The Outdoor Industry Jobs Marketplace

Field Instructor: Youth LEAD Program


Posted by Environmental Traveling Companions on 03/31/2023

Job Basics

Industry Sector: Action, Outdoor, WaterSports

Job Categories: Camp Staff & Counselors, Guide (raft,fish,bike hunt,horse etc.), Outdoor Education, Outfitter- Adventure Travel Staff

Company Type: Conservation, Intern, NaturalResources, Recreation, TravelandTourism

State: CA

City: San Francisco


Required Experience: 1 - 3 years

Contact Name: Isabela Celedon

Contact Phone: 4154747662 ext 16

Job Type: Seasonal Full Time

Salary: $125/day starting

Required to Relocate: Yes

Required to Travel:

Employee May Telecommute: No

Job Seeker Must Live Within:

Job Description & Requirements

Organization & Program Description: 

Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC) is a volunteer-based nonprofit providing the joy and challenge of outdoor adventures to people with all abilities and from all backgrounds since 1972. We inspire self-confidence, connection to nature, and community-based environmental stewardship through accessible sea kayaking, rafting, and multi-week expeditions for youth from historically marginalized backgrounds. 

The Youth LEAD Program (YLP) is one of ETC’s three main programs. We provide life-changing outdoor experiences for youth from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds, focusing on technical outdoor skills, environmental education, socio-emotional growth, and leadership development. Our 14-to-21-day courses incorporate sea kayaking, rafting, and backpacking. Students learn about themselves, their community of peers, natural history, and environmental science through lessons, storytelling, community-building, and adventure in the wilderness. 

2023 Course 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 each Course, Field Instructors are required to attend 3-4 preparation days in San Francisco, working alongside co-instructors and ETC staff to organize gear, meals, and lessons. After the Course, Field Instructors are required to attend one post debrief day in San Francisco. 


Each YLP Course has a team of one Lead Instructor, one Instructor, and one YLP Fellow Field Intern. This core Instructor Team is supported by 3-6 ETC Volunteers during the sea kayak and rafting portions of each Course (depending on the activities of the Course). 

- The Lead Instructor position is for individuals with exceptional technical and interpersonal skills, advanced medical wilderness certification, and previous experience with ETC. Most Lead Instructors have worked a minimum of one Youth LEAD course or have extensive experience with another ETC program. 

- The Instructor position is for individuals with experience and competence in the outdoor education and/or wilderness guiding fields. 

- The YLP Fellow Field Interns are youth who have participated in a YLP summer course and the YLP Fellowship. They are growing towards becoming amazing future Instructors! 


- $140/day starting wage for Lead Instructors (for course days and prep/post days) 

- $125/day starting wage for Instructors (for course days and prep/post days) 

- All receive $400 for participating in the 5-day Instructor Training 

Early signing bonus: $100 per course if contract signed before February 16th, 2023 

- Optional: YLP Instructors are invited and encouraged to join ETC’s Inclusion Training (May 20-21, 2023) and YLP Instructor River Trip in August 2023 (exact dates TBD) 


Attend a mandatory field staff training from June 5th - June 9th in the SF Bay Area, including an overnight kayak camping component from June 7th - 9th. 

- Work collaboratively and communicate compassionately with the core Instructor Team and 3-6 ETC Volunteer Sea Kayak/River Guides to safely instruct 10-12 high school students on the Course. 

- Engage students in meaningful, honest, safe community as a starting point for genuine learning in the outdoors. Hold space for their individual strengths and areas for growth. 

- Learn ETC environmental science and leadership lessons during field staff training and deliver engaging lessons and activities in the field. 

- Prepare course components including food packing, gear packing, lesson organization, and daily flow (with support from ETC office staff). 

- Demonstrate and model excellence in personal organization while living and traveling in campgrounds and backcountry settings for 14-21 days. 

- Provide positive and encouraging support and guidance throughout all course 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 YLP Fellow Field Intern 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 evaluations. 


-Age requirement: 20+

-Current Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification or higher before course begins; Wilderness First Responder certification highly preferred (some scholarships available)

-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

-Ability to be present, responsive, and focused with student participants for 14-21 consecutive days

-Previous experience leading equity, diversity, and inclusion activities and/or facilitating programs with racially and socioeconomically diverse groups. Sensitivity to the needs of folks from these groups, especially in the outdoors (a historically white-dominated context), is crucial to this role

-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

-Ability to communicate positively, value feedback, and excel in a strong team-oriented environment

-Experience with 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

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

Transportation and Lodging

Instructors must provide their own lodging and transportation to/from Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on June 5 & 6th for Instructor Training, as well as the 3-4 preparation days before course 

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest! Please send a resume and cover letter detailing your qualifications, related experience, and which course(s) you're interested in to Isabela Celedón at If you have any questions about the position, please email or call 415-474-7662 ext.16. 

About Environmental Traveling Companions

ETC makes the joy and challenge of outdoor adventures accessible to people with disabilities and under-resourced youth, inspiring self-confidence, connection to nature, and stewardship of the environment.