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Yak Apprenticeship Course                        

$1695/4-week program

($200 comes back to your YA as a weekly $50/paycheck)

Important Notice!  In an effort to keep the integrity and effectiveness of our special programs such as Buddies Intensive (12), Junior Camp Counselors (14) and Yak Apprentice (14) there will be a cap for participants, noted in parentheses.  Once the cap is reached, a wait list will be generated.  Please don’t wait to register because these programs fill up fast.


For young adults with special needs, ages 16-21

Teaching Social Skills for the World of Work 

General Description of Program


The Yak Apprenticeship Program is a four-week intensive work experience program designed and directed by Elise Renning, our Special Programs Director. The program is a unique opportunity for young adults to focus on "soft skills" necessary for success in a job as well as everyday life, with "point of performance" job readiness instruction supervised by professionals.


While in the program, apprentices will receive direct instruction from masters-degree level professionals on appropriate social communication at work,  self-advocacy, and appropriate emotional regulation, when faced with more challenging workplace situations. Graduate student mentors serve as Camp Coaches in this 3:1 staff to apprentice service model. Since the goal is building independence for work, dedicated one-to-one assistants are not provided. 


Each apprentice will have the opportunity to learn skills in an area that interests them. With support, Yak Apprentices will assist in day-to-day operations of camp and learn job skills necessary to be a contributing employee and co-worker. Daily staff meetings, mid and final reviews with a supervisor, as well as weekly "paychecks" are incorporated into this program.

Yak Apprenticeship
Dates, Hours & Tuition

Dates for 4-Week Apprenticeship:

July 6-July 31, 2020, Monday-Friday


Hours: 9:00am-3:30pm

Apprentices have two 15-minute breaks and a

30-minute lunch every day

Pre-Camp Meetings:

Meeting #1:  Yak Apprentice Group Orientation

Wednesday, June 20, 10:30am-12pm

Location: Lake Grove Church, meet in Gym


Meeting #2: Yak Apprentice Department Meeting

Sunday, July 5, 2:30-3:30pm

Location: Mountain Park Church, meet in Gym

Tuition: $1695

($200 of that will come back to your camper as

a weekly $50 paycheck)

Yak Apprentices receive 122 hours of individualized workplace instruction for $374.00 per week or the equivalent of $12.25 per hour.

Yak Apprenticeship
Eligibility Criteria

Ages: 16-21


Yak Apprentices must have the following skills in order to meaningfully participate in the Yak Apprenticeship Program:

  • Pass a criminal background check (18 and over) and/or reference check to ensure the individual’s ability to interact safely and respectfully in our setting;

  • General cognitive ability within the average range*

  • Remember and follow 2-step verbal directions they have been given;

  • Follows rules, compliant to authority figures, overall;

  • Can stay calm and safe when faced with stressful situations;

  • Trustworthy, honest;

  • Kind-hearted, helpful nature;

  • Enjoy being around a large group of people

The Registration fee of $100 per week applies to the participant's total tuition, but is non-refundable.

Apprenticeship Department Options:

Kitchen Apprenticeship

The Kitchen Apprentice develops skills in basic food handling safety and assists preparing for each day’s recipes, assisting campers during classes, preparing staff treats, as well as general kitchen/camper lunch table cleaning duties. The use of commercial-grade kitchen appliances will be a focus. Earning a food handler’s permit is part of this apprenticeship.


Department Supervisor(s): Kitchen Supervisor and Cooking Class Instructor

Director Oversight: Director of Special Programs & Assistant Director


Facilities Apprenticeship

The Custodial Apprentice develops skills in facilities and supply management by setting up/taking down camp equipment, organizing camp supplies, and cleaning activities such as garbage/recycling, refilling soap containers, sweeping, and vacuuming, etc.


Department Supervisor: Camp Operations

Director Oversight: Director of Special Programs & Director


Technology Support Apprenticeship

The Tech Apprentice develops basic IT skills such as in checking out/in technology equipment, setting up AV equipment, providing good customer service, and other tasks.


Department Supervisor: Technology Coordinator

Director Oversight: Director of Special Programs & Director


Team Leader Apprenticeship

The Team Leader Apprentice develops skills in supporting Team Leaders in guiding the campers through their daily camp schedule, serving as a model for younger campers and assisting the Team Leader in making sure all team materials are ready and available throughout the day. 


Department Supervisor: Team Leader

Director Oversight: Special Programs Director


Education Assistant Apprenticeship

The Educational Assistant (EA) Apprentice supports a Class Instructor prepare materials/supplies for classes, serve as a model and buddies up with younger campers to complete the activity. The EA Apprentice also helps clean and organize the classroom and prepare materials for the next day.


