activities at their assigned area. From the waterfront to arts & crafts, these team members keep camp running. Activity counselors also have the important job of making sure all campers can participate in all activities. They are responsible for setting up, leading the activity, and cleaning afterwards.
Cabin counselors are responsible for the direct supervision of children in a cabin group of 6-12 campers. Counselors provide basic behavioral and psychosocial support to campers, program daily cabin activities, and support unit leaders in the execution of unit programming.
During camp, psychosocial team members, seasonal staff, and FHF’s full time psychosocial team work together to provide behavior and emotional support for campers aged 8-17 years old. All support provided, through crisis intervention and de-escalation will follow a trauma informed care lens to ensure the ongoing safety of our campers. Your main role is to be present in your assigned village and to interact with children and their Cabin Counselors. You will be expected to provide behavior support techniques to Cabin Counselors and Village Leaders and step in to work with campers 1-on-1 if techniques by others have been exhausted, if a camper needs specific care or if a situation has escalated. While providing support you will also be asked to be in constant communication with the Cabin Counselors, Village Leader, cabin Nurse and Medical team on how the campers are doing throughout the week in addition to charting behaviors and interactions.
*Child life focused psychosocial team members are encouraged to have completed a minimum of a child life practicum or equal experience to adequately fulfil the psychosocial team role
Questions about Child Life?
Practicum inquiries? Reach out to:
Other questions? Reach out to Rebecca Gordon, MA, CCLS: