Youth LEAD Program Field Instructor

Environmental Traveling Companions Published: April 8, 2022
San Francisco, California
Skill Level
Mid Level, Entry Level
Job Type
Education / Program Management / Travel & Hospitality

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Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC) is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that makes the joy and challenge of outdoor adventures accessible to people with all abilities and under-represented youth, inspiring self-confidence, connection to nature, and community-based environmental stewardship.

Since 1972, ETC has served over 105,000 participants in our accessible Sea Kayaking, Whitewater Rafting, Cross Country Skiing and Youth LEAD Programs. 

Position Overview

The Youth LEAD (Leadership, Environment, Adventure, and Diversity) Program (YLP) is one of ETC’s four main programs. This program provides life-changing outdoor experiences for youth from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds, focusing on technical outdoor skills, environmental education, and leadership development. The YLP 14-to-21-day courses incorporate multiple outdoor activities to expose students to an array of experiences, challenges, and personal growth opportunities. Students experience sea kayaking, backpacking, and white water rafting to learn about themselves, their community of peers, and CA natural history through lessons, storytelling, and adventure. 

2022 Program Dates & Details: 

Note: All Field Instructors are required to attend ETC’s YLP 5-day Instructor Training in the San Francisco Bay Area (dates below). Before your course, Field Instructors are required to attend 3-4 preparation days in San Francisco, working alongside co-instructors and ETC staff. After the course, Field Instructors are required to attend one post debrief day in San Francisco. Please see for more information on dates. 

Job Responsibilities 

  • Attend a mandatory all staff overnight training from June 6- June 10 in the SF Bay Area 
  • Work collaboratively in a core team of 3 (with a co-leader and a high school aged youth instructor) and a group of 4-6 volunteer Sea Kayak/River guides to safely instruct 10-12 high school students on course 
  • Prepare all course components - curriculum, food packing, gear packing (with support from ETC staff) 
  • Demonstrate and model excellence in personal organization while living in a campground or backcountry setting for 14-21 days 
  • Provide positive and encouraging support and guidance for course activities 
  • Learn ETC environmental/leadership curriculum and deliver focused lessons and activities 
  • Instruct technical and interpersonal skills to encourage participant leadership growth and personal development 
  • Safely manage and supervise all activities according to ETC operating policies, protocols, and procedures 
  • Responsibly handle and care for all gear and equipment 
  • Supervise and mentor high school aged Assistant Instructor, who is a crucial member of the instructor team and part of ETC’s Youth LEAD Fellowship Program 
  • Serve as a positive, authentic role model for participants, Assistant Instructors, and co-workers
  • Participate actively in post-course Feedback, Course Evaluations and Student Assessments 


  • Age requirement: 20+ 
  • Current Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification or higher before course begins; Wilderness First Responder certification highly preferred 
  • Hiring is dependent on criminal background check and DMV driver check ○ Must have clean driving record 
    • Must have 2+ years licensed driving experience 
    •  Ability to safely drive youth in a large SUV for up to 6 hours 
  • Previous experience as a leader in a backcountry setting during extended expeditions 
  • Previous experience leading diversity and inclusion activities and/or facilitating programs with racially and socioeconomically diverse groups 
  • Ability to be present, responsive, and focused with student participants for 14-21 consecutive days 
  • Ability to communicate positively, value feedback, and excel in a strong team-oriented environment 
  • Experience leading outdoor activities and lessons while fostering environmental curiosity, excitement, and stewardship 
  • Exemplifies patience and adaptability in dynamic outdoor situations, especially when challenges arise 
  • Open to different leadership styles and collaboration; celebrates individual uniqueness with goal of creating inclusive, safe spaces 
  • If identified with a socially dominant group (white, wealthy, heterosexual, cis gender, etc): is committed to examining personal power and privilege and self-education about power dynamics 

Additional Preferred Experience: 

  • Experience as a sea kayak, backpack, and/or raft guide preferred 
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) 
  • Class B Commercial Driver’s License 
  • Comfort navigating both on and off trail in alpine environments, particularly in the Sierra Nevadas 

Position: On YLP courses, instructor positions include Lead Instructor and Instructor. The Lead Instructor position is for individuals with exceptional technical and interpersonal skills, advanced medical wilderness certification, as well as familiarity with ETC. Most individuals have worked a minimum of one ETC program prior to working in a Lead Instructor position. The Instructor position is for individuals with experience and competence in the outdoor education field. 

Compensation: Starting wages are: 

  • $120/day for Lead Instructors for overnight courses and prep/post days 
  • $100/day for Instructors for overnight courses and prep/post days 
  • All Field Instructor positions receive $350 for completing the 5-day Instructor Training 
  • YLP Instructors are invited to join ETC’s Inclusion Training (optional; May 14-15, 2022) 

Transportation and Lodging: Instructors must provide their own transportation and lodging during Instructor Training at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco (with the exception of June 8-10 which will be spent camping), as well as the 3-4 preparation days before course and one post debrief day after course. 

Covid-19: ETC requires all instructors to be fully vaccinated, unless there is a health-related issue in which case we ask that they provide a recent negative test before attending in-person events. This requirement is also mandatory for ETC staff, guides, and YLP participants. 

How to Apply

  • Thank you for your interest! Please click "Apply" below to email a resume and cover letter detailing your qualifications and related experience to Amy Yoger.
  • If you have any questions about the position, please email or call 415-474-7662 x16. 

Application Deadline: Open until filled.

We strongly encourage people of color and individuals identifying as LGBTQI to apply for this position.

When you apply for this position, please say you saw this job on Green Dream Jobs!!

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