Department Supervisor: Class Instructor

Director Oversight: Special Programs Director 


Office Apprenticeship

The Office Apprentice develops skills as an administrative assistant by completing a wide variety of tasks relating to producing the camp. Tasks may include creating signage, making and distributing copies, and organizing and replenishing office supplies. Creating and storing documents using Google Drive will be a focus. The Office Apprentice should bring their own device such as a laptop.


Department Supervisor: Staff Coordinator

Director Oversight: Special Programs Director


Photo/Video Apprenticeship

The Photo/Video Apprentice develops skills in use of digital cameras, applying filters, creating photo slideshows, and shooting training videos. Storing photos on Google Drive or similar site will be a focus.


Department Supervisor: Media Coordinator/Camp Communications

Director Oversight: Director of Special Programs Director


Recreation Apprenticeship

The Recreation Apprentice develops skills in supporting campers in indoor and outdoor leisure activities. The apprentice assists in planning and running a recess station, assisting in Games and/or PLAY class, and distributing items to lunch tables in preparation for campers who finish lunch early, etc.


Department Supervisor: Activities Coordinator

Director Oversight: Director of Special Programs & Assistant Director

Goals and

Learning Outcomes

Yak Apprenticeship

Course Staff

Development of "soft skills" including executive functioning and social communication skills are at the heart of the Yak Apprenticeship program.  We know that 4-weeks will not “fix” deficits in these areas, but we expect to “move the needle” toward greater independence in these skills:

  • Communication

  • Leadership

  • Critical thinking

  • Listening

  • Adaptability

  • Organization

  • Teamwork

  • Punctuality

Yak Apprenticeship

Course Components

Yak Apprentice Online Training

Each Apprentice will complete a brief training about policies and procedures at camp, as well as information specific to each apprenticeship.

Yak Apprentice Pre-Camp Meetings

June 20, 10:30-12:30pm

July 5, 2:30-3:30pm

Location: Mountain Park Church, meet in Gym

Yak Apprentice Skills & Interest Survey

Each Apprentice will complete a survey to gather information about their interests, skills and challenges to assist camp directors in placing apprentices in the right department and provide appropriate support. 


4-Week Full Time Apprenticeship

Apprentices attend from 9:00am-3:30pm, Monday-Friday, for four consecutive weeks. They may spend all four weeks working in one department or a combination of departments.


Mid & Final Reviews with Supervisors

Each Apprentice will have mid and final reviews with their supervisors to identify strengths and areas for growth. Each Apprentice will have 2 goals they are working on. One goal will relate to the departmental knowledge/skills they are developing and the other goal will relate to a more general job. Apprentices complete self-ratings on their goals. Each week progress toward each goal will be reviewed with the apprentice based on feedback from the Department Supervisor and other staff. A final review will be held at the end of the Yak Apprentice’s service with the Camp Coach & Director of Special Programs using a rating scale (copy will be provided).


Camp Coach

Camp Coaches are college students with specific training and interest in clinical or educational fields who provide necessary scaffolding for apprentices to successfully meet expectations for the job.


Department Supervisors

The Department Supervisor delegates tasks and provides feedback to the apprentice. Apprentices help the Department Supervisor to complete duties that keep the camp functioning efficiently; such as classroom materials preparation, setting up or cleaning different camp spaces, or helping children participate in camp activities.



Yak Apprentice Supervisor

The Yak Apprentice Supervisor (YA Supervisor) is a masters-level professional who delivers job-related social skill instruction in large groups or in one to one meetings with an apprentice. Additionally, the YA Supervisor is in charge of coordinating department placements, training and supervising Camp Coaches and Apprentices. The YA Supervisor calls and runs staff meetings, does worksite visits, ensures the right fight for staff placements, and conducts mid-term and final reviews.

Director of Special Programs 

Directors provide general supervisory support to Yak Apprentices, Camp Coaches and Department Supervisors and ensure that camp resources (i.e., staff and supplies) are used appropriately to support apprentices.

Additional Professional Consultants

It may be necessary to consult with the camp’s speech-language pathologists, occupational therapist or special education teachers to ensure appropriate scaffolding is provided such as visual schedules, checklists, video modeling, etc.

Parent Participation

and Support

To help staff plan for the individual goals, strengths and needs of apprentices, parents complete an online questionnaire when registering for camp.  Parents provide transportation, and lunch/snack.

Yak Apprenticeship Levels 

Ideally, Apprentices move through levels of independence as the individual builds job readiness skills and confidence in many forms of social interaction over time.  Some apprentices will be able to demonstrate this growth in one summer's 4-week sequence or over consecutive summers. Camp Yakety Yak staff provide necessary supports so apprentices have a successful learning experience!


