Montreat Conference Center

Summer Staff Frequently Asked Questions

What is Montreat Conference Center?
Montreat Conference Center is a national conference center of the Presbyterian Church (USA). We host thousands of youth and adults for conferences throughout the year. These conferences include Worship and Music, Senior High Youth Conferences, Youth Ski, Collegiate, Young Adult Conferences, Christian Education, Spirituality, and more. Our biggest conferences happen during the summer, so we need lots of extra staff to help support our programs. We also run a day camp and child care program during the summer which includes 6 month olds through seniors in high school. Our summer recreation facilities include a swimming pool, tennis courts, a small lake for paddle boating and canoeing, a creek for rock-hopping, 4,000 acres of wilderness and trails for hiking, and an arts and crafts center.

What is there to do in the area?
In addition to the recreation opportunities within Montreat, we are only 5 minutes away from the town of Black Mountain, which offers restaurants, coffee shops, opportunities to hear live music, unique shops, grocery stores, a public library, miniature golf, and an arts center. We are within 20 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which offers scenic drives and visits to local attractions such as the Folk Art Center and beautiful campgrounds and hiking trails. The city of Asheville is 18 miles from Montreat and provides opportunities for unique shopping and dining, museums, movie theaters, malls, bookstores, live music, summer festivals, and more.

How many staff do you hire? Who are they?
We hire approximately 130 summer staff each year. Most of these individuals are college-age (at least one year out of high school). We do hire a few adults who live in the area for some of our positions. Many of our staff come from the south east, but we frequently have representation from all areas of the country, and sometimes from out of the country.

What are the hours like?
Summer staff work an average of 40 hours a week. The times may vary depending on the job and the needs of the conference in session. As indicated on the application, some positions may require more than 40 hours of work during some weeks.

Do I get weekends and 4th of July off?
Some departments work on a Monday to Friday regular business day schedule. These include: Clubs Counselors, Child Care Assistants, and Office Assistants. Weekends are generally free for these departments. There are some times in the summer when a conference schedule requires staff to work outside of these times. Other departments have work that requires someone to be on duty during the week as well as weekends, including evenings. Schedules for individuals in these departments may vary from week to week, with morning/afternoon shifts or afternoon/evening shifts, and at least one day off each week. Positions with such schedules include: Lifeguards, Recreation Staff, Wilderness Rangers, Conference Support, Facilities Crew, Production Crew, and Retail Staff. See position descriptions in the application for more information. July 4 is a significant holiday in Montreat with many events, including a parade, afternoon games, recreation, and an evening community square dance — all of which require significant support from our summer staff. As such, all summer staff are required to work on July 4th.

What if I am unable to work for the entire summer?
Please indicate on your application what your availability is based on the dates of employment for the position(s) you desire. We understand that school schedules often present conflicts with these dates. It is our desire to hire as many staff as possible who can be present for the entire length of their contract. However, if we choose to hire someone who needs some amount of time off, we will adjust their salary accordingly. There are a few short-term Clubs counselor positions that we hire to work during our busiest times. All other summer staff positions are employed for the entire summer. Hiring preference may be given to individuals who are available for the full time period of their contract.

What if I find out I need time off after I’ve sent in my application?
Once we have received your application, please contact our offices as soon as possible with any additional time off requests.

Can I work more than one summer staff job? Can I work somewhere else outside of Montreat?
Summer staff may not hold more that one full-time Montreat Conference Center position and cannot do any outside work on Montreat Conference Center property. However, summer staff may be employed outside of scheduled working hours by organizations other than Montreat Conference Center or its user groups.

What if none of my choices are available?
You have the option to indicate on your application whether or not you would accept another position if none of your first choices were available. If you say yes, you may be offered another position that we think may suit you. If you indicate that you would not accept another position, and we are not able to offer your first choice(s), your application will not be considered for any of our remaining positions.

Can I still apply after the deadline?
Yes. While we try to fill as many of our positions as possible by early March, we often do have remaining positions to fill later into the spring. You have a better chance of getting a position you desire the earlier you apply, but applications will still be accepted throughout the spring.

