Summer Volunteer Program


2015 Meditation in Action
Summer Volunteer Program


The Summer Volunteer Program (SVP) is the perfect way to spend all or part of your summer! The program is open to any individual who has a strong interest in the unique and rich tradition of Shambhala. Join with other volunteers and residential staff for the opportunity to practice meditation, study, and work in community at one of the oldest retreat centers in the United States.

Participants in the program will receive food, accommodations, access to a personal meditation instructor, weekly volunteer meetings and classes, and the experience of life at a Dharma Center. After completion of a session participants will receive program credit that can be applied to program tuition for any of our programs.

The Summer Volunteer Program has four sessions. Each session is structured as its own program; volunteers will arrive on the start date and stay until the departure date (see below).

2015 Session Dates

Session 1: April 27th - June 4th
Session 2: June 12th - July 17 Session is full - waiting list
Session 3: July 18th - August 30 Session is full - waiting list
Session 4: September 5th - September 27th Session is full

Please Note: All participants accepted to the program must be at least 18 years of age prior to arrival.

The Application Process:

  1. If you are new to Shambhala Buddhism, first learn about it on our website and at to see if this unique tradition is of interest to you. A few great books to check out are: Turning the Mind into an Ally by Sakyong Mipham; Ruling Your World by Sakyong Mipham; Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chögyam Trungpa.
  2. Read through the Department Overviews below to see typical volunteer opportunities. Please note on your application any skills/experience you have to share in any of these areas. However specialized skills are not a requirement except for certain departments as noted in the Department descriptions.
  3. If you are not a US citizen or permanent resident you must check the VISA requirements and time restrictions for attendance in the program as a volunteer for the period of time you would like to stay. Once accepted into the SVP (and prior to arrival) you must inform the Director of Personnel that you are aware of and have met all requirements of the Dept. of  US Immigration.
  4. Fill out an application online (see below), and complete and email a Reference Request Form to three references. Have these references email the completed form to
  5. Applications will be reviewed and those selected will be contacted for a telephone interview. Interviews begin in March and continue on a rolling basis until the program is filled.
  6. Once accepted as a Summer Volunteer you will receive orientation information via email. Please confirm your attendance with the Head of Personnel in order to hold your space (contact info will be listed in the orientation letter).

Work and Benefits:

You commit to:

You receive:

Department Overviews:

Volunteers often work in one or more departments throughout each session as our overall needs fluctuate. We try to match volunteers with their interests and skills however it is most helpful to us to have volunteers who are flexible.

FACILITIES Help to uplift and maintain the buildings, shrine rooms, tents and grounds of Karmê Chöling. Experience with: painting, carpentry, construction, trail maintenance, landscaping, or plumbing is a plus but not required!

KITCHEN Work with our Kitchen to prepare meals for our staff and guests. Experience in a professional kitchen, cooking for large groups and/or a background in culinary arts is ideal but not required. We prepare meat, vegetarian and special diet meals and utilize organic produce from our garden.

HOUSEKEEPING Assist our fabulous housekeeping staff with things such as keeping the bathrooms and showers clean, vacuuming, prepping rooms for guest, deep cleaning, and laundry.

MARKETING Help communicate how our programs and the Karme Choling experience can be of benefit to society.  Includes administrative duties.   Prior experience or propensity for marketing and proficiency with computers is required.

GARDEN Volunteer under our Master Gardeners and assist with all aspects of tending our one-acre organic garden and flowerbeds! Garden experience required.   FYI, g arden is full, no voluteers needed for this year's SVP sessions.

IT If you have proficiency in the following areas you may be the volunteer we need in our wonderful IT department.  We are looking for a volunteer with skills in: HTML + PHP. CSS, JavaScript, jQuery or MySQL, cross-browser compatibility issues/issue resolution, Apache Web Server configuration and a working knowledge of Linux command line usage.


If you have any questions, please contact the Director of Personnel:

Have a Shambhala Account? Click here to log in.

The following color indicates a field is required.

Personal Information
Are you a US Citizen or authorized to work in the US?
Contact Information
Karmê Chöling Information
Have you ever been to Karmê Chöling?
Have you ever worked or volunteered for any Shambhala Organization?
Practice and Training Information
Do you have a meditation practice?
Have you completed any Shambhala Training levels?
Have you taken any Shambhala Buddhist Classes?
Have you attended any Shambhala Advanced Programs?
Are you affiliated with a Shambhala Center?

The following questions pertain to your education and training, work history and experience (including volunteer positions), and interests, hobbies and special skills.

You are welcome to email your résumé to the Director of Personnel.

Most Recent Employer Information
May we contact this employer?
Employer 2 Information
May we contact this employer?
Employer 3 Information
May we contact this employer?
Education, Training and Skills Information

The following questions pertain to issues which may have an impact on our residential community:

Residential Community Information
Are you physically able to perfrom the functions of this position?
Have you ever been convicted of a felony or placed on probation?
Are you currently using any illegal substance?
Inspiration and Aspiration Questions

Please answer the following questions:

References Information

We ask for a minimum of three references, with at least one in each of the following categories:

  • Meditation Instructor or Spiritual Friend
  • Employer
  • Personal (other than a relative)

Please list references that we may contact below. (If you prefer, you may download a Reference Request Form and ask your references to complete it and return it to us directly.)

Thank you for your interest in working with us! Someone in personnel will be contacting you shortly.

Shambhala, Shambhala Meditation Center, and Shambhala Center are registered service marks of Shambhala International (Vajradhatu).

Shambhala Training is a registered trademark of Shambhala/Nalanda Foundation.