Join the Mission

serviceCommunity Service

House In The Wood exists primarily as a place of community service. The missions of both House In The Wood and Northwestern Settlement include serving the members of our Chicago community in a variety of ways. Everything that happens on our campus either directly or indirectly contributes to this mission of community service.

Supporting Community; Supported by Community

As a nonprofit organization, we depend on the efforts and generosity of like-minded individuals who choose to join us in service. Their belief in and commitment to our cause has led to their continued support for generations. This support keeps our doors open for the transformative experiences that enrich the lives of all of our visitors year in and year out.


There are always projects that need doing at House In The Wood. Our small full-time staff do amazing work putting on all of our youth and adult programs, but the help of our wonderful volunteers makes our campus really shine. If you have a talent you'd like to share (or just a desire to help), there are many ways to get involved at House In The Wood.

Become a Volunteer


What Volunteers Do

Here are just some of the ways our volunteers lend a hand.

Teaching trail lessons
Painting buildings
Caring for live animals
Building a split rail fence
Building aquatic study areas
Adding to the marsh boardwalk
Chipping brush piles
Putting in rain gardens Maintaining five gardens
Building a natural fence for gardens
Clearing invasive plant species
Splitting firewood
Cutting back growth on the road
Dog show for campers
Clearing the trails
Building a raised garden bed
Tuning the pianos
Repairing the staff bicycles
Making curtains for cabins
Building the Bird's Nest
Cutting up fallen trees
Cleaning cabins
Decorating for holidays

Bring a Group to Serve Together

Adult and student groups looking for a community service site need look no farther than House In The Wood. Whether you have a specific project in mind or are just starting with the desire to help out others in your community, our staff are happy to find ways to make your ambitions a reality. Groups who come to House In The Wood are offered all of the accommodations of retreat groups at a discounted rate. Contact us to plan your community service visit.

Volunteers from the Community

House In The Wood counts on the volunteer support of members of the Delavan community as well as those from the greater Chicago area. Many of these volunteers come to help us with work around the grounds on scheduled days throughout the year. Others share their interests in talents as programs for our youth programs. Examples of these programs include everything from soccer to gardening to dancing to nature lessons. If you'd like to get involved, we'd love to have you - contact us today!


House In The Wood's programs and their lasting impact are made possible by your generous support. Your donations pay for life changing experiences in the outdoors for children who need them most.

Click Here to Support Our Mission

If you prefer to give by check, please make it payable to Northwestern Settlement with House In The Wood in the memo, and mail it to the address below:

Northwestern Settlement
Attn: Katie Taylor
1400 West Augusta Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60642

Have gently used clothing, furniture, or other items? The Settlement also accepts a wide range of gifts for our programs, including items from the wish list below. Please contact the development team with questions.

Wish List:

For those who would like to support House In The Wood with an in-kind donation, we have put together a list of some of the items we need most. Large or small, your contribution is greatly appreciated and helps make possible the great experiences offered in our programs. Thank you!

Large Donations

  • Small Outboard Motor or Small Motor Boat (for rescuing sailboats across the lake)
  • Utility Vehicles (John Deere Gators) — We are a four season facility so we need a four season work vehicle.
  • New Swimming Dock Boards (Our current dock is over 30 years old.)

Smaller Donations

  • Vest Life Jackets - Large and X-Large
  • Canoe Paddles
  • Row Boat Oars (8ft)

Rummage Sale Treasures

  • Sports Equipment
  • Children’s Books
  • Children’s Magazines
  • Art/Crafts Supplies
  • Cooking/Baking Basics-measuring, pans, pots
  • Yoga Mats
  • Exercise Mats

House In The Wood is part of Northwestern Settlement, a 501(c)(3) legal, designated charity that serves needy children and families of Chicago’s west side. 100% of your donation is tax-deductible.



Join the Team

House In The Wood accepts applications on a rolling basis for our seasonal/temporary positions. We prefer to hire experienced workers, and we like to have our staff return as often as possible. You are welcome to apply at any time and to contact us about your application. However, we will only contact applicants when we are hiring for their specified positions. See the positions available and other details below.

Steps to Apply

  1. Read the information on this page.
  2. Decide which position(s) you're interested in.
  3. Complete an online application.
  4. Have two people complete and turn in a reference form.
  5. Contact us to follow up on your application.

Who Works at House In The Wood?

All kinds of people! Our resident program staff is often made up of college students or recent graduates intereted in teaching or natural sciences. They usually come from all around the country. Our support staff are typically from the local area.

Salary/Wage Information

Program staff earn a daily or weekly salary that varies by position and experience. Support staff are paid an hourly wage that also varies by position and experience.

Program Positions

Trail Leader Seasonal Full Time - 8-12 Week Commitment (Spring or Fall) - Work during the day teaching outdoor science lessons and social emotional learning (teamwork, independence and responsibility). One or two weeks per season provide cabin supervision for extra pay. Paid training includes information on curriculum and other job duties. Seasonal schedule shared during training.

On Call Educators - As Needed (Spring or Fall) Duties as described above but on call as needed. Paid training as above. Seasonal schedule shared during training.

Apply for a Program Position

Support Positions

jobs_kitchenCook - Prepare meals for groups of 40-100 with the assistance of two or more kitchen aids. Follow strict guidelines for health and safety in kitchen and dining areas. Lead cleanup after meals. Meals included. .

Kitchen Aide - Assist in preparation of meals. Setup tables for meals and assist in cleanup after meals. Meals included.

Apply for a Support Position

We are an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer dedicated to workforce diversity and a drug-free and smoke-free workplace. Background investigations are required.