Work & Volunteer

Star Island Corporation owns and operates Star Island in the Isles of Shoals, New Hampshire. The island is ten miles from mainland New Hampshire and is operated as a seasonal religious and educational conference facility. The Corporation generates and manages all its own utilities (water, waste, power) and operates its own first aid station. The island has 34 buildings including numerous historic hotel and guest housing buildings as well as utility buildings and meeting spaces. The Corporation also operates a transportation system for staff that comprises Corporation-owned and staffed boats as well as contracted ferry and boat resources. The Corporation employs 10 year-round staff people and between 100 and 120 seasonal staff people (“Pelicans”, largely college-aged) annually.

Star Island is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in regard to race, sexual orientation or gender identity.



Star Island Corporation is not currently hiring any year-round positions. 




Thank you for your interest in applying to be a Pelican for 2021! My Pelican summers were some of the most enriching and enjoyable experiences of my life. It is always rewarding to see Pels bond with our guests, the island, and each other in ways that can last a lifetime.

2021 promises to be a year like no other. We are working hard to reduce the risk of everyone who comes to Star Island, especially our employees! We don’t know exactly what 2021 will look like at this time, but we are going ahead with our hiring process to prepare for the possibility of being able to open next season in some capacity. One thing we do know now is that the health and safety of our Star Island family is our top priority. Our goal is to plan for an enriching Pelican experience in 2021, though it is evident that this experience will look and feel different than it has in the past.

Our commitment to you is that we will provide the best information we have as we have it. To this end, we will communicate regularly about what we are expecting for 2021. When we send out employment offers in March, we will send out the most up-to-date information on our various health and safety protocols to help those who are offered a position make an informed decision.

Regardless of what the upcoming season will look like, we know a few tried and true things about what makes a successful Pelican. In addition to normal qualifications, like being reliable, responsible, hard-working and presentable, we seek candidates (18 years or older) who will be especially safe, cooperative, and respectful, who can thrive in the close working and living quarters of our remote setting.

Beyond these essential attributes, we will be strongly focused on candidates who would contribute to our mission of hospitality and participate in forming a healthy island-wide community.

We appreciate your consideration of what we are looking for in our Pelicans. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Joe Watts
Chief Executive Officer

Pelican Applications

Applicants who have not worked for Star before:

New Pelican Application

Returning Pelican applicants:

Returning Pelican Application

Warning: the on-line application form will time out after 10 minutes. If you do not receive a confirmation email your application has not submitted correctly.

Reference Forms

If you have never worked on Star Island, you must submit two reference forms. These could be from an employer/supervisor, professor, advisor or school guidance counselor, principal, teacher, minister or religious education director, etc. References from family members will not be considered. Additional peer or character references (beyond 2 required references) are encouraged.

Your application will be considered incomplete if both references are not received or postmarked by January 31st.

Please provide your references the link to our online reference form.

Or download a hard copy of the reference form.

Please note: if you applied for the first time in 2020 and completed the 2 required reference forms, it will not be necessary to submit references again for 2021.

General Information for Star Island Applicants

Click here to learn more about working on Star Island and for a description of each of the positions.

Selection Criteria

Click here to learn how we select our Pelican staff from amongst a large pool of applicants.

At Star Island we appreciate the value and richness of different perspectives and experiences. We constantly strive to be a more diverse and inclusive workplace. We work to make you feel welcomed and engaged as a valued member of the team. We provide equal employment opportunity (EEO) to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. In addition, Star Island will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities.

Hiring Process Timeline

While there is still much uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are intending to stick with our usual hiring timeline, as we anticipate we will know much more about the state of things by March when hiring decisions would be sent out. Applications for 2021 are provisional with the understanding that COVID may impact our ability to offer jobs on Star Island and may impact applicant’s ability to work on Star.

Application Deadline- January 25, 2021
Letter of interest regarding supervisory-level positions emailed to (in addition to your application)- January 25, 2021
Reference Form Deadline (for new applicants)- January 31, 2021
Hiring Decisions Emailed to Applicants- by mid-March 2021

Please note: email communications regarding your application will be sent by our Office Manager, Kate Brady ( Please be sure you add her email address to your safe senders list so you do not miss out on any messages regarding employment with Star Island.

Video: What it's like to be a pelican

Video: What it means to be a pelican

Being a Pelican is more than a summer job on Star Island– it is about joining a community of interesting, talented, and hard working individuals. We seek staff members who will commit to doing a good job, whether that job involves providing direct services to conferees (such as making beds, cooking food, or working at the front desk) or serving on our support crews (such as repairing trucks, painting buildings, or running our wastewater treatment facility). The powerful Pelican community that arises each season is an outgrowth of common goals, hard work, and mutual support.

A Pelican on Star Island is both a worker and a member of the island community. We share a small island with people who come for rest and relaxation. Our job is to make a good week on Star possible for our guests.

General Information for Star Island Applicants
Click here to learn more about working on Star Island and for a description of each of the positions.


Thanks to Anna Solo for the photos!


Hear from past Pelicans about their experiences on Star Island:

A Busy Summer
A Pelican Summer: Music Director
A Pelican Summer: Bellhop Supervisor
Pelicans Take Flight (pg 38)

Follow Hiring Activity on Twitter

Pelican Hiring Flyer







The contribution of a strong corps of volunteers makes it possible for Star to bridge the gap between great needs and limited resources. Volunteerism accounts for as much as one fourth of our labor needs throughout the year, from island facilities projects to administrative office tasks and from committee participation to the donation of professional expertise. Together it is an impressive display of dedication from a caring and talented community.