Stage 1: Novice Level (Requires 75% or more supervision)

The Novice or beginner has no experience in the situations in which they are expected to perform. The Novice lacks confidence to demonstrate safe practice and requires continual verbal and physical cues. Practice is within a prolonged time period and he/she is unable to use discretionary judgment. Knowledge is developing and Novices are not expected to be proficient in asking for help, rather they receive maximum (consistent) support from supervisors in terms of oral and written directions and other scaffolding.


Stage 2: Advanced Beginner to Competent (75-50% supervision)

Because it can be difficult to delineate exact levels of competence, Stage 2 is a wide range of accuracy and developing independence.  Apprentices at the Advanced Beginner to Competent stage demonstrate acceptable performance because the apprentice has had prior experience in actual situations. He/she is efficient and skillful in parts of the departmental duties, requiring frequent to occasional supportive cues/reminders. May/may not be within a delayed time period. Apprentices are expected to know when and how to ask for assistance at this stage, instead of waiting for a supervisor check-in.


Stage 3: Proficient (25-50% supervision)

Apprentices at the Proficient stage has learned from experience what typical events to expect, what work needs to be completed and can make plans to respond to these events. The apprentice begins to demonstrate decision making and problem solving skills and so receives few supportive cues/reminders. Apprentices at the Proficient stage use systems that have been developed to assist them independently.

As the saying goes,

"Hard" Skills Get You Hired, a Lack of "Soft" Skills Can Get You Fired!

Let Camp Yakety Yak help your young adult develop the "soft skills" that employers expect!


Employee soft skills include a person’s attitude to their job, their work ethic, how they interact with others, how they solve problems and how well they resolve conflict. Simple things like making eye contact, expressing empathy, exhibiting emotional intelligence and showing old-fashioned courtesy as well as offering a firm handshake and taking time to communicate face to face. The problem in the world of work now is that these skills, previously learned as a natural part of growing up, are getting lost as more and more communication happens via the more impersonal text, email, and social media.​


We LOVE Camp Yakety Yak!  And we're so thrilled about the launch of the
Yak Apprenticeship program! 

While it goes without saying that we LOVE Camp Yakety Yak, we couldn't be more thrilled about the launch of the Yak Apprenticeship program! 

My boys have attended CYY every summer since 2014. My oldest son, who is neurotypical, has volunteered each year as a high school camp counselor. He's worked with campers in a group setting and has also worked as a one-on-one with young campers who require additional supports. 
This year, my oldest will leave for college. Camp Yakety Yak has played a large part in helping to equip him with many of the skills that he'll need to be happy and successful in the next chapter of his life and beyond. Not only has he learned the value of compassion, acceptance, and kindness to all no matter their ability, but he's learned how to work and collaborate well with a large group of people who hold the same vision in order to be successful. He has learned about the importance of time management, self-discipline, team-work, and how effective, respectful communication plays an important role in any job or position that he'll ever hold. His experiences at CYY have helped to shape him into an incredible young man who cares deeply about the world around him, and who takes seriously the power that he has to create a positive impact. 
My youngest son, who is neurodiverse, started with Camp Yakety Yak 6 summers ago as a camper. He graduated to a JCC (Junior Camp Counselor) 3 years ago, and last year was invited to participate in the Yak Apprenticeship pilot program. The basis behind this program is pure genius, and so very needed for our neurodiverse youth! Much like my oldest son experienced as a camp counselor, these work apprentice teens have a unique opportunity to get to experience and learn about the working world in a safe, respectful, supportive environment. This phenomenal program helps them to recognize and to call on their strengths and abilities in order to reveal to them their capabilities. The guidance and support of highly trained staff who enable them to build on each success, ultimately building confidence that lasts a lifetime, is without parallel. 
Last summer, I watched proudly as my son pushed beyond his own perceived limits within the safety net of the team. He worked hard, had a blast, made some new friends, gained incredible skills, and in the end was able to earn time at our local archery range, as well as a brand new bow that he'd been wanting- something that I chose to incentivize him with for his hard work and dedication.
Only a few years ago, Camp Yakety Yak was a hidden gem in a small neighborhood. I have had the great honor of watching it grow quickly in attendance, staff, and in reputation, due in large part to the tremendous impact that it's had on the families whose lives it's touched, and in their sharing of their own experiences of CYY with our greater community. Despite its rapid growth, it has not suffered in quality. In fact, CYY has only continued to thrive and to improve on its existing programs, while continuously introducing new ones. We are so incredibly fortunate to have a program such as this available to our young people year after year, and we truly can't imagine a summer without Camp Yakety Yak!"                           

                                                                                                           - Kristen Rasmussen, Parent of a Yak Apprentice



Camp Cell:


Camp Fax:


Mailing Address:

PO Box 161

West Linn, OR  97068​

Nonprofit TAX ID: 45-4197236

Summer Camp Location: 

Mountain Park Church

40 McNary Parkway

Lake Oswego, OR  97035

(CYY 2021, July Only)

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