Summer Volunteer Program

Meditation in Action

Spend your summer in the Green Mountains of Vermont! The 2017 Meditation in Action Summer Volunteer Program (SVP) is open to any individual who has a strong interest in the unique and rich tradition of Shambhala, or who would like to establish a regular meditation practice as part of daily life. Join other volunteers and residential staff in this opportunity to practice meditation, study the teachings, and work in community at one of the oldest retreat centers in the United States.

SVP participants will receive meals, accommodations, access to a personal meditation instructor, weekly meditation classes, and the chance to experience life at a dharma center. After completing a full session, SVP participants will receive program credit that can be used for any of our programs for up to one year.

The Summer Volunteer Program has four sessions. Each session is structured as it’s own program. Volunteers are asked to arrive on the start date and stay until the departure date. Participants must be at least 18 years old prior to arrival.

2017 Summer Volunteer Program Sessions

Session 4         September 1 – September 29, 2017

Work and Benefits

You commit to:

  • One or more full sessions of volunteering
  • Working 27.5 hours per week
  • Contribute 3 to 5 hours a week to helping out the community (doing dishes, etc.)
  • Attend all SVP classes, practice sessions, meetings, social outings and community events

You receive:

  • Room and board, including meals, shared bathrooms, and shared tents
  • Free classes in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition
  • Two hours each day for formal meditation/contemplation practice and/or study
  • An assigned meditation instructor to receive support and answer questions about your practice
  • Program credit that may be applied to program tuition for any Karmê Chöling program

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, and The Shambhala Principle by Sakyong Mipham.
  2. Read through the Department Overviews below to see typical volunteer opportunities. Please note on your application any skills or experience you have to share in any of these areas. Specialized skills are not a requirement except for certain departments as noted in the descriptions.
  3. If you are not a U.S. 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 Human Resources that you are aware of and have met all requirements of the Department of U.S. Immigration.
  4. Fill out the application (see below) and send the Reference Request Form to three references. Have your references email the completed form to
  5. The 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.

Questions? Please email the Head of Personnel.

Apply Now

Department Overviews

Volunteers often work in one or more departments throughout each session as Karmê Chöling’s needs fluctuate.  The greatest needs are usually in Facilities, Kitchen, Housekeeping and Retreats.  When applying please select at least one of these.  If you have additional experience and skills, please indicate another department you may be interested in. We try to match volunteers with their interests and skills, however some flexibility is required.

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.

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

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

Engage in contemplative activities in supporting practitioners doing deep solitary cabin retreats. Activities may include maintenance of the cabins and grounds, helping bring and maintain supplies for retreatants, such as water and firewood, and protecting the retreat environment.

Volunteer under our Master Gardeners and assist with all aspects of tending our one-acre organic garden and flowerbeds! Prior gardening experience required.

Support the marketing department in their efforts to promote our programs and communicate how taking a meditation retreat at Karmê Chöling can be of benefit to society. The work will primarily be administrative. Proficiency with computers is required. Prior experience with photography, social media, writing, and/or design or a propensity for marketing is a plus.

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: Mac Workstation and server management; or, 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.

Apply Now