Position Opening – Youth Program Lead Instructor

We are looking for Lead Instructors to work in our summer programs for 7-17 year olds.

About the position:

Our summer program calendar starts Monday June 21st and continues all the way through Friday August 13th. Successful applicants will work at one or more of the following summer day camps:

  • Earthfriend Discovery Day Camp, Ages 7 – 12, staff on site 8am-4pm (Mon-Fri), Williamsville VT
  • Otter Day Camp, Ages 7 – 12, staff on site 8am-4pm (Mon-Fri), Brattleboro VT
  • Shambhala Warrior and Nature Camp, Ages 9 – 15, staff on site 8am-4pm (Mon-Fri), Williamsville VT. **Specific requirement for this opening: Skills with camouflage, stalking, and awareness and ability to mentor these skills.  Bonus if you have a martial arts background especially with Aikido. 
  • The Wild Within Day Camp for teens, Ages 13– 17, staff on site 8am-4pm (Mon-Fri), Putney VT

We’re looking for vibrant, experienced instructors to complement our teaching team.You must be able to lead a group of 5-6 youth for a six-hour day outdoors with the support of a volunteer teen or adult helper. We have honed our COVID-prevention protocols over the past 12 months, and we will train you in implementing these important new practices in an outdoor setting.

A deep love of children and an understanding of their developmental needs is crucial to your success in our program, as is your skilled communication and playful spirit. Long-term mentoring is a hallmark of our programs, as many of the children begin at VWS when they are only 5, and many of them return year after year.

Instructors are paid for program facilitation and planning/prep time. More than a job, it’s an opportunity to grow and tend nature-connected community.

Qualifications we’re looking for:  

  • Experience with nature connection mentoring (experience with the 8 Shields mentoring model preferred but not required)
  • Naturalist knowledge, earth living skills, and familiarity with past and present human relationship with the lands of this region
  • Ability to create a safe and nurturing program experience for all children and families, including those who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BiPOC), LGBTQ+, and/or disabled.
  • Strong group management and safety skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Organizational and time management skills
  • Current First Aid/CPR certifications
  • Ability to perform essential job functions involving light-to-vigorous physical outdoor activity in all weather conditions
  • Able to attend staff trainings before your 1st day with youth; dates & times to be arranged with your program director

What you embody:

  • Love of children
  • Love of nature
  • Attunement to the diverse experiences and identities participant bring
  • Playfulness and fun
  • Integrity & high emotional intelligence
  • Humility & service-mindedness
  • Creativity & collaboration
  • Commitment to personal & professional growth
  • Commitment to equity, anti-oppression, anti-racism, and decolonization


Each week of camp program includes approximately 8 hours/day, Monday-Friday. The base pay is $16/hour (individuals with current WFA/CPR certifications make an additional $0.25 per hour, and $0.25 per hour is added for each 2 previous years of experience as a VWS paid Lead Instructor). The number of weeks you work will be determined by you & your program director, depending on available openings we have and your schedule preferences.

Key Areas of Responsibility:

  • Oversee physical and emotional safety and instruction for children during our nature programs.
  • Work with teaching team to develop program activities.
  • Meet seasonally with the Program Director.
  • Communicate with parents (email, phone calls, in-person, before/after programs) on a weekly basis.
  • Participate in staff meetings, on-going staff development trainings, and other meetings as requested.
  • Supervise & mentor the intern/service instructors that serve our programs.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We encourage interested individuals to apply as soon as possible and we anticipate that most lead instructor openings will be filled May 1st. Some openings for Substitutes and Instructors-In-Training may remain afterwards.

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.