On-Island Volunteering Opportunities

For those interested in contributing to the work that goes into running the island, there are opportunities for volunteering alongside our island staff. You provide the elbow grease, and we’ll provide the boat transportation, a bed, hearty and delicious meals, and the wonderful community of our friendly hard-working staff.

Spring Volunteer Weekends

Come help reawaken Star Island from its winter slumber and spend a beautiful spring weekend on the island! We have five spring work weekends in May and early June. Volunteer opportunities include but are not limited to: kitchen staff, housekeeping, painting, gardening, and grounds/landscaping.

Learn more about our spring volunteer weekends.

Spring volunteer weekends go from Friday evening to Sunday evening. An exception is Memorial Day weekend, which goes from Friday evening through either Sunday or Monday evening.

Summer Season Island Volunteering

Come out and see the other side of the island! There is always more than enough work to do, and we welcome conference season volunteers whenever we have room to accommodate them. Conference season volunteers work in all areas of the island including housekeeping, kitchen staff, painting, and grounds. Many volunteers come out to the island for a few days and some even work for a few weeks.

Check the Star Island website in mid-March for the summer volunteer application. If you have questions, please email our Summer Volunteer Coordinator at

Summer Volunteering Application


Summer Garden Volunteering

Want to spend a Saturday or two on the island this summer working in the gardens? Our flower and vegetable gardens thrive on the love and hard work of our volunteers. Work includes weeding, watering and harvesting. No experience necessary, as we’ll try and match up people each Saturday with varied experience levels. The boat leaves Portsmouth at 6:45 on Saturday morning and returns back to town at 5:15pm. Lunch, training and tools are provided.

Summer Garden Volunteering Application

Gift Shop And Bookstore Volunteering

The Isles of Shoals Association operates both the Gift Shop and Bookstore on Star Island. If you are interested in volunteering in either of these shops during the conference season please contact the Isles of Shoals Association by clicking here.

Office Volunteering

Office volunteers assist in large mailings, filing, data entry, and errands throughout the year. If you live locally and are interested in being one of our invaluable office volunteers, please email us at

Ambassador Program – Spreading The Word About Star

Star Island is always looking for volunteers willing to help spread the word about the myriad of conferences we offer in their local communities. If you would like to help on this front, please visit our Star Island Ambassadors page. For questions or comments about being an Ambassador, please contact

Other Volunteer Opportunities

We welcome offers of volunteer help outside of our island and office. If you are a professional or an expert in a certain field (fundraising, engineering or food service for example) and would like to lend your expertise to our committees or staff, please email our office at

Island Volunteer Ground Rules

  1. All volunteers must be at least 18 years old.
  2. Volunteering is essentially working for your room and board, so that means that volunteers need to be prepared to work, not just hang out. Unfortunately, if people don’t work when they’re supposed to be volunteering, they might not be allowed to come back, or they might have to pay for their stay.
  3. Likewise, Volunteers (like staff) are not allowed to attend conference events unless specifically invited by the conference. Volunteering is a way to contribute to the island, not a way to go to your conference for free.
  4. Having volunteers is always dependent on the island having enough housing for them. There are weeks during the summer when conferences use every guest room available. We can’t house volunteers during those times. These weeks are listed on the application.
  5. Volunteers work on many crews, such as Housekeeping, Gardening, Grounds, Dish Crew, etc. For more information about the positions that might be available please see the Volunteer Position Descriptions below.

What To Bring

We will supply you with bed linens and shower towels. You should bring personal medications, glasses (reading/sun), comfortable shoes, flashlight, sun block, battery operated alarm clock, hat and swim wear (optional). Be prepared for all weather conditions; it can be warm and muggy or cold and rainy. Layers work well. Clothes should be neat and comfortable. For jobs with which you have contact with guests, but please also bring some clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. You might want to bring snacks and a water bottle, but if not, they can be purchased on island.


Volunteers stay in rooms assigned by the on island Volunteer Coordinator and Island Registrar. While we would love to give everyone singles, space is limited so most of the time you will be sharing a room.

Island Volunteer Position Descriptions


Grounds work includes mowing the lawn, killing poison ivy and simple landscaping work. Assisting our groundskeeper may require use of power equipment for mowing and weed whacking.

Housekeeping and Laundry

Housekeeping is one of the largest areas of need on the island. Expect to be dusting, sweeping, mopping, and washing walls, windows, and furniture. Daily rounds include taking out trash, replacing linens, and making beds.


Help take care of the island’s many flower and vegetable gardens! Tasks are varied and may include weeding, selecting and cutting flowers for floral arrangements, starting seeds, transplanting, harvesting veggies for meals, and watering. The island is also home to a small poultry flock and, if interested, volunteers may be involved in everyday poultry care and management: feeding, watering, and cleaning the coop.

Brute Strength work: moving and hauling

If you choose this work, you might be helping the truck crew move the food from the dock to the kitchen, or the luggage from the rooms to the dock. There is always a lot of work requiring strength on the island.

Refinishing Furniture

Star Island has some beautiful antique furniture that needs care and repair.

In-Town, changeover assistance

This volunteering area is for anyone interested in catching some Star Island spirit on the mainland. On Saturdays our conferences change over which means one group departing and one arriving. You may be asked to greet people as they arrive, move baggage or direct parking all in conjunction with our Pelican changeover crew.



Love Star Island? Become an ambassador! (You probably already are one). Check out our ambassador page for ideas and materials to spread the word about Star Island.

Ambassador Webpage