Position Opening – Youth Program Instructor-In-Training

We are looking for Interns/Instructors-in-Training to work in our school-year programs for 5-15 year olds.

About the position:

Our school year program calendar starts in on or near September 9th and continues all the way through the end of May. Successful applicants will work at one or more of the following programs:

Our Intern Instructor role is an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to become a nature based mentor and/or leader. Perhaps you’re a teen who wants to develop experience, build your leadership skills, or do community service. Or, you’re in college majoring in a related subject and looking to gain hands-on experience or do independent study. Or, you might be an adult who wishes to support the program or is considering entering this field.

You will support a lead instructor in a group of youth (normally including either 6 or 12 students) at one of our programs. You’ll show up for every session of the program – barring emergencies & pre-agreed absences – and spend the days outdoors helping as the group wanders, learns, plays, challenges themselves, and more.

Anyone in this position plays an essential role in the success of our programs, and has an opportunity to bridge the gap between being a student and being an instructor.

Qualifications we’re looking for:  

  • Age 13 or older
  • Love being with children
  • Enjoy outdoor activity in many weather conditions
  • Want to learn and lead nature-based games and outdoor skills/activities
  • Are attentive to group management
  • Want to build leadership/mentoring capacities
  • Are excited to have fun with us!
  • Able to show up every day of the program unless your program director grants an exception.

What we offer:

  • Practicum/experience: hands-on mentoring and/or instructing experience; debriefs with lead instructors and/or program directors.
  • Free & discounted classes: we offer the standard 30% employee discount to public VWS programs and supplies (including knives, firestarters, etc) PLUS you get free admission to some private staff trainings & events (opportunities vary from year to year).
  • (Optional) Community Service/Independent Study: if you wish to satisfy community service or academic requirements at a different organization it is possible, although not guaranteed, that VWS staff can work with your advisor/supervisor to co-create this.

Note that this position will not receive compensation other than the above. Those who successfully complete this internship are not entitled to paid work and if any future paid positions open they will not be treated differently from those who have never worked with VWS before.

Key Areas of Responsibility:

  • Cultivate an awareness of safety and immediately bring issues to a lead’s attention
  • Demonstrate self-sufficiency; keep yourself fed/bathroomed/hydrated and balance self-advocacy and being an enthusiastic participant in the group.
  • Be a helpful presence & set a good example:
    • Be engaged – show up fully present.
    • Ask good questions – don’t answer for the kids.
    • Model good attitudes – listening, gear maintenance, respectful communication.
    • Connect with kids – stragglers, chatterers.
  • Facilitate some games & activities in consultation with your lead.
  • Assist your lead instructor with manual labor.
  • Pay attention to each kid’s uniqueness and to group dynamics; be ready to share that with your lead in debriefs.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. However we encourage interested individuals to apply as soon as possible and we anticipate that most openings will be filled September 15th.

To apply, complete this form

More about who we are:

The Vermont Wilderness School envisions a world where every person and every community is able to cultivate a deep connection with the natural world. We believe this will only be possible alongside the replacement of systems of colonization, oppression, and extraction with new systems of equity, justice, and regeneration. Our vision and values are reflected in our employment-related decisions, including hiring practices. VWS actively seeks to employ a diverse staff.  We invite you to bring your own unique perspective, culture, and identities if you join us in this work.

As an EOE/AA employer, VWS will not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, genetic information, veteran or disability status, or any other factor prohibited by law.