When will I find out if I got a job?
Selection will take place in mid/late January.  All applications in our office by the deadline will be considered at that time. By early March, those applicants will either be sent a contract or be notified that they have not yet been selected. Any applications received after selection will be reviewed as they are received, and most applicants should hear something from Montreat within a few weeks of applying.

Are there age limits for any of the positions?
We require that all summer staff applicants be at least one year out of high school. In addition, there are age limits for some positions. Please see specific position descriptions for details.

Do I have to be a Presbyterian?
No. Montreat Conference Center is a Presbyterian Church (USA) center, but our staff members often represent a variety of denominations and faith perspectives. The focus of our ministry is Presbyterian, and the spiritual opportunities we offer to our conferees and staff are grounded in the Reformed tradition of the Presbyterian Church (USA), but we do not require our staff or participants to be Presbyterian.

I’ve never had a job before – who should I list as Professional/Job references?
If you have never had a job, we still need you find two individuals who can attest to your work ethic. These can be professors who have supervised a work project, a family you may have done work for (such as babysitting or lawn mowing), a volunteer coordinator for a service project, etc.

Can I bring a car?
Yes, but it is not necessary for most summer staff positions. Most places you would need to get to within Montreat are within reasonable walking distance. There are other individuals with cars who could help transport you into town if needed. If you do bring your car, there is no registration fee.

What is the weather like?
Montreat is settled in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Days in the summer can get quite hot and humid, but mornings and evenings are often cool. It has been known to rain frequently in the summer as well.

What do summer staff wear to work?
Staff will be issued summer staff t-shirts that clearly identify them as staff and should be worn on the first day that a conference checks-in. Some work areas receive more t-shirts and are required to wear one whenever they are on duty. Most departments include work that is active, so staff should dress appropriately. Details on dress guidelines will be made available to hired staff later in the spring.

What do we do during orientation?
Orientation is a week-long opportunity to get to know your fellow summer staff, get required training, and learn what is involved in your individual department for the summer. We will do some group building activities, review staff policies, take CPR/First Aid (if you do not have current certifications), do lodge orientations (for those staying in our housing), and work with your departmental staff to get more specific job training and prepare your site for the summer. We also offer optional evening recreation opportunities in Montreat and Black Mountain during the orientation week.

What are the lodges like?
Most of our summer staff are housed in any one of three lodges in Montreat. Each lodge is an older house with lots of character and good front porches. Rooms sleep anywhere from 2-5 people, depending on the lodge. Each room has a bed for each individual and closet or dresser space. Most lodges have hall baths. Each lodge has a community living room space with couches, tables, and chairs, as well as a fully-equipped community kitchen. Each lodge is assigned a Resident Advisor to oversee community life in the lodge.

Is there a cost for housing?
Those in Montreat Conference Center housing will be charged $2.50/per night, which is automatically deducted from each paycheck.

What is the age range in the housing?
Our lodges are reserved for our younger adult staff without spouses or children, so the general age range is 18-22.

Are the lodges co-ed?
Sometimes.

Is there a curfew?
There is no curfew, but there is a town-wide noise ordinance that goes into effect each night at 11:00pm that prohibits any loud noise after this time.

Do I need to bring my own furniture?
No. The lodges provide the basic furnishings needed, and there is not much room for more. We discourage anyone from bringing extra furniture.

Where can I do laundry?
Each of the staff lodges have washer and dryer facilities that are available at no cost. There are also coin-operated laundromats in Black Mountain.

Who lives in semi-private housing?
We try to obtain semi-private housing (apartments, shared rental houses) for some of our upper-level summer staff. The availability is very limited and is sometimes located outside of Montreat.

Are there places available if I want to find my own housing?
Finding your own private housing is a possibility, but most find it expensive and scarce during the summer.

What do I do for meals?
Staff are responsible for shopping for and preparing their own meals. There are kitchen facilities in each lodge equipped with pots/pans, plates, cups, utensils, microwave, many refrigerators, stoves, ovens, dishwashers, and shelves for food storage. There will be opportunities throughout the summer for staff-only meals provided by the ministry team as well as community meals in the lodges. Meals can also be purchased with staff discount in the Assembly Inn’s Galax Dining Room, Huckleberry Cafe, or Howerton Cafeteria.

Can I bring a pet?
Sorry, pets are not allowed in the lodges.

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